The United States as a nation turns 250 in the year 2026, which is why a small group of visionaries created a nonprofit called Communities of Excellence 2026 (COE 2026). Our collective goal is not just to make it to 2026, but to create a framework that systematically addresses our nation’s issues at a grass roots level – within the communities in which we all live, work, and play – such that we sustain our nation’s strength for many generations, many centuries, to come.
The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated how important it is for us to work together. Competition for resources, silo-ed activities across sectors, and duplication of efforts across organizations and businesses in communities are just a few of the many challenges we are facing. To ensure better outcomes, all community voices need to have a seat at the planning table, understand their role in improvement efforts, and work together on shared priorities to coordinate resources and activities that address root causes and achieve measurable results.
We began in 2016 with two pilot sites; San Diego County’s South Region and the 18 Counties of Northwest Missouri. The progress of these pilots convinced us that we should take our effort to the next level and in 2017 we launched our first national learning collaborative of communities. 4 years later, 22 communities are participating in four different annual cohorts, ranging from rural communities and rural regions, to suburbs and cities, to large urban regions.
We are pleased to add a 5th cohort of communities to participate in the learning collaborative this year. We know that America faces great challenges as we approach the 250th anniversary of the nation’s founding – the year 2026. We invite you to join Communities of Excellence 2026 and communities from coast to coast in this movement to reshape America’s communities.