This project evolved from experiences with a number of extension, outreach and research initiatives of Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance (see sidebars for more information). Partial funding for the development of the project has been provided by the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Endowment for Excellence in Community Viability.
In particular, this resource draws substantially from the Community Voices project. In 2010, the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance (IPG) decided to explore community innovation by identifying and studying recognized leaders through the Community Voices initiative (see www.communityvoices.info). IPG convened, and has led, an interdisciplinary project team of faculty, graduate students and community partners.
Community Voices has produced over 50 interviews, roundtable discussions and public talks with a diverse spectrum of innovative community leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors. The wealth of rich “data” from these activities has informed the development of the Thriving Places Project.
Additionally, this project is indebted to the work of Lyusyena Kirakosyan. She spent hours combing through this stream of data to pull the insights that bring the most light to the issues at play in community change.
Further, Scott Tate is the father of this project. It is his framework and thought processes that serve as the foundation for this work. This really would not have happened without his leadership.