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Community Leadership Programs

Overview of our core and topic-specific community leadership programs

Challenges and opportunity – rural Minnesota communities face both, usually at the same time.

As the only statewide foundation in Minnesota focused exclusively on rural communities, Blandin Foundation partners with communities to build and sustain healthy communities – ones that thrive in times of challenge and opportunity.

Since 1985, the foundation’s flagship Blandin Community Leadership Program (BCLP) has provided leadership training to more than 7,000 leaders in more than 600 Minnesota rural communities. We also conduct programs around specific topics, including poverty and diversity.

Community leadership is different from organizational leadership. It is more complex, and requires different skill sets. Within this context of leadership, how things get done in community is as important as what gets done. Energy builds as people see new  possibilities in themselves, in one another and in their community.

Blandin leadership programs are developed by a team of people with backgrounds in sociology, psychology, communication, adult and leadership education, government, and community and business development.  The curriculum, and its training, is always evolving to reflect current rural developments.

Our programs aim to build leadership capacity – that is, to develop people’s knowledge and skills, to work together, and to find common ground so they can address their community’s issues and opportunities.


 “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

Following the wisdom of June Jordan, Blandin Foundation believes that community leaders, by using their own skills, employing the right tools, and empowering others, are in the best position to tackle the job themselves.  Rather than waiting for change to happen, community leaders are uniquely positioned to create positive change and work for inclusive good.

Blandin leadership programs are designed to help make that happen.

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