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Our Team


Stephanie Norling

About Communities of Excellence 2026


Welcome to Communities of Excellence 2026! We are a nonprofit organization that unites leadership across sectors and generations in communities to collaborate more effectively, implement needed strategies, and engage more of the population in efforts to improve community performance and achieve the highest quality of life for all residents. Communities across the United States participate with us in a three-year learning program that trains leaders in the adoption of the Communities of Excellence Framework as a roadmap to address their most pressing issues.

The framework is based on criteria developed by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST)’s Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which generates an estimated $1 billion in economic benefit annually by

using a systems framework to improve organizational performance. In 2015, the program partnered with Communities of Excellence 2026 to do the same for entire communities and currently supports 21 communities on their community performance excellence journeys.
General Information


We are now accepting applications for both our community performance excellence programs:

  • National Learning Collaborative Cohort Five - Begins October 5th, 2021

  • Preparing for your Communities of Excellence Journey - Begins April 22nd, 2021


Our Programs

Communities of Excellence National Learning Collaborative

We are now accepting applications to join our next cohort beginning October 2021. The 3-year online curriculum is designed to unite community leaders across sectors to collaborate more effectively, align, prioritize, and implement needed strategies, and engage more of the population to improve community performance and achieve the highest quality of life for all residents. 


Preparing for your Community Excellence Journey

Community development work is complex.  Having a proven framework and support network can help you engage more people, empower a higher level of collaborative performance, and enhance your ability to achieve improved outcomes.  Join us for a fast-track introductory course to learn how an inclusive systems approach can broaden your base of support and move your community’s shared activities and goals from aiming in many different directions to more effectively working toward one a common vision.


File Library

Overview and National Learning Collaborative Snapshot

The above file should be the replacement for the currently listed file called, "Communities of Excellence 2026 Overview". All other files currently in the File Library should remain. The one above should now be the Download Literature button as well.

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