Community Development

MU Extension helps people create communities of the future. Community development education helps citizens tap into local strengths and university resources.

Missouri communities are made up of more than the people who live and work there. Every community is a tight-knit fabric of relationships, woven by the leadership of its citizens and partnerships of local businesses and agencies to build better lives for all residents. The Community Development Program works collaboratively with communities to foster economic development, leadership development, community decision making, community emergency preparedness and inclusive communities.

Build Your Board - new online course available

Nearly every non-profit organization operates under a board of directors. Often the bulk of the organization's resources go to meet the needs of the clients, making it difficult to provide training to board members. And yet, the effectiveness of a board can make or break the organization.

"Build Your Board" is a new online course, providing training to board members who serve nonprofit organizations. The training was developed by University of Missouri Extension faculty to provide nonprofit board members with essential training. The course provides board members with a convenient option to receive credible training. Instructors have a combined 50+ years of experience working with dozens of nonprofit organizations. Supplemental materials are available for download, and instructors are available via email to answer questions. Sixteen lessons, organized into five modules, provide broad based information.

Register for the course at:

Registration fee $80 per person


Missouri Beginning Farmers Program

The Jefferson Institute along with the University of Missouri received a USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Grant. As a part of this grant, we are using social media to reach out to beginning farmers in Missouri. A beginning farmer as defined by USDA is anyone who has less than 10 years experience farming. This Facebook page will keep beginning farmers in Missouri up to date on activities and information that will be helpful to them.

Missouri Training Institute Leadership Training Program

For over 25 years, the University of Missouri Extension and MTI has helped thousands of organizations reach success by strengthening their capacity through leadership, management, supervision, human resource training and access to relevant, responsible and reliable research based information. Leadership training programs include Supervisory Certificate Series, Lessons in Leadership, Leading Change, Leading Teams, Strengthening Trust, Coaching Employees and other leadership programs that can be customized to meet the needs of your employees and your leadership team.

Leadership development programs offered through extension can range from three month programs with multiple day-long sessions, to a series of four “lunch and learn” topics, or even a one-time presentation on an important topic. By providing people in communities with leadership skills, knowledge of the community, and self-confidence you not only train them, you help to ensure the economic viability of the community.

Community Development Programs

Community Planning
Groups, organizations and communities develop a vision, identify priorities, develop an action agenda, and successfully develop and implement programs and projects.

Community Decision Support
Using a variety of tools, Community Decision Support enhances local capacity to make sound policy choices. Tools include economic models, demographic analysis, Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping and fiscal impact tools.

Data tools to support community decisions:

  • CARES — Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems
  • Community Commons - Interactive mapping, networking, and learning utility working to create healthy, equitable and sustainable communities.
  • CPAC — Community Policy Analysis Center
  • OSEDA — Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis
  • PPRC — Public Policy Research Center

ExCEED — Extension Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development
Recognizing that new approaches to rural economic development are essential to ensure a strong economic future, the university partners with rural communities to identify and implement new strategies for community economic development.

Group Facilitation — Sometimes organizations and groups need an impartial outsider to assist them with their meetings. Perhaps they’re looking for a staff retreat focusing on teambuilding. Or maybe they are looking for a group process to help them set goals for the future. Extension Community Development specialists can provide those facilitation skills.

Public Deliberation — Many of today’s complex issues require the public and policy makers to come together to find workable solutions. National Issues Forums take citizens beyond debate, to a deliberative process that works to find common ground. As trained moderators, CD specialists can lead forums on a wide range of topics including racial tensions, health care and the achievement gap in public education.

Step Up to Leadership
This course builds the capacity of community-minded people who want to make a difference, are interested in group processes and the complexities of collaboration, and are ready to take on the challenge of leadership.

CEMP — Community Emergency Management Program
Provides education and technical assistance to individual and families, local governments, businesses, schools and organizations in preparing and responding to natural and man-made disasters.