Wednesday, March 11, 2009

UGA Fanning Institute reports on a leadership development program for rural Georgia

Athens, Ga. – A new study by the University of Georgia Fanning Institute shows that community leadership programs are helping to support economic viability in Georgia’s rural counties. The report—Georgia’s Community Leadership Initiative—was released today (2-9) at the Georgia Rural Developm

“Broad-based community leadership is critical to building and maintaining a community’s ability to respond to the state, national and global changes that alter local opportunities,” said Michael A. Beatty, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, in the foreword to the report.

ent Council’s 8th Annual

In 2002, the Georgia Rural Development Council started the Community Leadership Initiative to broaden the state’s leadership base and build local capacity to address social and economic issues in communities. The initiative provides seed-grants on a competitive basis to rural counties that lack sustained leadership development programs. Today’s report examines the results of the initiative’s first five years (2002 to 2007).

Leadership Day program in Atlanta.

During that period, 94 rural counties received 184 grants and more than 3,200 Georgians completed grant-supported training. Program graduates devoted more than 96,000 hours to improving their skills and learning about their community’s problems, assets and resources.

In 75 percent of the counties that received grants, graduates became more involved in their communities—running for elected office, leading local task forces to address community problems, and serving on local boards for community groups such as downtown development authorities, economic development authorities, and philanthropic organizations. Some 46 percent of participants immediately assumed leadership roles as officers, committee chairs and organizers.

The complete report is available at

Contact: Louise Hill, 706/542-1108,; Writer: Kathleen Cason, 706/542-7039,

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