Voices from the Field

10 case studies of community builders at work worldwide

To illustrate the work of community builders, we curated a set of 10 case studies featuring friends of Sprout who facilitate network-based activities. These case studies are diverse in their scope and focus, and they highlight the critical role that community builders play in leading community change.

Community building principles apply to a variety of concerns, from education to global engagement to entrepreneurship, and community builders actively convene people around thorny issues like racism, sexism, and inequality.

As you will read, the people featured in these case studies used similar language to express common themes. Each person, in their own way, demonstrated a commitment to equity, inclusion, and openness; they make sure that, regardless of their focus area, everyone involved in their projects can equally benefit from the work.

Crucially, they all believe in the power of convening people—in person, online, or both—to identify collaborative solutions to complex problems. They honor the voices of community members and design solutions that prize community input and participant-led change. Plus, they recognize the importance of adopting open practices that are free of hierarchy and oppressive constraints.

Perhaps most importantly, each community builder imagined how they might sustain and scale their impact. Each person described a desire to address current problems and create more expansive, systems-level change. Their ambitions are often lofty—but notably, each of their efforts starts with a more personal, grassroots approach that begins by facilitating connections within the communities they endeavor to serve.

Read on to discover how these 10 people use community building as a strategy to catalyze meaningful, transformative change.