Community Development programs

MU Community Development faculty throughout the state

How does the MU Community Development Program Impact Missouri?

Community Development - University of Missouri



Adding Value to Missouri Communities

Community Leadership Development

House resolution recognizes Extension volunteers

Carole Bainbridge is congratulated for her service to the Montgomery County Extension Council by Rep. Mike Sutherland.

The Missouri House of Representatives recognized two University of Missouri Extension volunteers with a resolution during the Montgomery County Extension Council annual dinner, Monday, Feb. 20, in Montgomery City. Rep. Mike Sutherland (R-Warrenton) honored Carole Bainbridge and John Noltensmeyer for their service. Bainbridge helped organize the county’s Experience in Community Enterprise and Leadership (EXCEL) program, which is responsible for developing a trained cadre of volunteer leaders in the community. Noltensmeyer represents the Montgomery County commission on the extension council. Through his active participation, he has helped connect extension resources to other agencies and organizations. Both volunteers also encouraged the development of new-generation, farmer-owned co-ops, which benefit the people of the county.
(Source: UM Legislative Update, March 3, 2006)

Community success tied to its leadership capacity

 The future of a community is closely tied to building a critical mass of community leaders for the future. Fostering new leadership voices among youth, elderly, new immigrants and low-income is essential to the future success of communities. The seven pillars of a healthy community include practicing ongoing dialogue; generating leadership; shaping its future; embracing diversity; knowing itself; connecting people and resources; and creating a sense of community (Association for Healthy Cities and Communities).

Over the past 22 years, the 7,190 participants from twp-thirds of Missouri’s counties in the EXperience in Community Enterprise and Leadership (EXCEL) program are actively engaging in local, regional, and state roles to benefit their communities. The fastest growing aspect is the development of specific community youth leadership development programs, with 34 counties having offered the Youth EXCEL.

Evaluation of participants of the EXCEL programs continues to indicate that participation has resulted in personal growth and self-efficacy, community commitment, a shared future and purpose for the community, community knowledge, and civic engagement.


The Leadership RAP for At-Risk Youth program has been conducted since 1992 at the Robert L. Perry Juvenile Justice Center in Boone County with 537 graduates. In 2005, 17 juveniles participated in the program. A study recently conducted revealed that 28% fewer participants were referred back to law enforcement agencies following their release from JJC than were similarly referred from an equal number of other JJC residents randomly selected for the same time period. A program participant summed up feeling about the Leadership RAP program, “It was one of the best things that happened to me.”

As a result of the Neighborhood Leadership Academy in St. Louis, the Old North Neighborhood Partnership served as an effective vehicle to connect the university and the community, engage faculty and students in applied research and community-based learning projects, and facilitate positive changes in an urban neighborhood.

Step-Up to Leadership! participant Mary Brown of Florissant Missouri, organized a home weatherization project for elderly residents, using supplies donated by the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging and volunteers from her church. “Step-Up to Leadership! Has really pushed me to a lot of places,” she said. “I feel like I’m being launched.” Brown is among the first graduates of the leadership program, piloted with Community Action Agencies in St. Louis Count and City, and central Missouri.