As globalization, technology, and institutional power have grown, people in local communities became increasingly convinced that their education, health, wealth, and happiness depends largely on factors outside of their control. But for most of human history, the opposite has actually been true.  Wherever people have organized their resources and relationships around a shared vision, they have realized the ability to both lead and benefit from the change they wish to see.

Unfortunately communities here in Pittsburgh, across America, and throughout the World are experiencing conditions which are simply unsustainable.  Overcoming the current and future challenges of climate change, wealth inequality, and oppression of marginalized people will require a major paradigm shift.  One which rejects extractive models, while reinstituting the natural, mutually beneficial balance between institutions and the community ‘markets’ they have grown to serve.

The good news is that many people are waking up to our socioeconomic realities, rejecting stale paradigms, and building the foundation of a new future together. Through over 15 years of practical experience learned from a wide range of services and investments, New Sun Rising realizes that far too often, development decisions are made without respect for the readiness or participation of local people. To help those seeking a more equitable, sustainable way to strengthen community, we identified 18 best practice strategies designed to build capacity across three implementation phases: Ignite, Launch, and Grow.

Ignite strategies serve to discover community assets, identify shared priorities, create a plan, and identify leaders to take action

Launch strategies help residents, nonprofits, social entrepreneurs, and elected officials to build their capacity by increasing all forms of capital

Grow strategies increase the level of impact through catalytic collaboration, infrastructure projects, and investments

The Vibrant Communities Framework is now being adapted and used by a diverse and growing set of community leaders to strengthen their connectivity and inspire a commitment towards action.