Extension does
community Development

Since its inception in 1914, Purdue Extension has helped strengthen the entire state of Indiana and continues to do so today. Extension helps provide communities of all sizes, urban and rural, with the resources and opportunities they need to succeed – from enhancing public spaces to creating positive change.

Leading Communities into Positive, Exciting Futures

Purdue Extension builds and strengthens communities across the state of Indiana through education, partnerships, and fundraising. By providing access to these resources, our community development efforts are improving the quality of life for millions of people in Indiana. By leveraging partnerships with USDA programs such as Stronger Economies Together, Purdue Extension has helped one community create a networking group to engage young professionals while prompting leaders in another to pledge $2.3 million toward a community trail project.


Enhancing the Value of Indiana’s Public Spaces

Purdue Extension believes Indiana’s public spaces are a part of what defines the spirit of each of our unique, vibrant communities. With parks, waterfronts, town squares, greenway trails, and community buildings of historical or contemporary importance, there are a number of enjoyable locations and activities embedded in Indiana communities.

Enhancing these public spaces strengthens not only a community, but the entire state – as we all come together to enjoy everything Indiana has to offer.

Through a number of workshops and meetings facilitated by Purdue Extension’s Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces program, different communities identify best practices for improving public spaces with an emphasis on forming partnerships to achieve sustainability goals. Purdue Extension then provides necessary resources and technical support to plan, implement, and maintain projects tailored to each community’s unique needs.



Creating Positive Change in Your Community

Purdue Extension recognizes that while a community may want to change for the better, the lack of strong leaders trained in bringing people together might stop that change from happening. Effective collaboration can be a struggle despite consensus. Perhaps only a few individuals are leading the call, which can hold up community wide buy-in on big, bold ideas.

Enter the Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI), an exciting new process providing nearly a dozen Indiana communities with data-driven, expertly supported plans for positive, sustainable change. As a founding HCI partner alongside Ball State University and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Purdue Extension is committed to long-term conversations about Indiana’s future, powerful data that forges paths to progress, and helping residents navigate challenges and opportunities of living and working in rural areas.


Developing Community Leaders

Purdue Extension recognizes there are many individuals willing to give their time and talents to serve the needs of their communities. However, it can be difficult to find people willing to step up and lead others. Thanks to Purdue Extension’s Community Leadership Certificate Program, individuals to become knowledgeable, reliable, and confident leaders within their community.

Participants undergo 100 hours of interactive education opportunities to better understand themselves, their communities, and their leadership roles. Topics include leadership style, interpersonal communication, economic development, managing conflict, exploring diversity, and learning about county government.

Participants unanimously gained knowledge and confidence, and over 80% planned to immediately apply something they’d learned toward community leadership.

Thanks to Purdue Extension, communities now have leaders on whom they can count to lead them to positive, exciting futures.