Curricular Resources

These curricular resources fit with classes, trainings, or other learning activities focused on leadership, nonprofit and public management, strategic planning, community organizing, and social movements. They provide alternative understandings of leadership to expand students’ senses of appropriate courses of action when putting leadership theory into practice. Most of these resources come from research with social change organizations through the Ford’s Leadership for a Changing World program.

Building Capacity

These stories focus on understanding capacity strengths and deficiencies in order to make prescriptions for capacity improvement. As underscored in many of the organizational self-assessment tools, the extent and quality of capacity in an organization is critical for fulfilling its mission.

Initiating Strategic Responses to Social Needs

These stories examine how organizations formulate strategic responses to pressing social needs. Many of these experiences contrast with the approaches of organizations with more established processes.

Organizational Response to Evolving Social Needs

These stories focus on existing organizations that decide to pursue new or expanded purposes. These stories provide an opportunity to review how existing constraints can be overcome and how organizations respond to evolving needs.


Ethnographies provide detailed accounts of organizations’ histories, their leadership dynamics, collaborations, transformations and development. Ethnographic studies can be an important additional tool in classroom case evaluation. These ethnographies may be used alone or in conjunction with leadership stories or case studies to bring depth and context to students’ understandings of a neighborhood, culture, organization, or community of interests.


These resources present findings from Cooperative Inquiry (CI) processes. CI processes are a participatory action research methodology useful for practitioners sharing a specific question or anyone interested in learning more about practitioner-oriented research. CI offers a rich opportunity for practitioners to reflect together on the issues affecting their work, while providing a space to learn from others and envision action to bring change in their practices and organizations. Based on cycles of group action and reflection, CI looks to create new practice-grounded knowledge, deepen participants' leadership skills, and strengthen relationships among group members.