Through a program called Community Profiles, the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension has helped 57 New Hampshire communities develop a vision for their future and mobilize local residents to act on that vision. The Community Profile process is based on the premise that communities must engage members in identifying and documenting common and deeply held values from which to craft a vision for the future if they are to build and sustain community vitality. The process also helps communities find new and creative ways to pursue that vision by leveraging resources within and outside of the community. These resources include individual skills, local organizational capacity, and local, state, and regional institutional-support structures. Since creating and pursuing a vision is a challenge for communities that often rely on volunteers, the Community Profiles program was conceived to help them achieve these functions. Community Profiles is, in essence, a process that enables community residents to take stock of current conditions, build a collective set of goals for their future, and develop an action plan for realizing that vision. In the past 10 years, UNH Cooperative Extension has helped nearly a quarter of the state’s incorporated cities and towns conduct Community Profiles. This retrospective shares with our stakeholders the various successes that communities have had as a result of the process. This publication was inspired by stories emerging from Community Profiles conducted between 1996 and 2006 in 42 communities. The communities selected for this report were either particularly successful at carrying out the Community Profiles process, or they achieved positive outcomes as a result of the process. Through this report we will tell their stories and illustrate how these and other communities can work together to shape their future through persistence, creativity and teamwork.


Natural Resources and the Environment

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UNH Cooperative Extension

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