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Heartland Center for Leadership Development
Visions from the Heartland
December 2016
3110 N. 40th St., Ste A,
Lincoln, NE 68504
(402) 474-7667


Wheat Field

                                A Look Back at 2016 

2016 was a fantastic year for staff and associates at the Heartland Center and we would like to share with you some highlights.

  • First and foremost, we celebrated our 30th year with over 30 community and community development professionals from across the country at Snow King Resort in Jackson, Wyoming to learn techniques and share lessons on capacity building, projecting the future and sustaining success.
  • During the summer, nine interns were placed in five communities across Nebraska to work on locally identified community betterment projects as part of our collaboration with the University of Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.  Center staff helped to identify host communities, teach a one-week community development class and conduct mid-point site visits.
  • Our long-term engagement in Pilger came to an end with a successful town hall meeting held at the new fire hall in Pilger.  This was the last of five such meetings held in Pilger since the twin tornadoes of June 2014 decimated three-fourths of this tiny northeast Nebraska community.  The Center’s engagement included helping citizens create task forces to implement actions plans around priorities and help them “reinvent” their community.
  • During the fall, the Center collaborated on yet another successful series of rural regional forums sponsored by the Rural Futures Institute.  These forums, designed to give communities opportunities to discuss regional trends and aspirations, were held in North Platte, Chadron and West Point.
  • The Center was retained by the Blandin Foundation and a coalition of other Minnesota agencies to create a community development curriculum to train and certify community development professionals in Minnesota.
  • In late 2016 through 2017, the Center will be working with the St. Louis engineering firm Intuition & Logic on the North Salt Creek watershed master plan in Lincoln, Nebraska.  We will be coordinating public participation activities.


Looking Forward 
2017 looks to be another exciting year for Center staff and associates with the 30th anniversary of Clues being at the forefront.  In 1987, the first edition of our landmark publication, Clues to Rural Community Survival, was published to wide Clues Book Cover acclaim.  The publication revealed results of our own case study research on thriving small towns, revealing 20 characteristics that such communities have in common.  The “20 Clues,” as they have become known, all represent contingencies controllable by local leaders, rather than uncontrollable contingencies that were popular at the time, such as distance from an Interstate highway.

The 20 Clues underscore that leadership is the key variable in community vitality, leading to the Heartland Center’s emphasis on strengthening leadership in the three decades that followed.

In 2017, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first publication of the Clues book, we will unveil the 4th edition, updating some of the case studies from the past and publishing many new chapters on thriving small towns around the nation.

The new edition will feature contributors from throughout the country, focusing on small towns with which they have considerable familiarity.   Contributors will follow guidelines for case study research developed for the very first edition in 1987 and updated within the past year.  The focus of the new edition, as with previous versions, will be to share lessons of success that other communities can learn as they stake out their own pathways to rural community vitality.

Watch for our announcement early next year on the dates and location for our 2017 annual institute, when the new edition of the Clues book will be released and when we will share stories from throughout the United States and abroad on how the 20 Clues have become a staple in community development theory and practice.


field guide cover

Own The Heartland Center’s Library–Promotional Offer Extended Through the Holidays!
We have decided to extend our offer to own the entire Heartland Center’s library in ebook (pdf format) through the holidays–a $177.00 value– when you purchase the print editions of “Your
Field Guide to Community Building,” “Energizing Entrepreneurs,” and “Managing Collaboration” for the low price of $29.99.  We’ll even pay for the shipping!

The e-books that you will receive include:

  • The Entrepreneurial Community: A Strategic Leadership Approach to Community Survival
  • Ten Ideas for Recruiting New Leaders
  • Six Myths About the Future of Small Towns
  • Seven Secrets for Coping with Change in Small Towns
  • Five Strategies for Active Economic Development
  • Eight Challenges Facing Community Leaders
  • Clues to Rural Community Survival
  • Clues Workbook
  • Building Local Leadership: How to Start a Program for Your Town or County
  • Ebooks of the three bound volumes
You must phone the Heartland Center at (402) 474-7667 to take advantage of this special offer.   Ask for Kurt Mantonya.
About the Heartland Center

The Heartland Center for Leadership Development is an independent nonprofit organization developing local leadership that responds to the challenges of the future.  The Heartland Center is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Heartland Center for Leadership Development
3110 N. 40th St. Ste A
Lincoln, NE 68504
(402) 474-7667
Heartland Center New Logo