The Goldin Institute inspires, equips and connects grassroots leaders who help their communities build on their strengths and collaborate to determine their own future.

We help communities achieve their goals through a combination of on-line and on-the-ground initiatives that promote innovative, community-driven partnerships between a wide range of stakeholders and sectors of civil society. We know that real and lasting progress towards a more just, peaceful and sustainable world requires that those closest to the issue, especially often excluded voices with the most at stake in making progress, have leadership roles in any social change movement.

To support community-driven social change, the Goldin Institute built the GATHER platform to support communities of practice who can learn from each other and collaborate across boundaries.

The GATHER Platform helps grassroots leaders and their communities:

  • Build on our assets by inviting their neighbors to share their talents and activating our shared community assets. We start with what we have and focus on what’s working rather than what we lack and what’s broken.
  • Commit to equity and justice to get at the root of the issues and so that people who are too often left out can take leadership roles in our future. We know that our diversity helps us to see and change the system.
  • Enhance both trust and capacity recognizing that our ability to make real and sustainable progress requires us to maintain bonds that keep us going when times are tough. We balance building relationships and taking action.
  • Make local and global connections by linking grassroots efforts in our global network, we provide opportunities to adapt creative solutions to local contexts. We connect and equip a global network of grassroots leaders.

Our vision and values enable bottom up strategies that add up to real change:

OUI01Driven by Grassroots Leadership: We build grassroots partnerships that are rooted in the power of communities working together to build their own solutions and determine their own futures.

OUI02Power of Community Partnerships: We ensure that the full range of community residents and their partners from all sectors of society are at the forefront of designing and implementing social change efforts.

OUI03Efficient and Effective Organization: We stay nimble and focused by launching and supporting innovative projects around the world and help local communities leverage our resources to scale up proven initiatives through partnerships.

OUI05Strategic and Organic Growth: Our work is strategic as we utilize our resources to engage critical leverage points and build partnerships as well as organic as it evolves from relationships we develop with grassroots leaders and their communities.

The Goldin Institute achieves its mission and enacts its priciples through:

Goldin Institute Events

The Goldin Institute works in cooperation with local partners around the world to host international gatherings on issues identified by members of our network. The Institute and our local partners cooperatively invite teams to participate in these global gatherings to focus on challenges related to both the global and regional dimensions of each issue, as well as developing concrete and actionable plans within and across partnering communities.

Research and Consultative Support

The Goldin Institute builds innovative global partnerships to address critical issues and design new tools and strategies on behalf of our international network. Our research services, educational opportunities and consultative support directly serves communities, grassroots organizations, international agencies and the philanthropic sector to implement innovative and sustainable programming. You can review key reports and tools in our resource library.

Goldin Institute Associates

Our projects have convened outstanding grassroots leaders, organizers and activists from around the world who lead the local and regional initiatives of the network. Consistent with our approach in building capacity in communities in which we work rather than in our home office, our staff includes a growing team of Goldin Institute Global Associates. Global Associates serve as “extension staff” and lead the facilitation of Goldin Institute programs in communities around the world.

Global Network

The Goldin Institute’s Partner Network is comprised of groups from over 60 cities around the world. This network provides the foundation for the work we do. Our network of leaders, activists, community organizers, government, and NGO staff share our commitment to build grassroot partnerships for global change.

Vision and Values

Our community-driven approach is critical to developing creative and effective grassroots strategies that balance community building and social action. This approach focuses on bringing often neglected perspectives and voices to the table for creative exchanges. By linking grassroots efforts from around the world in our global network, we provide opportunities to build innovative multi-sector relationships and solutions that both adapt to particular local contexts and draw from creative solutions and approaches from around the globe.

Core Principles:

Building Multi-Sector Partnerships

We are committed to facilitating relationships that cut across different sectors of civil society including leadership from government institutions, media outlets, educational institutions, religious communities, activists, business leaders and community partners. Through these relationships, our participants can effectively work to affect social change in systemic ways.

Engaging Communities

The loci of the Institute are local communities. Many of our communities are microcosms of both change and strife that plays out across the globe. Regardless of where they are located, many communities find themselves sharing similar concerns: poverty, HIV/AIDS, community disintegration, inter-group tensions, insufficient infrastructure, corruption, and other critical issues. Our focus on building relationships and community-driven partnerships promotes the cooperative capacity to address challenges that are grounded in the experience and work of participants.

Providing Concrete Tools for Social Change

Often creative initiatives fail due to lack of institutional capacities, organizational development, connections and resources. We are committed to providing tools that can be directly applied within the daily routines of our participants. These tools focus on sharing creative solutions, new approaches, best practices, project facilitation, and effective management.

Focusing on Community Led Change

Dominant perspectives on policy and development tend to emphasize large-scale and quantitative approaches to understanding and surmounting social problems. While recognizing the value of such approaches, we create a space for qualitative individual and community-based perspectives. By focusing on methodologies that emphasize cooperative approaches to assessment, development, and policy initiatives, we promote a perspective that sees individuals and communities as active partners in defining and achieving a just and sustainable future.

Our Background

The Goldin Institute was founded by Diane Goldin and Travis Rejman in 2002 as a forum to bring together engaged grassroots leaders to form a global network for conflict resolution, poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability. You can learn more about the history of the Goldin Institute by visiting our timeline.

Annual Events

Each year we work in cooperation with a partner city to host an international gathering on issues critical to peace and sustainability. The Goldin Institute and the partner city cooperatively invite teams to participate in a week-long conference focusing on challenges related to both the global and regional dimensions, as well as developing concrete and actionable plans.

Breaking the Cycle of Violence for Child Soldiers, Cartagena, Colombia, 2007

Held in association with the Centro Mundial in Colombia, this event convened a global forum on the theme of Reintegration and Prevention: breaking the cycle of violence for ex-combatants and vulnerable youth. The forum served as a catalyst to launch a new national platform in Colombia to engage the social, civic and public sectors throughout the country in reintegrating former combatants and preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. View Event

Promoting Reconciliation in the Midst of Conflict, Amritsar, India, 2005

Teams focused on building trust, understanding and cooperation in high-conflict areas through innovative reconciliation efforts. Through our partnership with the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha and associated organizations throughout the Punjab areas in India and Pakistan, participants had the opportunity to learn from local effort towards reconciliation throughout the week. View Event

Providing Access to Safe Drinking Water, Taipei, Taiwan, 2004

Teams focused on understanding and addressing the global water crisis. Commitments to launch or enhance creative projects and initiatives engaging leaders from multiple sectors (Religion, Business, Education, Media, Science, the Arts, etc.) were made and are now being created or enhanced in cities around the world. View Event

Building Social Cohesion amidst Diversity and Migration, Manresa, Spain, 2003

Teams of grassroots leaders and activists explored the theme of building social cohesion in the midst of diversity, learning from each other and the nascent but growing movement to welcome immigrant communities in Manresa, Catalonia and Spain. View Event

Forming a Global Partner Cities Network, Chicago, USA 2002

Participants learned from the experience of Chicago’s grassroots leaders and worked together to build a platform for shared learning and support through a Network of Partner Cities. View Event