The Goldin Institute is making great progress in building GATHER, the tablet-based distance learning course to promote grassroots leadership for community driven social change.

As the Director of App Development and User Experience, I have been building the interactive capacity of the Gather platform which now includes real time chat built into the educational platform.  We have been focused on “designing for the margins” making the content and navigation as user-friendly as possible so we reach the people the course aspires to support. 

My colleagues on the curriculum development side have welcomed a new instructional design expert to the team, Kelly Salek of Lessons Learned Consulting.  As Kelly noted:

“I have been involved in creating leadership and diversity trainings for a wide range of big companies.  Through working on Gather I’ve learned new ways to think about how and why we need to deeply and authentically engage our communities if we want to make lasting change.”

The curriculum “map” developed by the Gather Team offers a concise overview of the range of values, tools and frameworks of the course. Together, these insights and strategies will help Gather Fellows to broaden the base of neighbors and partners active in community driven social change efforts, especially by prioritizing the voices of people most impacted or traditionally excluded from participation.


The Gather curriculum will offer a wide range of materials, perspectives and voices to guide group learning and reflection complemented by the opportunity to learn by doing through involving the local community as learning partners. Content will include, but not be limited to, the use of readings, interactive assignments, video and audio stories and commentary, illustrations, synchronous web chats, a “virtual café’’ and robust discussion boards. We will look for a media mix that encourages the course participants to establish relationships with one another as they move through the coursework. 

One example of an audio-visual resource that will be included in the Gather Library is “The Danger of a Single Story” by the novelist Chimamanda Adichie:

We are excited to host our inaugural class of Gather Fellows later this year. If you or someone you know wants a chance to develop and share grassroots leadership skills, click here to sign up for updates and a chance to apply.


  • Travis Rejman

    Travis Rejman is the founding Executive Director of the Goldin Institute, a global non-profit based in Chicago that has inspired, equipped and connected grassroots leaders in over 50 countries over the last twenty years. Bio

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