The Ford Institute Leadership Program ame to Prineville three years ago, in 2011, in what was the beginning of a five-year investment in Crook County by the Ford Family Foundation. Currently, the program is in year three and the second cohort’s project is getting underway.
The cohort will be enhancing and beautifying the communities of Crook County with the placement of functional, artistic bicycle racks in Prineville, Powell Butte, Post, and Paulina.
The artistic bicycle racks will be a unique, rustic combination of concrete and steel. There will be two different designs, a wagon wheel and a hitching post, and Cohort 2 will place 10-15 pieces in public places throughout the County. There were many possible projects which the cohort could have taken on but the appeal of bicycle racks was three-fold:
1. Tying the current project to the first cohort’s benches, which were placed in the aforementioned communities, will create a more welcoming atmosphere county-wide as well a greater sense of unity among the communities.
2. Oregon is becoming more well-known as a cycling destination. Placing bicycle racks throughout the County will encourage tourism and give the area an economic boost.
3. Making it easier for residents to use their bicycles will encourage a healthy and active lifestyle.
Cohort 2 hopes to have the project complete by August, 2014. More details on the project can be found at
About the Ford Institute Leadership Program: The Institute’s primary method for achieving community vitality is through a series of training classes called the Ford Institute Leadership Program. The program is based on the belief that vital rural communities develop from a broad base of knowledgeable, skilled and motivated leaders, a diversity of effective organizations, and productive collaborations among organizations.
The Ford Institute Leadership Program for rural communities in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California, was first offered in 2003. The Institute selects four new communities to enter the program each spring and each fall. The series of trainings typically unfold in this sequence:
Year 1: Leadership Development (cohort 1)
Year 2: Effective Organizations
Year 3: Leadership Development (cohort 2)
Year 4: Community Collaborations
Year 5: Leadership Development (cohort 3)
The Leadership Development cohorts are repeated to draw in new participants. Each cohort selects a project that they work on together (for example, a local park improvement). The project helps focus the course content on a real-world situation. The Institute provides up to a $5,000 match in support of the project. Participants are expected to volunteer outside the class to complete the project within one year.
More information about the Ford Institute Leadership Program and the Ford Family Foundation can be found at www.tfff.org.