Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation

Community Solutions Tour

And today, I'm announcing that I'll be asking Melody Barnes, who is our director of the Domestic Policy Council, and our innovation team to lead this process, traveling across the country to discover and evaluate the very best programs in our communities. And we won't just be looking at the usual suspects in the usual places. We won't just be seeking the programs that everybody already knows about, but we also want to find those hidden gems that haven't yet gotten the attention they deserve. And we'll be looking in all sorts of communities -- rural, urban, and suburban -- in every region of this country, because we know that great ideas and outstanding programs are everywhere -- and it's up to us to find them.

- President Barack Obama, June 30, 2009


In his June 30, 2009 speech, the President charged the Office with traveling across the country to find the best community solutions, to learn more about them, and to help spread good ideas across the country as part of a Community Solutions Tour. This page will track places where our Office and others across the Administration have participated in the Community Solutions Tour.


Following are the stops Administration officials have made as part of this Tour:

  • May 4, 2010, Memphis, TN, Youth Villages
  • April 22, 2010, San Francisco, CA, Bank on San Francisco
  • March 1, 2010, Dorchester, MA, Peer Health Exchange and Codman Academy
  • January 27, 2010, Los Angeles, CA, Mercado La Paloma
  • December 11, 2009, Concord, NH, New Hampshire Community Loan Fund
  • November 6, 2009, Albuquerque, NM, Roundtable with Native American Tribes
  • October 15, 2009, New Orleans LA, Café Reconcile
  • October 1, 2009, Pittsburgh, PA, Pittsburgh Community Solutions
  • July 22, 2009, Des Moines, IA, EverybodyWins!
  • July 5, 2009, Milwaukee, WI, Growing Power
  • June 19, 2009, Washington, DC, Year Up

Guiding Principles

Highlight Bottom-up Solutions

President Obama believes that the best ideas do not often come from Washington and that government alone cannot address our greatest challenges. By visiting local nonprofit organizations, the Office will highlight concrete examples of service, social innovation, and partnerships that are having an impact. This will generate awareness about innovative community solutions and elevate good ideas for other communities.

Gather and Share Valuable Knowledge

Site visits, roundtables, and other community-based events that comprise the Community Solutions Tour will help to identify key characteristics and drivers of successful social innovation, as well as barriers to progress. The knowledge gained from Tour stops and other visits will inform the Office’s agenda and allow us to bring back knowledge about what works on the ground to drive Federal policy.

Learn from You about "Hidden Gems" in Your Community

Countless "hidden gems" exist across the country—bringing people all sectors together to address community challenges with solutions proven to work. If you know of organizations that are successfully addressing challenges in your community, please tell us about them by e-mailing the Office at