Our Mission

Public Square Communities, Inc. identifies, connects and develops community leaders who transform towns, cities, counties and regions into thriving communities which nourish youth, engage citizens and foster partnerships.

Public Square engages all four sectors of the community: Business, Education, Government and Human Services.


  • Name and build on community assets
  • Engage many more citizens & foster new leaders
  • Create consensus for common goals among all sectors
  • Deliver ongoing results via citizen teams
  • Build a culture of community investment
  • Form regional relationships
Community Phase – 12-15 Months

1)     Due Diligence (up to 3 months)

  • Investigate the PSC Process and gauge community readiness.
  • $2,000 Investment

2)     Community Conversation (up to 12 months)

  • Formation of Steering Committee and problem diagnosis.
  • Survey citizens, conduct interviews, and host Community Conversation.
  • Reflect and celebrate to mobilize community
  • $10,000 Investment

Option A – Build Capacity

  • Expanded Wrap-Up Documents from Community Conversation
  • Facilitated Vision Retreat
  • Community Goal Creation
  • $4,000 Investment

Option B – Take Ownership

Expanded Wrap-up Documents from Community Conversation or Vision Retreat
Action Team Formation Based on Goals and Progress Support
Investment: 1 Year with up to four Action Teams: $14,400-18,000
(2 Teams or less=$1,200/month; 3-4 Teams=$1,500/month)

Option C – Community Planning Process

  • 3-6 Months Investment: $8,000
  • 6-12 Months Investment: $15,000

Additional Services with any option

  • Issue-based Mediation $150-200/hour
  • Regional Planning $3,000 per facilitated Conversation
  • Special Projects (pricing based on scope of work)
  • Coaching Monthly rates begin at $300 and per use fees begin at $150/hour

The Outcome

  •  A change in community direction, focus and attitude
  • New partnerships – local, regional and state
  • Engaged citizens working in teams on many development projects
  • New, emerging leaders
  • Financial & training benefits from 6 regional and statewide partners
  • Recognition & marketing as a Public Square Community

Definitions and More About Public Square


  • Local businesses large and small
  • Regional businesses with a local investment in a thriving community
  • Farmers and ranchers


  • School districts, administrators and educators from pre-school to high school
  • Community colleges, vocational schools and universities
  • Where ever there is learning, there is room for a voice in the community


  • Local city and county government
  • State and National representatives
  • Mayors, council persons, and government employees
  • County extension offices

Human Services

  • Churches
  • Social service organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Rotary and Lion’s Club
  • Charitable Community Foundations
  • Healthcare organizations such as hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices and health departments
  • Health support groups such as volunteer EMT’s, exercise clubs and recreation programs
A Community Conversation is the opportunity to bring the community together to discuss needs, wants and plans. It is a place for a community to dream together. When one person says to another, “I have an idea, what do you think” then change has begun. When that conversation is patient and deep and thorough, then the idea is shaped to fit the community environment. Then when two or three agree and work in concert toward a dream, things happen that impact many more than the two or three. But good conversation is the beginning.
The Vision Retreat typically takes place after a Community Conversation. Community members are nominated during the Conversation and join together to fine tune the plans presented at the Conversation. Teams are formed or modified and conveners are selected.
The Steering Committee serves as the support system and assists in communication for Action Teams. They are the Convener for Community Conversations and help to keep Action Team accountable to the larger community. They update the goals and vision for the community and coordinate activities for Accreditation.
A convener is the leader of a group, effort or action team. Their job is to keep the action team engaged and working towards a common goal, usually recognized or identified by the community. Conveners are usually responsible for calling and running the meetings, communicating effectively with team members and other interested parties and helping to keep the group and the process visible in the community. Both Action Teams and the Steering Committee are led by Co-conveners.
An Action Team responds to the needs of a community through the creation of a group prepared to work on the identified goal. Action Teams are usually short lived – 1-3 years and may either accomplish the stated goal and disband or transfer the goals and objectives to a standing organization.
Any county or city can become accredited as a “Public Square Community.” Begun in 2007, this new standard-setting process enables high performing communities to market themselves to potential residents, businesses, investors and visitors.

Accreditation requires that four sectors – business, education, human service and government – share leadership and funding for managing their development efforts. These four sectors comprise the “Public Square.” To be eligible to apply for accreditation, a community must have a two-year track record of involving citizens in creating and implementing their community’s vision. They must renew their vision and goals every two years, have at least three citizen teams implementing goals at all times, hold an annual regional conversation with a neighboring community, provide leadership for the annual Communities Conference and pay an annual fee of $1,500 to $4,000 depending on population. The fee must come from at least three of the four public square sectors.

Accreditation is granted by a 4-person peer review team from other communities and regional partners.

In order to be able to measure progress, we must first have an accurate assessment of the current climate of the community in several key areas. The Heartland Center for Leadership Development created a survey which was adapted by Public Square Communities as a means to quantify attributes of a community that are typically difficult to objectively measure. This survey, “20 Clues to Building Community”, allows both the community and Public Square Communities to see areas of strengths and weaknesses within the community. This survey also provides a tool to measure progress in the focal areas as the community develops and grows through the Public Square Communities process.

Surveys are conducted at the beginning of Phase 1 as Public Square Colleagues begin interviewing members of the community. The survey is also distributed in paper form and available online on the Public Square Communities website to increase its accessibility to all community members. High accessibility results in a higher return of the surveys, and provides the most accurate data to analyze the current health of the community.

Click here to view a sample of the survey.

If you are a community currently participating in the survey process, click here to go to the active surveys page to select your community and complete the survey conveniently online.