The heart of the office's work is community development. Believing that all communities have strengths and assets to draw on for any desired change, we work to design and implement collaborative capacity building approaches that strengthen our partner organizations to catalyze personal, institutional, and community transformation for the public good.  We hold that “community development involves changing the relationships between ordinary people and people in positions of power so that everyone can take part in the issues that affect their lives. It starts from the principle that within any community there is a wealth of knowledge and experience which, if used in creative ways, can be channeled into collective action to achieve the communities' desired goals" (Community Development Exchange).

Our local community development project is supported by our formal partnership with the South Cumberland Community Fund.

Community Building
  1. Strong Partners
  2. Educated Youth / Community
  3. Financially Secure Households
  1. School Readiness
  2. Strong K-12 Performance
  3. Postsecondary / Career Success
Economic Development
  1. Safe, Affordable Housing
  2. Financial Security
  3. Job Development
Health and Wellbeing
  • Healthy Living
  • Active Living
  • Food Access & Nutrition
  • Nutritious Eating, Chronic Disease Prevention and Management
  • Health Systems Improvement
  • Healthy Environment
  • Pride and Protection of Environment

In articulating the following Community Development Priorities, we affirm our commitment to the Environmental Protection Agency’s guiding principles for sustainable rural communities, and also to the University's vision of sustainability in its Sustainability Master Plan.‌