Though it is a pervasive problem, relatively little research focuses on rural poverty and leadership initiatives designed to alleviate rural poverty. Using a comparative case study approach, this article assesses community-level change in rural communities in Montana and Minnesota that participated in Horizons, a leadership development program that seeks to encourage community action to reduce poverty. We focus on the effects of various strategies for Horizons implementation in Montana and Minnesota as a possible explanation for different community-level outcomes experienced in these states. We argue that different methods of Horizons implementation influenced the skills and knowledge that coaches brought to their communities and also helped to determine how receptive communities were toward working with coaches. Research results also indicate that relatively minor investments in leadership development can yield dramatic changes in a community's capacity to identify and address problems.
- citizen participation
- rural community development