Building Civic Capacity for Thriving Communities

The University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) and MU Extension are deeply committed to building civic capacity, the collective strength of people in a place, to respond to challenges and pursue thriving communities. The university supports communities across the state through the Community Development Program and Creating Whole Communities.

  • Community Development Program
What we do:
Experienced community development field faculty develop and provide research-based programming and resources to individuals, organizations and local governments based on their unique issues and assets.
How we do it:
Through statewide programming, we empower residents, organizations and governments to build:
Belonging – Building social capital and inclusivity
Contribution – Engaging residents in civic life and decision-making
Collective Leadership – Guiding collaborations with diverse community leaders
Vitality – Creating conditions for equitable, thriving, resourceful places
Why it’s important:
When people feel belonging within the community, they are more likely to contribute to cultivating strong, equitable, prosperous places. Community-led change is more likely to meet the needs of all residents and make enduring progress toward local vitality. The strength of community in which one lives shapes one’s life outcomes in profound ways.
Programs and Services:
Visit the MU Extension Community Development Program page to learn about and connect with the following programs, services and more:
Asset Mapping
Community Arts Programming
Community Assessment
Community Engagement
Community Planning Support/Coaching
Community Resource Development
Neighborhood and Leadership Classes
Strategic Doing
Youth Civic Engagement Programs
  • Creating Whole Communities

The Economic and Community Development unit and School of Social Work at UMSL bring together campus and community for UMSL and MU Extension’s Creating Whole Communities initiative. Creating Whole Communities offers neighborhood leadership programs, civic dialogue about critical issues in community development, and fosters neighborhood-based research and program development. To learn more, visit