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Capacity-Building Partnerships

We help communities build the capacity to drive their own projects, which in turn ignites new community-driven initiatives. Over time, the Pomegranate Method initiates a culture shift, where communities have an expectation of working together for the Common Good by listening and collaborating with others. This is the community we want for everyone.

How do we do this? Pomegranate Center is transferring our knowledge and skills to other organizations and communities in order to build a network with the capacity for collaborative action. By combining our training and placemaking programs into multi-year commitments, we create conditions that develop the muscle memory of civic engagement and spur communities to take charge of their destiny. After successfully implementing this model in two communities we are actively cultivating more.

Studies of Pomegranate Center’s Capacity-Building Partnerships have shown impressive results for its participants, trainees, and project partners. A study of our San Diego Gathering Place Initiative showed that, among other statistics:

  • 80% of participants agree that the neighborhood has a “stronger sense of ownership”
  • 90% of those trained in the Pomegranate Method during our partnership said they are more actively involved in community-oriented work
  • 97% of project partners said they anticipate future involvement in similar efforts

In short, our process builds social capital by involving many people along the way who experience greater ownership and engagement. Communities then realize they have the power and know-how to organize and make real, positive change.


Current Partner | Walla Walla

One of the Pomegranate Center’s most fruitful partnerships to date is in the Walla Walla Valley. We’ve been collaboratively working there since 2010 when we built our first gathering place, Washington Park. We have a long-term partnership with Sherwood Trust and Blue Mountain Action Council that has resulted in numerous Pomegranate Method trainings and the engagement of hundreds of volunteers in the subsequent construction of four gathering places under Pomegranate’s mentorship.

We breathed new life into Milton-Freewater, home to 7,000 people in Northeast Oregon outside of Walla Walla. Milton-Freewater faces economic challenges common to many small towns. Pomegranate led their development of a community-owned vision for the town’s future and helped residents discover their own ability to spur change as they transformed an abandoned lot into an art-filled gathering space. The result of our involvement is a civic regeneration that has led to unprecedented levels of volunteerism, safer neighborhoods, and the revitalization of an ailing business district.


Current Partner | San Diego  

Our Capacity-Building Partnerships stretched down the West Coast In 2013, when we partnered with the San Diego Foundation and local youth non-profit ARTS (A Reason to Survive) for a dynamic multi-year partnership. Our ongoing work with ARTS includes Pomegranate Method training and engagement of hundreds of volunteers in the construction of three gathering places under Pomegranate’s mentorship. ARTS has now incorporated the Pomegranate Method into all of its programming, with ongoing training for new participants and a robust set of community-based programs that engage at-risk youth in the San Diego area.