Despite the growing consensus on the critical importance of grassroots organizations, and despite this major investment and growth, the field of community and social change faces a mounting crisis of leadership. There is a severe shortage of people who are fully prepared for key positions in the field – whether leading grassroots groups or providing vital support to them from other sectors. The infrastructure for learning is still pitifully weak, with people expected to learn on the job, through trial and error, with little access to the lessons others have learned in tackling similar challenges.
To build a strong community-based sector which fully responds to these needs, far greater priority must be given to developing a pipeline which can generate the skilled leadership community groups will need. It will be particularly important that growing numbers of young people be prepared for challenging jobs in community-based, as their backgrounds give them unique advantages for understanding and leading their communities.