Uncommon Communities is a leadership, community and economic development program developed by the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and founded upon the research and methodology of Dr. Vaughn Grisham, Emeritus Director of the University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement.

This program equips a group of community leaders to work together in the areas of leadership, economic development, education, workforce development, and quality of life and place.​ Visit our Past Programs section to see what the first two cohorts accomplished for their communities.

Uncommon Communities Cohort 2022

The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute is pleased to invite applications to the Uncommon Communities Cohort 2022.

The 2022 Uncommon Communities cohort is set to begin in August 2021. Groups of 5-7 citizens from communities in the southwestern region of Arkansas are invited to apply, and applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis. We will select up to 5 communities to participate in each Uncommon Communities cohort.

Eligible counties

  • Calhoun
  • Columbia
  • Dallas
  • Hempstead
  • Howard
  • Lafayette
  • Little River
  • Miller
  • Nevada
  • Ouachita
  • Sevier
  • Union


With assistance from the Institute, accepted applicants will be required to raise a $600/person participation fee (due by December 15, 2021), a total of $240 in registration fees to be paid at the time of event registration throughout the course of the year, and minimal travel costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

View our FAQ sheet and email any additional questions to programs@uawri.org.

  • As individuals, participants learn how to build and sustain support for community-wide initiatives, connect with a broad network of people, gain access to technical expertise, and practice turning a problem into an opportunity for community growth and revitalization.
  • As a community, teams work together to identify their unique strengths and broad-based challenges, generate inclusive solutions, prioritize strategies, and develop projects.
  • As a cohort, communities establish a culture of mutual respect and understanding that fosters regional collaboration. 

While providing participants with the skills and structure necessary to begin strengthening their communities, Uncommon Communities is designed to prepare and connect community teams with next-level development programs throughout the state.

Groups should work together with one of the following entities to submit a single application to the Institute: city council, mayor’s office, county judge’s office, community-based nonprofit organization, or the local chamber of commerce. Applicants with diverse representation from all parts of the community will receive selection preference.

If you are interested in assembling a group to participate in Uncommon Communities, we encourage you to have conversations with your neighbors about your interest in the program. Speak with city council members, local nonprofit managers, and business, faith, and education leaders. Need more ideas or help crafting the right message? Email us at programs@uawri.org.

Complete the application form, and include the following attachments:

  • Letter of commitment from each group member
  • Letter of support from the submitting organization
  • Letter of support from at least one other local nonprofit or community organization

Contact Person

Are you interested in organizing your community to participate in Uncommon? Would your organization like to sponsor this program? Do you have a great idea for a speaker or a topic you think we simply must address with Cohort 2022? Let Amber know!

Amber D. Jackson

Program Officerajackson@uawri.org(501) 727-6257