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CCRL California Center for Regional Leadership
Connecting California's Regions to the State and Each Other

200 Pine St., Ste. 400
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone (415) 445-8975
Fax (415) 445-8974


California Regions Take Action: The Emergence of California's Civic Entrepreneurs (1998)

View full report (PDF, 421 KB, 19 pages)


This report is both an introduction and an invitation. It is an introduction of California "civic entrepreneurs," individuals who are helping lead collaborative initiatives that promote economic vitality and improve quality of life in their regions. They have shown us how to be entrepreneurial in the civic realm—finding new ways to bridge political jurisdictions, build public-private coalitions, rethink complex issues, and get results. This report is written from their perspective and with their words—describing why they are taking action, what they believe, what they do, and what they have learned.

The report is also an invitation to join a growing network of civic entrepreneurs working to improve the regions of California. Although a number of regional initiatives have emerged across California, only recently have their leaders begun to work together region to region. In September 1997, The James Irvine Foundation invited a representative group of these regional leaders to a Civic Entrepreneur Summit, where many met for the first time. Summit participants shared their experiences and identified areas of common concern and collaborative action for the future. A list of these participants is in the Appendix.

From this summit, a new commitment to networking and supporting civic entrepreneurs and collaborative regional initiatives has emerged. A growing coalition of individuals and institutions is committed to sharing lessons, encouraging innovation, and expanding the results of collaborative regional initiatives across California. This effort is a bold experiment—one with both promise and challenge. For California, it offers the possibility of redefining how we work together at every level to ensure a better future—how we collaborate at the regional level, share best practices region to region, and achieve better complementarity among local, regional, state, and federal policies, programs, and investments. In this sense, the report is not only an invitation, but a call to action to civic entrepreneurs at all levels to join together to address challenges in their regions and to network with civic entrepreneurs from other regions to address statewide concerns.