History

Member of the Future Generations Global Family

Future Generations Rural America began operations in 2009 as a program of Future Generations. Our umbrella organization, Future Generations, was established in 1992 with a request from the former Executive Director of UNICEF, Jim Grant, and the Rockefeller Foundation to investigate two of the greatest challenges facing international community development: 1) How to scale-up local community-based successes across regions or countries; and 2) How to sustain community-based successes using primarily local resources. Future Generations convened two global task forces to learn from the world’s experience and simultaneously applied the lessons learned through fieldwork that began in the Himalayas of Tibet, China and northeast India and later spread to community-based action programs in six countries (Afghanistan, China, Haiti, India, Peru, and the United States). 

Both the task force findings and the fieldwork led to SEED-SCALE, a theory of change and a process that guides the philosophy and practice of both Future Generations and Future Generations Graduate School. SEED is the process of activating empowerment at the community level and growing a local success. SCALE is the expansion of this activity in geographic coverage and across development sectors. Four principles underlie SEED-SCALE:

  1. Build from community success and strengthen what is working: Identify and build on successes uncovering what is possible, rather than what is needed. One success becomes the stepping-stone to another generating community confidence and forward momentum.
  2. Form three-way partnerships among community, government and outside change agents: Partnerships create enabling policies, channel resources, and provide training.
  3. Make decisions based on evidence: Action is more effective when grounded in objective evidence. Lacking such evidence, decisions are based on opinions and power.
  4. Focus on behavior change rather than providing services: Achieving lasting results requires that people change behaviors.

More details on SEED-SCALE are published in Just and Lasting Change: When Communities Own Their Futures (Carl E. Taylor and Daniel Taylor; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002) and Empowerment on an Unstable Planet (Carl E. Taylor, Daniel C. Taylor, and Jesse O. Taylor-Ide; Oxford University Press, 2011).