Community & Organizational Planning

Community & Organizational Planning

Hometown Collaboration Initiative

HCI-Trans-Logo-CropThe Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI) is available to Indiana communities that are committed to building on their existing assets. Objectives of HCI include developing a new generation of local leaders; promoting the launch, survival and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs; or investing in place through community design, public space developments, local foods or other quality of life initiatives.



The Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI) is available to Indiana communities that are committed to building on their existing assets. It is targeted to cities, towns and counties in Indiana whose total population is 25,000 or fewer. The HCI is a long-term capacity building initiative that is comprised of three phases: Foundation, Building Block and Pathway.

Phase 1: Foundation

During the Foundation Phase, each HCI team takes steps to recruit and engage a diverse mix of local people who are willing to explore new ways to strengthen their community and take an active role in launching all phases of HCI. Initiative participants carefully study and analyze data, existing community plans and the viewpoints of local residents. Key activities of the Foundation Phase include studying a Data SnapShot report on county data, conducting a community survey, assessing local assets, hosting a community forum and selecting a Building Block.

Phase 2: Building Block

Each HCI team selects one of the following Building Blocks to pursue as part of this second phase of the program. The Building Block that the team chooses is an outgrowth of the information and deliberations undertaken during the Foundation Phase. There are three Building Block options – economy, leadership or placemaking.


Build a supportive community environment for small businesses and entrepreneurs.


Develop a new generation of local leaders who will take an active part in addressing community priorities.


Enhance community design and public spaces by building on the community’s physical and natural resource assets.

Phase 3: Pathway

The HCI team works with key partners to propose a Pathway Project, and if approved by the State HCI Coordinating Team, puts into action a plan that is intended to place their community on the path to achieving its longer-term goals and aspirations.

How Can My Community Benefit from HCI?

Communities participating in HCI receive:

  • Training and technical assistance from the state agency (OCRA) and university professionals;
  • Access to a well-trained community coach;
  • High quality data prepared about your community or county;
  • In-Depth “Building Block” programs to address priority needs;
  • Seed funding for your Pathway Project; and
  • More people caring and involved in the community.

HCI Program Partners

HCI program partners include the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Purdue University and Ball State University.


Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs


The Hometown Collaboration Initiative is a program of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, a state agency under the Indiana Lieutenant Governor. Its mission is to work with local, state and national partners to contribute resources and technical assistance to aid communities in shaping and achieving their vision for economic development.

OCRA allocates financial and staff resources to make HCI a success in communities across Indiana!

Learn more about OCRA

Purdue Extension Community Development Program


The Purdue Extension Community Development Program supports HCI as part of its mission to strengthen the capacity of local leaders, residents and organizations to build strong, vibrant communities by using research-based resources to guide their decisions.

The Extension Community Development Program provides programming expertise, training support and coaching support to each HCI community. More than 15 staff members from the Purdue Extension Community Development Program work with HCI on a routine basis.

Learn more about Purdue Extension CD

Purdue Center for Regional Development


The Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) closely partners with the Purdue Extension Community Development Program to further their mission of pioneering new ideas and strategies that contribute to regional collaboration, innovation and prosperity.

The PCRD supports HCI by providing Data SnapShot Reports and Data Analysis Expertise, coordinating the program and developing program and curriculum materials.

Learn more about PCRD

Indiana Communities Institute


The Indiana Communities Institute uses the research-policy-practice framework to demonstrate best practices in community-minded economic development. The Center for Community Economic Development serves the “practice” role in that framework, the practical application of grounded concepts and processes for effective vision, planning, assessment, engagement and knowledge dissemination.

Ball State contributes to HCI by providing expertise in the development and implementation of components of the HCI foundation and building block curriculum.

Learn More About the Indiana Communities Institute


To learn more about Purdue Extension’s role in the HCI program, contact:

Bo Beaulieu

Bo Beaulieu

Director, Purdue Center for Regional Development