Dane County Community Development

Community development is collective action taken by community members to address common problems and to reach shared goals. Community development, in its best form, advances equity, sustainability, belonging and the well-being of people and place. Extension community development work plants and cultivates the seeds for thriving communities and organizations.

UW-Madison Extension Community Development Educators provide educational programming, public participation process design, and facilitation to assist leaders, communities, and organizations. We develop programs in organizational capacity building, leadership development, community economic development and local government education.

Local Community Development Programs

Organizational Development

Nonprofit and civic organization leaders juggle multiple roles, requiring expertise on all aspects of organizational management.

Public Participation & Engagement

Public participation is an intentional process of engaging the public in inclusive and respectful ways to shape decisions, actions, impacts, or change.

Community Economic Development

Community economic development is concerned with economic well-being and quality of life for residents. 


Check here for community development resources in Dane County

Statewide Community Development Programs

Organizational and Leadership Development

Community Economic Development

Local Government

Community Food System

Center for Cooperatives

Meet the Educator

Sharon Lezberg focuses on organizational development and community economic development. She supports organizational capacity building for nonprofit organizations, specifically by developing educational programs and providing consulting on organizational and program planning and evaluation. Lezberg provides facilitation assistance to nonprofits and public entities (such as local government), helps to design and implement inclusive engagement processes in community decision making, and contributes to research initiatives on various community based efforts. Prior to joining Extension, Sharon served as an Associate Scientist at the Environmental Resources Center, where she coordinated research and outreach projects on community-based food systems, sustainable energy development, and outreach to women and Hispanic farmers.  Sharon’s experience includes non-profit management, facilitation, program development and management, evaluation, and research. She received a PhD in Land Resources from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, an M.A. from Clark University in International Development and Social Change, and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Michigan.

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