Creative Community Builders was launched in 2003 as the vehicle for Tom Borrup’s consultancy based in Minneapolis and Miami. Tom soon began helping clients of all kinds across North America (and beyond). CCB is now very often the center-point of diverse project teams conducting special projects, and has placed Tom and CCB at the forefront of thinker/practitioners in the interrelated fields of cultural organizational development, creative sector development, community building and creative placemaking. For a list of recent projects, see the Projects page.
About Tom Borrup
Tom’s 25-year career in nonprofit arts and cultural management helped him appreciate the valuable role of artists in finding, forming, and leveraging meaning in the everyday and in the extraordinary. The last dozen years of near constant travel as a consultant, speaker, educator, and writer has brought Tom to cities and towns across the U.S. and to many parts of Europe, Asia, and Latin America – allowing him to witness the vast variety of ways people of different cultural, social, and economic backgrounds see and experience their communities and engage in cultural practices. Enrolling in a Ph.D. Program in his 5th decade gave Tom renewed access to the worlds of research and theory, helping him evolve as a scholar-practitioner. His Ph.D. dissertation, completed in 2015, examined grassroots leadership structures in urban cultural districts and how stronger cross-sector or “horizontal” networks resulted in more equitable and sustainable communities.
Extensive case study research by Tom commissioned by the McKnight Foundation, Wilder Foundation, and a St. Paul/Travelers Company Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhood grant resulted in the publishing of The Creative Community Builders Handbook in 2006, which has been described as a seminal work in the field of Community Building and Creative Placemaking. Read more (pdf).
A leader and innovator in community building for more than 30 years, Tom works with cities, foundations, nonprofits, and public agencies to tap the potential of their creative assets. Based in Minneapolis, he specializes in community planning and transformation, partnership building, and research. He pioneered cultural asset mapping and leveraging cultural resources for economic development and civic participation. A prolific writer, Tom speaks and leads workshops across the US and around the world. He currently serves as Faculty Director for the University of Minnesota Arts and Cultural Leadership Program, and teaches for Drexel University, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art.