Understanding Common Ground

February 24, 2020
February 24, 2020 Craig Bowman

Understanding Common Ground

30 Years of Changing the World

Over the past three decades, Craig Bowman and his company, Common Ground Consulting, have been fortunate to work with hundreds of organizations and projects around the world. We’ve specialized in management consulting solutions for social profit organizations, with a particular expertise in managing growth. We have seen our work expand into a variety of areas, with our international civil society engagements now rivaling our domestic work.

We’ve worked in 32 countries and almost every American state and our business has been growing at a record pace. We work in a variety of issue areas and have embraced a social circles model when it comes to business development. That allows us to operate in a cross-cutting manner, bringing and adapting the best thinking and the best practices from a variety of sectors into each of our engagements.

For example, when Common Ground launched in 1990, we were primarily focused in the education arena, looking at how issues of diversity and multiculturalism were manifesting themselves in higher education environments. We were trainers and facilitators and helped to build intentional learning communities with students, faculty, and administrators from more than 250 diverse colleges and universities.

After a few years, we were asked to relocate to Washington, DC to lend our expertise to President Clinton’s national service initiative, out of which AmeriCorps was born. We engaged in the national political arena and shaped an approach to education and learning that is still at the heart of one of the nation’s premier leadership development organizations, Public Allies.

Several years later, we were providing direct services to young people struggling to define themselves and remain safe in a world in which they were too often targets. Here is where we began to expand our efforts around organizational management, finance and fundraising, as well as working with boards.

Change is the process by which the future invades our lives.

Alvin Toffler

We also joined efforts with the Department of Justice to support a burgeoning youth mentoring field and that work has continued through associations with the Department of Education, Big Brothers Big Sisters and now a major initiative through YouthBuild USA.

Five more years passed and the work expanded once again as our founder took on the leadership of a youth-centered national civil rights organization, building partnerships and creating strategic alliances to promote serious social change.

Because of our work on domestic HIV and AIDS prevention in that organization, we were asked to engage in the global health arena and we’ve since worked with countless sexual and reproductive health and rights efforts around the world; including a primary collaboration with the Developing Countries Delegation of the Global Fund Board–the world’s largest health financing institution.

Being noticed through those efforts, over the past several years we’ve now expanded fully into the civil society arena, working with farmers in Bolivia, gender rights activists in Afghanistan, and youth leaders and activists in Kosovo, just to name a few recent engagements.

Presently, the majority of work is focusing on providing high-quality management assessments to organizations facing rapid growth, financial distress, and/or a major change in mission or scope.

We also teach fundraising, manage conflict, train trainers and consultants; always building high-trust relationships designed to affect real change. In the process we’ve expanded our team to include a number of world-class experts who share our deeply held values.

Through all of these efforts, we’ve remained committed to a core set of principles and the conviction that leadership and sustainability demand passion, the ability to change and adapt, high-trust relationships and a deep sense of gratitude.

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs

Craig Bowman

Craig has been shifting mindsets and inspiring social profit transformation in communities around the world for almost 30 years. He is the founder and president of Common Ground Consulting—a strategic consulting firm working globally to create spaces for people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to come together, build trust, define areas of shared and common interest, and achieve transformational, mission-critical goals.


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