Tom Dewar currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and is the co-director of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change. Before returning to the United States last year, he taught international and community development through the School for Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University (2001-2007), in Bologna, Italy; and he worked with a range of community and international development projects – focusing on the challenges of community organizing, organizational effectiveness and evaluation.
As a long-time member of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, he has helped train community leaders and organizers from across the United States and Canada, as well as in Australia and Southeastern Europe. Most recently he has helped direct an annual Youth Organizing Institute for teams of young people from across the Balkans, worked with a range of immigrant organizing projects in Europe, and helped some new community foundations across Eastern and Central Europe get started.
Prior to work at the MacArthur Foundation (1998-2000), he was senior project associate at Rainbow Research in Minneapolis (1991-1997), where he worked with a variety of community-driven initiatives, non-profit organizations and community foundations across the United States to improve their effectiveness and impact. Before Rainbow, he was a faculty member of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, where he taught and conducted action research (1974-1990).
His teaching, research, writing and public speaking have addressed a variety of topics, including especially the key challenges in community development, the role of mutual aid and informal networks in community building, the social and economic organization of neighborhoods, and the dangers of an over-reliance on professional service delivery systems. He has led numerous evaluations that have focused on these topics, as well as on efforts to re-integrate formerly institutionalized (and other labeled) people into local communities, provide employment and income for lower skilled and less experienced workers, improve the integration of school and work, carry out peacemaking and conflict mediation, strengthen sustainable agriculture, and promote strong community organizing.