Home Sage Issue Six: Theory S in Action/The Benefits of Civic Engagement and the Reasons for Noninvolvement

Issue Six: Theory S in Action/The Benefits of Civic Engagement and the Reasons for Noninvolvement

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Gary Quehl and William Bergquist

[For the complete report on this project see The Sages Among Us: Harnessing the Power of Civic Engagement, available as a link through the LPC Bookstore.]

In the four essays provided in this sixth issue of Sage we continue the exploration (that we began in Issue Three, Four and Five) of the central issue regarding Theory S: the civic engagements of the Sage 100. In this sixth issue we first offer the positive news: what are the benefits of civic engagement for our emerging and senior sage leadership? We then turn to the more negative news: why aren’t other people in the community civically engaged? We invite our Sage 100 to offer their own perspectives regarding this difficult (but important) question regarding civic noninvolvement.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-04-at-4_30_55-PM-150x150As we have done in previous issues, we also offer interviews with one of our emerging sage leaders and one of our senior sage leaders.

The Benefits of Civic Engagement

As we noted in Issues Four and Five of Sage, it is not surprising that sage leaders of all ages continue to work in their favored civic organizations.  In this issue of Sage we offer a broad view—what are the principle benefits associated with this work.

We first consider the benefits for emerging Sage leaders:

Benefits for Emerging Sage Leaders

We next turn to the benefits to be derived by senior leaders when they actively engage in their community:

Benefits for Senior Sage Leaders


The Reasons for Civic Noninvolvement

While we are focusing in this set of essays primarily on positive accounts regarding civic engagement, it is important to recognize that many people are not involved in the life of their own community. They might possess critical leadership skills and invaluable knowledge that would be of great value to their community, but they chose not to be involved. There may be many good reasons for noninvolvement and certainly there are many other ways for men and women to make a difference in the lives of people living around them. We think it is important, however, to provide this perspective on noninvolvement. If nothing else, we gain greater appreciation regarding the lives and beliefs of those emerging and sage leaders who do chose to work actively in their community.

We start with the perspectives on noninvolvement offered by our emerging sage leaders:

Noninvolvement: Emerging Sage Leader Perspectives

We turn next to the perspectives offered by our senior leaders:

Noninvolvement: Senior Sage Leader Perspectives

Sage Leadership Interviews

As we have done in the five previous issues of Sage, we offer a more intimate and detailed portrait of two sage leaders who were interviewed for the project.

One of the interviews features Emerging Sage Leader, Pam Davidson. Like many of the other emerging leaders, Pam Davidson is working both as a paid employee (program manager) and volunteer in various community organizations. Having begun her career in the Military, Pam is passionate about her work and social justice, while balancing this passion with family commitments.

Pam Davidson

The second interview is with senior sage leader, Dennis Fournier. Like many of his senior sage colleagues, Dennis has “reinvented” himself, having retired from a government position (transportation systems) and now working primarily with Hospice and the Center for Nonprofit Leadership.

Dennis Fournier


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