The Sages Among Us – Harnessing the Power of Civic Engagement

Thousands of books and articles have been written about leadership, and there is a substantial body of literature on community development as well. But little has been said about a closely related subject: the civic engagement of sage leaders—the role that unusually talented men and women voluntarily play in sharing their experiences, judgment, and wisdom to advance the welfare of the communities in which they live.

Using the communities of Grass Valley and Nevada City as a back drop, this book tells a powerful story of the civic lives of 50 young and 50 senior sage leaders. It weaves together an impressive and rich narrative of history, interviews and reflection on the role of leadership in advancing the well-being of community. While these 100 are not the only sage leaders in Grass Valley and Nevada City, they are highly representative of those who are actively involved. You will come away with a rich understanding about the extraordinary lives of these civically engaged leaders and their gift of intergenerational bestowal.

Learn more… read a review of the book

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The Project Continues……………

The project continues to flourish under the leadership of a Civic Engagement Steering Committee that is sharing with the broader community what has been learned about sage leadership and civic engagement. Accomplishments to date include:

  • Other Voices letters in the Union Newspaper
  • Radio interviews on KNCO and KVMR
  • A new KVMR civic engagement radio program
  • A video series broadcast by Nevada County Television
  • Sale of the Sage Leadership book, with proceeds going to support CNL’s important work with the region’s nonprofit organizations
  • Presentations to service clubs, government agencies, and educational organizations
  • In-depth interviews with additional sage community leaders.

New dissemination activities are also being considered:

  • Involvement in Nevada Union High School and Bear River High School senior class projects
  • Civic engagement mentoring programs for youth
  • Community leadership seminars
  • Creation of a virtual volunteer center
  • Exploring opportunities to replicate the project in other communities
  • Exploring the possibility of KVIE/PBS sponsoring a documentary television series on The Small American Town, with Grass Valley, Nevada City, and Penn Valley heading the series.

For additional information contact either of the Steering Committee chairs, Gary Quehl ( or Keith Porter (