Who We Are

Who We Are


What is Local Innovation Works?

Local Innovation Works supports recovery and resilience in Southern Oregon by supporting and training emerging leaders in values-aligned social and commercial organizations, fosters the creation of living-wage jobs that meet essential local needs, and funds social and commercial innovations.

We seek to generate commonwealth that can circulate throughout our community.

3-year Vision

  • Build the Local Innovation Lab as a resource for leadership support, job creation, and emerging leader development in the Rogue Valley.
  • Develop the Community Investment Fund to build a more inclusive, equitable, and circular local economy
  • Develop community conversations to discover local values and needs that the Local Innovation Lab and Community Investment Fund can support

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The Team Behind Local Innovation Works

We started as a loose group of concerned citizens and are moving into more formal arrangements as a 501(c)(3) focused on helping our communities thrive. Then, the fires came and we broadened into offering three core projects:

  1. Local Innovation Lab - Internships and leadership development in partnership with SOU to support fire relief efforts, nonprofits, and businesses who can serve local needs and create good local jobs.
  2. Community Investment Fund - micro finance to support local entrepreneurs who may not qualify for traditional financing but who have a vision to create a good job for themselves and others by meeting local essential needs.
  3. Community Conversations - hosting conversations that align values and promote action for the benefit of our diverse, thriving community. We focus on conversations to clarify values, identify opportunities for collaborative solutions, and aligning on actions that can move us toward our shared goals.

We start locally because that's a quick route to what's true and relevant, but we are always looking to develop models and methods we can share with others.

Board Members

Stephen Bárczay Sloan is founder of the Humane Leadership Institute and author of Humane Leadership: Tools to Engage, Empower, and Improve Performance.

Ellen Holty is our Disaster Response Community Liaison.

Bret Anderson, is the Chair of the Economics department at Southern Oregon University



  • Southern Oregon University
  • Humane Leadership Institute


We believe this moment calls for a return to shared values of strength tempered by equity, care that generates autonomy, and a wise balancing of the paradoxes built into being individuals in community.


Header image by Grayson Soldahl.