Action Guide for Building Socially Connected Communities

A lack of adequate social connection has profound costs to our individual and collective health and well-being. In light of the growing crisis of connection, the Foundation for Social Connection, Harvard University’s Human Flourishing Program, and Healthy Places by Design, with support from Einhorn Collaborative have developed the Action Guide for Building Socially Connected Communities.

Action Guide Launch Webinar

The Foundation for Social Connection and Healthy Places by Design held an exciting launch webinar introducing our Action Guide for Building Socially Connected Communities. During this interactive webinar, we heard from the Action Guide authors and community contributors plus had the opportunity to ask these local leaders questions about their social connection initiatives. We encourage you to view the recording if you are interested in learning more about social connection and implementing strategies in your community or if you are currently engaged in efforts to foster community connection.

The Action Guide

Designed for local leaders and changemakers, the interactive guide features a six-step process to engage partners and community members in implementing strategies to foster social connection. With this interactive toolkit, we invite you to bring together local leaders and members within your community to co-create effective, sustainable social connection action plans. Join us as we work to build connected communities across the nation.

The Challenge

In working closely with community leaders and partners through various initiatives we became aware of two critical things. First, leaders across the country see the importance of advancing social connectedness and belonging in their communities. Second, local leaders need guidance to take action to strengthen these qualities of their communities.

Our Response

This action guide was created for local leaders, including government officials, non-profit leaders, and small business owners, to provide practical supports to advance connection and belonging in communities.

How the Action Guide was Developed

Community Learning Sessions

At the start of this project, we partnered with leaders in four communities across the United States to learn about their communities’ experiences of social isolation, loneliness, and social connection. These insights were vital to the development of the guide and we are grateful to the local leaders of Atlanta, Bangor, Hennepin, and San Antonio for welcoming us to their home community. The community learning sessions centered around the social connection challenges and priorities of the communities. also allowed for participants to contribute ideas on the design and functionality of the guide, and their input was incorporated into draft.

As a sneak peak to what we collectively learned, we hope you will review graphic recordings below from San Antonio, Texas; Bangor, Maine; Atlanta, Georgia; and West Suburban Hennepin County, Minnesota.

The Action Steps

Developed for local change makers and leaders, this guide will help you develop tailored social connection strategies for your community. It includes a stepwise process to engage partners and community members, identify priorities, create a plan, and measure results. We recognize that change is not linear, and communities should visit and revisit steps in the ways that will be most helpful to them. The guide also includes promising strategies for community connection.


Reflect on the current condition of your community’s connectedness.


Review the drivers of disconnection & why social connection is vital for our collective health and well-being.


Assess community social connection with our partnership mapping exercise, county-level connection data dashboard, and community listening session toolkit.


Conduct a social connection workshop to create an effective and sustainable social connection plan with your coalition of partners.


Track & measure the progress of your social connection plan.


Evaluate & share your findings to build your coalition and increase your community impact.

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