Communities of Excellence

Thrive Excelsior

Photo Community Leaders at Communities of Excellence
Community leaders participate in a forum to learn more about Communities of Excellence

No matter how you found your way to Excelsior Springs, we want to be your favorite place to live, work, learn, and play.  Residents and stakeholders from across the community including business, tourism, education, healthcare, nonprofits, and government have a role to play in fostering a thriving community.

As part of this mission, we are committed to increasing the quality of life and life expectancy of Excelsior Springs residents.

Our efforts center around three key areas:

Economic Vitality: Support economic recovery and stability through re-employment initiatives, workforce development, and initiatives to support local businesses and our schools.

Health and Wellness: Reduce the chronic disease rate in our community by raising levels of physical activity within the community, increasing access to nutritious food options, and providing increased access to health care.

Housing: Expand access to affordable housing by developing additional workforce housing in the community and by providing financial education programs for first-time home buyers and residents.

Together we will thrive.

The Beginning of Thrive Excelsior

Thrive Excelsior was born out of Excelsior Springs participation in the national Communities of Excellence 2026 movement.  Excelsior Springs was among the first communities in the nation to become part of this national learning collaborative that trains communities in the Baldrige-based Communities of Excellence Framework, and provides opportunities for communities to work together, share successes, challenges, ideas and best practices, and learn from each other on their performance excellence journey.

Community leaders said they describe the initiative as a systematic approach to maintain the community’s vitality. “Communities don’t have a CEO,” City Manager Molly McGovern explained. “There are all these organizations performing and working within the same footprint, but there’s no one in charge.” Participating in Communities of Excellence caused the community to bring leaders from different sectors together to address needs in the areas of economic vitality, healthcare and housing.

Communities of Excellence creators developed the program’s criteria in partnership with the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. In parallel with Baldrige, the purpose of Communities of Excellence 2026 and the Recognition Program include:

  1. Developing a nationally recognized standard of community performance excellence
  2. Establishing role models of that standard through the Recognition Program
  3. Encouraging continuous improvement through the sharing of best practices and the provision of feedback to communities on the performance excellence journey that will lead to better outcomes for the residents they serve.

“The Baldrige Program, and indeed the entire Baldrige community, are excited about helping communities achieve ever-higher levels of performance and improved quality of life for their residents,” said Robert Fangmeyer, Director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. Excelsior Springs Mayor Pro-Tem Sharon Powell said the Communities of Excellence steering team, comprised of city leaders from several key sectors, used community feedback to set the vision as becoming a favorite place to live, work, learn and play. Excelsior Springs now works towards the second level of recognition, “Journey to Community Excellence.” For the second level of the recognition program, communities continue to learn and develop effective approaches to help improve their community’s performance.

Photo Commitment to Community Excellence Certificate
Excelsior Springs receiving the “Commitment to Community Excellence” certificate at the 2018 National Baldrige Fall Conference

Visit to learn more about the National Learning Collaborative: A Systematic Approach to Excellence in Communities: Using a Baldrige-based Framework to Lead Transformation.