The assets of L/A

The assets of L/A


The best thing about L/A? 

The people. 

As the TIP L/A application deadline draws near(apply soon), I have been fortunate to break up some packed days in really special ways. The last few weeks I have spent many hours having conversations with people dedicated to the future of this community- pastors, artists, doctors, entrepreneurs, community leaders and emerging leaders. It has been amazing- and I take pause each day to appreciate all that L/A has to offer. 

This Thursday, I had a full circle moment. 

Picture it- I was at the Banadir Cafe on Lisbon street, crammed into two booths with a group of 14-18 year olds. It was hot- and the smells from the kitchen were savory and tantalizing. The teens were practicing interviewing skills, asking questions about what I do, how I decided upon my career, and if I had my “DREAM JOB”. I proudly said yes– but  I’m not done dreaming. 

I flipped the script, and asked them what they loved about their community. We went around the table, each taking a turn to answer. They all had different details, but their answers were the same- the people.

Their shared response struck me with its simplicity. I too think the people of L/A are what makes this community great- our collective resiliency, our belief in a bright future, and our willingness to dig in and work together to make amazing things happen. 

Project Tipping Point was founded on the belief that the people of L/A are our biggest asset, our differentiator from other communities. I believe that this community’s best path to its future is through investing in the people and what connects them. As I talk with people in our community, they tell me what they want L/A to be, where the opportunity is, and how to best get there. So often in those conversations, our youth are mentioned as the opportunity and path to our future. And when you ask the youth- they say the best asset in L/A is the people. 

It was a full circle moment- our belief in the youth, and their belief in us. 


“I know that the people here will be strong for me, and for each other.”

Youth, 21st Century Program in Lewiston

The TIP L/A Leader Development Program application deadline is 

Friday, August 5th

Nominate someone you know, or finish your application!

Announcing campaign to support TIP L/A Leaders


We’re excited to share with you our campaign to support the Project Tipping Point TIP L/A Leaders! Through the TIP L/A Leader Development Program, we are collectively reducing barriers, transforming community, and supporting leaders.

In order to raise the funds to support leaders in the community, we need your help! Join Project Tipping Point by visiting our Indiegogo Campaign here, and watching the video below:

We need change leaders, not cheer leaders.


Lewiston Auburn is on the edge of something great. After years of decline from its manufacturing heyday, one can see the bright spots breaking through. It can be seen in the new shops and restaurants,  the self-organization of entrepreneurs and artisans to promote our downtowns, the return of the real estate market, and the young leaders stepping up to helm organizations and businesses.

This change is being ushered in by a new group of leaders. These young professionals simultaneously embrace the rich heritage and history of their communities, and rebel against the often touted reasoning of “because that is the way we always have done it”. While these leaders might be some of the people cheering mostly loudly for Lewiston and Auburn’s renaissance, they aren’t the cheerleaders. They know that standing on the sidelines and talking about the future and touting our growth metrics isn’t enough. These people are change leaders, they know that to really grab ahold of a bright future, we must act.


For every one of our leaders getting recognized, there are another two working silently, all of whom are pushing Lewiston Auburn towards a new future. And they all have something in common- they challenge the status quo. Instinctively, they know something about our current state is a barrier to the future. They can see and feel where change in our communities is occurring faster than the structures, policies and governance will support. They know things aren’t working the way they are, and without pause, they take action.

They are stepping into their leadership potential.

Each of these leaders have different approaches. When you talk to them, they might focus on different aspects of our future. Some will speak of the importance of education, while others will talk of the need to increase the number of employers and jobs. Some will talk about the need to change our physical environment- improving cityscapes and welcoming new demographics who live, work and play downtown. Still others will talk about the need to expand transportation offerings and connect to other employment centers, capturing the opportunity of Portland’s fast growth rate and restricted real estate market.

All of these approaches challenge the status quo, require change, and embrace new ways of thinking about old problems. While some of these methods compete with each other, we know that competition spurs innovation. Innovation is needed to overcome our collective community challenges. Within our differences, there is a commonality. Each leader is working towards a universal vision with a singular belief- Lewiston and Auburn’s promising future is within our reach.

We need these change leaders to forge ahead on their march to a brighter future. More importantly, they need us to get off the sidelines, and join them in the pursuit. Lewiston Auburn needs change leaders, not cheer leaders.