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Social Capital: What Works?

Call for papers

Assist Social Capital Conference

Social Capital: What Works?
Organized by Assist Social Capital
Community Central Hall, Maryhill Road, Glasgow
June 9th, 2006

What is Assist Social Capital

Assist Social Capital brings together people working to develop sustainable communities; provides opportunities to share knowledge and experience; explores the research on social capital carried out over the last few years, linking it to practical implementation. We promote examples of best practice, develop understanding of social capital and its benefits and provide a platform for it to be replicated and extended.


Research suggests that higher levels of social capital are associated with increased well-being; better health, higher educational achievement, increased employment opportunities and lower crime rates. In other words, people linked into extended networks of trust and mutual support are more likely to be "housed, healthy, hired and happy".
“Social Capital: What Works?” will provide the chance to hear from one of the world’s experts how social capital might be put to practical use and how it might enhance your communities.


Dr Thomas Sander is Executive Director of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America: a project founded by Professor Robert Putnam (author of Bowling Alone) at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. The Saguaro Seminar was set up to develop tools for measuring social capital, develop strategies for building more social capital, and to conduct innovative research on social capital.

Prior to going to Saguaro, Tom was Director of the Fund for Social Entrepreneurs at Youth Service America: a program which identifies selects and supports visionary youth leaders with bold, entrepreneurial, and innovative ideas that engage young Americans as active citizens in solving urgent community problems. [The Fund functions like a non-profit venture capital fund for young "social capitalists".]

Tom worked for the President's Office at Harvard University on an entrepreneurial not-for-profit venture, negotiating and consummating the first few debt-for-education swaps in the world. [Innovative and creative financial techniques were used to leverage Harvard's resources and donations into scholarship funds for students from developing countries to study in graduate programs at Harvard.] Tom has consulted to the governments of Ecuador and the Philippines on debt and financial issues.

In 1993, Tom was Senator Kennedy's senior policy advisor on national service [on the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee] for the enactment of the 1993 National Service Trust Act (the popularly named "AmeriCorps" legislation).

For Saguaro, Tom has directed a 3-year Executive Session of leading thinkers and doers from across America that led to www.bettertogether.org in 2000 (detailing strategies for civic re-engagement). He has managed 3 surveys on social capital, and is currently managing three additional social capital surveys going into the field in Spring 2006: 1) on trends in our nation’s social capital since 2000 and the social impact of communities receiving Katrina evacuees; 2) a survey on the connection between workplace policies and practices and social capital on- and off-the-job; and 3) a survey on the intersection of religion [beliefs, behaviors, and belonging] and social and political life in America.

Tom has written on social capital trends after September 11, on New Urbanism and social capital, on building social capital in schools, on community foundations and social capital, on technology and social capital, on a growing civic class gap, and on evidence of a new 9-11 Generation among youth. He’s on the Boards of Learning to Give and The Community League and served on the editorial board of the Encyclopedia of Community.
Community Central Hall the venue for the conference, in operation for over 28 years, develops partnerships providing facilities, services and opportunities for the benefit and well-being of the community. As well as being a large community facility, CCH manages 13 projects that provide a wide range of opportunities for every member of the community including a community café, services for older residents, youth work and after school care. Over 3000 people use the facilities and services, per week! (www.communitycentralhall.org.uk)

For information or to book contact: [email protected]

the booking form in Word or in Pdf format.


Assist Social Capital

Assist Social Capital works with individuals and organisations anywhere to develop resilient communities, using 'social capital' as a critical resource. Our goals are to; find examples of best practice and promote them find ways of linking research to practical implementation...

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