Mark Chupp, Founding Trustee of the National Peace Academy, works at peacebuilding focused on building bridges across differences. In 2016, he founded the Community Innovation Network, a university-based center that is cultivating a new culture of deeply collaborative community change. Our practices build a strong foundation between the everyday lives of people and the complex systems we live. We believe that people are the drivers of great communities and we go about our work by building capacity, strengthening communities and connecting people.

In 2018, Mark and the Community Innovation Network launched Foundations of Community Building, a year-long training series teaches institutional change agents and residents how to develop strengths-based community change together. The first cohort focused on institutions in the University Circle area of Cleveland and residents from the surrounding marginalized neighborhoods. Monthly peer-to-peer learning circles provide the space to deepen relationships and create strategies for narrowing the social distance. Neighborhood residents have the opportunity to become scholars in residence at Case Western Reserve University, offering their neighborhood expertise and stories as community ambassadors. We are flipping the script on who the experts are.

Mark also serves as chair of the masters of social work focused on Community Practice for Social Change at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Change agents from around the world have used their degrees to promote sustainable development, strength-based change, and peace in nonprofits, communities, local government, philanthropy and institutions like the United Nations, EarthWatch, Foundation for Community Development and Empowerment (Uganda), US Department of Veterans Affairs, Cleveland Clinic and the George Gund Foundation.