A Cities Rising Project Initiative

A diverse group of citizen leaders and impact makers unite together to design and share solutions to cross-sector issues through curated educational opportunities and community-building programs. 

Actualize Your Community’s Potential

Tomtoberfest2017_ByTomDaly-with fade.jpg

“Cohorts unearth the people who have the energy and the will to work across boundaries. Often, these are not the usual suspects.”


Mary Trigiani, Award-Winning Facilitator; 2020 Danville/Pittsylvania Cohort

Connecting Impactmakers

10-15 multi-sector impact makers from your community are assembled in collaboration with local partners.

Building Social Capital

Cohorts meet regularly for 8 weeks up to 1 year for facilitated discussions tailored to nurture connections between impact makers.

Curating Outcomes

Cohort members learn from and participate with Tom Tom’s network of leaders as they navigate a curated series of programs, developed to support the goals of cohorts.

Build on the Strengths of Your Community

Develop a leadership infrastructure to reimagine civic engagement, who can lead, and from where.

Participants are:

  • Active

  • Ambitious

  • Collaborative

  • Tenacious

  • Solution-oriented

ladies in meeting.jpg

Unite Your Hometown Heroes



  • Identify candidates

  • Guide outcomes

  • Engage with program design



  • Increase visibility

  • Guide outcomes 

  • Provide the capital necessary to eliminate financial barriers to participation



An experienced moderator who leads the facilitation of cohort sessions in coordination with Tom Tom staff.

How a cohort works




Cohorts offer opportunities for community leaders to intersect with their peers in new, creative ways—and to workshop ideas for the future.

The 2020 Danville/Pittsylvania Cohort convened 14 emerging leaders to move the region through and beyond the pandemic.

  • Build issue awareness

  • Catalyze strong relationships

  • Highlight the region’s assets & opportunities

  • Inspire unique collaboration

Possible Outcomes 

Identify and understand your region’s assets, challenges, and opportunities.

A proposed co-working space generates interest in Danville’s River District.


Inspire community members to reimagine public service, who can lead, and from where.

A member of the Danville Cohort participates in a video call to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on her organization and brainstorm resilient pivots. 


Strategize solutions for your region’s challenges informed by discussions and actualized through relationships cultivated during the program.

Former Virginia Secretary of Commerce, Jim Cheng, discusses innovative solutions to bolstering economic vitality with a Hometown Summit Cohort.


Position the cohort and associated stakeholders as leaders in critical conversations impacting their communities.

A member of the Danville cohort founds an LGBTQ+ group to provide visible emotional and physical support through events, mentor-ships, supportive businesses, and community resources.



"What this did for me was help facilitate my ability to connect with people. A lot of us are involved in different silos where we’re working, so it was a good opportunity to meet different people and find out what their areas of expertise and areas of involvement are.” 

—  Steven Osborne, Attorney, Adams and Fisk, PLC

What people are saying

Explore Past Cohorts

“NextGen Southside” was a seven-week virtual learning and networking opportunity for emerging leaders from Southern Virginia. Taking place throughout our 2020 Cities Rising Summit, this initiative was designed in the context of COVID-19, with the Dan River Region’s challenges, assets, and opportunities in mind.

A series of virtual events built in collaboration with our long-time community partners at United Way of Greater Charlottesville. We met online for weekly explorations into the inequities revealed by Covid-19, seeking to better understand the critical questions: how did we get here, and where do we go from here? 

Interested in developing your own Cohort?