We wrote the book on Collaborative Leadership!

Welcome to the Institute for Collaborative Leadership ... a resource for progressive public leaders & partnerships.

About Us


Our History

The Institute for Collaborative Leadership was founded in 1992 as a nonprofit national research, training and consulting center, supporting collaborations and collaborative leaders that benefit the lives of children, families and communities. Original Board members included: Dr. Willard Boyd (then president of the Chicago Field Museum), Dr. Paul Houston (executive director of the American Association of School Administrators), David Wilhelm (later chair of the Democratic National Committee), and Dr. Hank Rubin (then head of Roosevelt University's Public Administration Program).

Our founding mission: "... to construct a rigorous knowledge-base and understanding of collaboration so that education and public sector leaders can learn to build, manage, measure and repair collective efforts that are essential for achieving progressive public outcomes."

ICL's contribution to international dialogues on leadership and the development of a basic scientific understanding of collaboration and collective impact is documented in dozens of books, scholarly and popular articles, chapters, presentations and endorsements.  



Today, ICL founder & principal consultant Hank Rubin continues the ICL mission: 

  • keynote speaking, 
  • coaching, training, backroom consulting, 
  • planning & troubleshooting  

to improve the collective impact of public leaders and  partnerships dedicated to a progressive agenda in support of children, families, communities and schools.


Want to build collaboration for collective impact?

ICL will help you convene, engage and motivate the right people in the right way within a sustainable structure designed to accomplish change. ICL will ...

- help you plan and convene a new start-up collaboration ... and then stay in touch to help you keep it strong.

- help you strengthen or reboot a collective effort that's grown tired or ineffectual ... and then stay on call if you need help keeping it vital. 

- be the catalyst, speaker, facilitator you need to launch or energize, regroup or reorganize, plan or audit your collaboration.

Learn More

About Hank Rubin

Speaker - Consultant - Mentor - Coach

Hank Rubin, author of Collaborative Leadership: Developing Effective Partnerships for Communities & Schools (Corwin Press),  draws on over 25 years of experience, reflection and research. As:

  • an organizer and nonprofit exec in Chicago; 
  • Ohio's first  Associate State Superintendent for Students, Families & Communities; 
  • the nation's only Joint Dean of Education at both USD & SDSU in South Dakota; 
  • Distinguished Visiting Scholar at George Mason University; 
  • a state commissioner with the US Civil Rights Commission; and 
  • Vice President for grantmaking & community leadership at Rochester (NY) Area Community Foundation.

Clarity, Principles & Tools

ICL has been a thought-leader for public sector leaders, trainers and educators around the world since 1992.  ICL's definition of collaboration has become an international industry standard: 

  • “A collaboration is a purposeful relationship in which all parties strategically choose to cooperate in order to achieve shared or overlapping objectives. Because of its voluntary nature, the success of a collaboration depends on one or more collaborative leader's ability to build and maintain these relationships.” 

Collaborative leadership and collective impact are both art and science ... 

ICL will help you navigate towards success with time-tested and practical tools and principles (including Collaboration's Life Cycle). 

ICL's Collaboration Audit

ICL's Collaboration  Audit is the only tool of its kind that all of us can use right away to plan, build, assess and repair  collaborations

Trainers, teachers and students will find the Audit useful as an outline for curriculum and an instructional tool to  measurably improve practice.


That Little Red Wagon Pin has a long history in ICL ...

Designed by Hank Rubin in the 1990's, tboc spells out the paramount  purpose of our collective efforts (Why we do our work): The Benefit Of Children!

The little red wagon represents the relational function of progressive collaborative leaders (How we do our work): helping prospective partners see their self-interests and best enduring contributions, help them climb into the wagon and productively align their efforts and outcomes to help achieve the goal(s) that we share.

* * *

Little Red Wagon lapel pins are available through the Institute.

You are a collaborative leader ...

ICL's definition of Collaborative Leader established a relational model for leading collective impact:

  • You are a collaborative leader once you have accepted responsibility for building - or helping to ensure the success of - a heterogeneous team to accomplish a shared purpose. Your tools are (1) the purposeful exercise of your behavior, communication, and organizational resources in order to affect the perspective, beliefs, and behaviors of another person (generally a collaborative partner) to influence that person's relationship with you and your collaborative enterprise and (2) the structure and climate of an environment that supports the collaborative relationship.”    


Send us your email address so we may begin exploring whether, together, we can improve the impact of your collaborative efforts.

Contact Us

Drop us a line!

Institute for Collaborative Leadership

(202) 241-0608