Collaborative Community Projects
Designed & Facilitated by Delia Horwitz


In this all day meeting sponsored by the City of Santa Barbara during the recession of the early 90’s, sixty-five individuals who were property owners, residents, city council members, arts leaders and interested citizens gathered to discuss how the arts could contribute to the quality of life and economic success of downtown Santa Barbara.

Results: By the end of the day, the group developed a shared vision that featured a festive “Village Marketplace” theme. That vision included connecting various outdoor venues as a contiguous path of public spaces. A summary brochure was created and widely distributed. Because the key leaders from government, the community, and businesses had co-created this vision together, each could move forward with their portion of the vision in a co-coordinated way.


With her colleague Douglas Gillies, Delia Horwitz designed and facilitated this all day event for over 100 individuals who were Chief Executives, senior leaders of key businesses or academic institutions and State, County and City elected representatives.

Results: Structured exercises allowed them to listen to each other’s concerns and reach consensus on three priority actions to revitalize and sustain Santa Barbara’s economy during one of the worst local recessions. By tapping the shared wisdom of the participants, resources were able to be consolidated and focused in the areas they had agreed upon.


As an alternative to the “file our development plans and fight with the neighbors,” Delia Horwitz was asked by the Director of the Santa Barbara Airport to facilitate the organizing meetings of a diverse volunteer group whose shared interest was preserving a Federally protected and environmentally sensitive habitat while providing for planned development. Members included large and small property owners including UCSB, regulatory agencies and citizen groups having an interest in the area.

Results: A committee management plan and by-laws were adopted, a single document referencing all applicable regulations and plans was compiled, and the group continues to serve as a forum and clearing house for issues and projects in the area.


In the early 1990’s in Santa Barbara, it was rare for pro-environment and pro-development leaders to find common ground, or even be at events together unless they were arguing at a public hearing. Delia Horwitz changed that when she convened twenty-two of the most influential leaders. They met in six three-hour meetings to identify their shared vision for the year 2010. They represented broad political spectrum.

Results: Perhaps most important, was that communication lines were opened and relationships were established, including one of the most well respected environmental leaders becoming a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

The group agreed upon twenty-four community elements they would like to have in place by the year 2010. They explored the inter-relatedness of their concerns, as well as the cause and effect relationship of each element.

A slide show was produced of their vision and shown widely throughout the community.


With so many agencies in Santa Barbara County providing services to children, youth and families, there was confusion, overlap and gaps in the efficient and effective delivery of services. The Chair of the Board of Supervisors asked Delia Horwitz to help this new inter-agency network develop a shared strategic plan.

Results: This diverse group of over 40 county and school executives, private, non-profit agencies and community based volunteers developed a shared vision, common values and a five point plan in just twelve hours over a six month period. The County Supervisors adopted the plan shortly thereafter.


At a time when there were ill feelings coming from fierce competition for State funding, an historic two day joint retreat was held with the Executive Committees of the League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties and the California School Boards Association in order to increase their synergy and cooperation.

Results: Three joint goals and several shared action items were agreed to. Longer term, cooperative communication lines were opened for addressing the ongoing serious budget shortfalls anticipated.


Citizens in this farm labor intensive community were complaining about code violations and over-crowding in existing housing, and were in conflict with agricultural land owners and workers. Angry groups were packing city council meetings and no resolution was in sight. Delia led a bi-lingual workshop for about 400 attendees. She selected and trained volunteer facilitators to mediate in small breakout groups so each side could better understand the others’ concerns.

Results: Residential overcrowding ordinances were passed.


Delia co-founded and was the Executive Director of a year long, 30 person Community Leadership Program. Its unique purpose was to be a neutral and respectful setting for diverse opinions to be aired, and to train existing and aspiring leaders from every sector of the community in collaborative methods. Hundreds of people were involved in focus groups each year to develop content for the monthly all-day sessions, to be sponsors, or be guest speakers.

Results: The first year’s class of Leadership Santa Barbara County became it’s Board of Directors and nineteen years later, this independent 501C3 is still bringing diverse existing and aspiring community leaders together monthly during a year-long development program. Alumni continue to be involved.

1605 Garnette Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

10501 Wilshire Blvd. #606
Los Angeles, CA 90024

1605 Garnette Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

1605 Garnette Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

(805) 215-3717

(310) 285-8425

(805) 215-3717

(805) 215-3717


Web Design By Wolf On Web
E-mail Webmaster