About Berkana

The Berkana Institute and our partners share the clarity that whatever the problem, community is the answer. We prepare for an unknown future by creating strong and sustainable relationships, by wisely stewarding the earth’s resources and by building resilient communities. We rely on our experience that most human beings are caring, generous and want to be together. We have learned that people can get through anything as long as we’re together. Berkana was founded in 1991 to create communities of support and inquiry for those working to create a future of promise and possibility that benefits all people. We are based in the U.S. and operate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


Our Work

We work from an evolving, coherent theory of change. Since 1991, we have been learning from life (living systems) about how to create systems that are interdependent, adaptive and resilient. Everything we do is a conscious experiment to better understand two of life’s robust capacities: self-organization–life’s process for creating order (effectiveness) without control, and emergence–life’s means for creating system-wide change, taking things to scale. Read “Lifecycle of Emergence: Using Emergence to Take Social Innovation to Scale” by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze.

We work at the level of community. The Berkana Institute works in partnership with a rich diversity of people around the world who strengthen their communities by working with the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions and environments. Berkana and our partners share the clarity that whatever the problem, community is the answer. We prepare for an unknown future by creating strong and sustainable relationships, by wisely stewarding the earth’s resources and by building resilient communities. We rely on our experience that most human beings are caring, generous and want to be together. We have learned that human beings can get through anything as long as we’re together.

We focus on four key activities. In many ways, Berkana’s work is quite straightforward. We name trailblazing leaders and communities, connect them to one another, nourish them with relationships, learning, resources, and support, and illuminate their stories as important examples of the future taking place right now. Read more about how we work.