Commonwealth is a set of assets that every community is endowed with. In our mission, Ogallala Commons focuses on commonwealth because it is the foundation for building new careers and enterprises. Commonwealth is part and parcel of the commons.  It consists of both local and regional assets that can be enhanced, preserved, and invested in to create more resources over a long-term horizon.

Commonwealth is:

Commonwealth becomes capital when it is enhanced and invested, not depleted or squandered.


Ogallala Commons has identified 12 Key Assets of Commonwealth (see graphic above). Each asset is intertwined with the others, and no matter how financially poor or rich a town may be, these 12 key assets are present in any community:

Education: the local resources for learning

Health: the resources for physical, mental, and spiritual wellness and well-being that exist in the community or region

Leisure & Recreation: the social opportunities, abilities, and infrastructure for resting, retreating, re-creating, and savoring life in the community or region

Spirituality: the web of relationships, connections and practices that knit together persons, community, the environment, and the cosmos

History: a local and regional knowledge of particular experiences lived over generations, as well as a capacity to transfer and preserve these experiences through stories and memories.

“It is stories — narratives formal or informal, elaborate and detailed or offhand and telegraphic — of what happened to people in a place, of what they have done with the things that they found there…” (Kent, C. Ryden)

Sense of Place: “…that complex of meaning that gives a landscape significance in the eyes of the people who inhabit it, marking it off from the surrounding terra incognita…”

Ryden, Kent C. Mapping the Invisible Landscape: Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1993), p. xiv.

Arts & Culture: the shapes, colors, and contours of our locality and region, as well as our way of viewing the place, plus our habits, our attitudes, our celebrations, our songs, and our dances

Water Cycle: the combined healthy functioning of water to in all its hydrologic stages…especially the capacity to continually regenerate an abundant community of life in the locality and region

Wildlife & the Natural World: the diversity of flora, fauna, geology, and physical geography that constitute the ecological web of a locality and region

Soil & Mineral Cycle: the healthy functioning of processes: birth, death, and decay, that build local soils, and allow for continual renewal of the life in the region

Foodshed: the ecology and cultures that grow, process, market, and distribute food and food products from the local community and region

Renewable Energy: the regional availability as well as local harnessing of energy infinitely sourced from sunlight and the solar cycle, instead of finite fossil fuels.