The Lee Institute
Case Studies

Charlotte Cycles

Public Engagement Facilitation

The Lee Institute was delighted to be asked by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to design and facilitate community conversations around an important question: How can Charlotte become the nation’s next great bicycle-friendly city?

Knight Foundation, which is committed to engaging communities and finding innovative local solutions from passionate, informed local champions, wanted to tap into the collective wisdom of the many cycling enthusiasts in the region, ranging from cycling shop owners and City planners to recreational riders to group-ride organizers.

The Lee Institute designed and facilitated two large-scale community dialogues: The first welcomed 60 cycling enthusiasts for a two-hour discussion about dreams, goals and obstacles to cycling in Charlotte, and the second brought together an even more diverse group of 100 cycling advocates to create a mission statement, goals and strategies for a new cycling initiative. Between these major sessions, which generated lively discussion and wildly creative ideas, the Lee team also facilitated two meetings of a small working group of cycling leaders, who focused on recruiting for the events and drafting a strategic framework for new collaboration.

Knight Foundation is investing in the results of these conversations, putting $600,000 into a special grant fund to promote cycling --- and sustainable, strategic cycling planning --- in the Charlotte area. We are delighted to have been part of the launch of this initiative and a facilitator of marvelous, passionate table conversations.

To learn more about Knight Foundation please visit