We believe civic infrastructure starts in the neighborhood, and that by animating communities, we can bring about social and political changes that would otherwise not exist.

The Neighboring Movement applies a strengths-based approach to community organizing called Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD). In ABCD, the pathway to sustainable community change is rooted in relationships and connecting gifts (skills, passions, interest) of local people. By using this model, Animators (participants of the Kansas Animator Network program) create a culture around their community that aligns with inclusion, diversity, caring for people in their community, matching gifts to existing gaps, and encouraging individual contribution.

KAN is organized in two phases, (1) Learning Cohorts and (2) Community Builders. In phase 1, Animators complete a paid 8-week training on ABCD that includes mini-experiments in their community. At the end of phase 1, Animators are invited to join phase 2, the Community Builders phase to deepen their connections and action in their local setting. The duration of the Community Builders phase can last up to 1 year depending on project Animators design with the guidance and support from our staff.

Animators are considered part-time, extended staff of The Neighboring Movement and are compensated for their time. Animators are paid $15/hour for their time and can choose to stop at the end of each phase.

KAN attracts an audience with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and ideals, but they also share key things in common:

KAN is for you if…

  • You are a Kansas connector, civic leader, community organizer or simply an individual Kansas resident who loves their community.
  • You have a devotion to local and global reform.
  • You seek to bring about social and civic animation in communities that otherwise don’t experience much civic participation.
  • You are a true believer in ABCD (asset-based community development).


  • To meet with other like-minded individuals that share your passions.
  • To get trained in community building and be commissioned to do work in your small town or local community.
  • Learning tools to strengthen your community from the inside out.
  • To be part of a greater network across Kansas of people and organizations doing good work.

The Kansas Animator Network will help you achieve each and every one of these things, and help you make your dreams for local reform a reality.

The KAN pathway


Submit an application to let us know you are interested in joining KAN. If there are currently no cohort available for you to join, we still encourage you to submit an application to let us know you would like to be contacted for the next cohort available. 


This includes two in-person Saturday workshops and six weeks of online gatherings for networking and learning. Animators are expected to commit to a total of 5 hours a week.


Animators can choose to join the Community Builders phase after completing the Learning Cohort phase. This is a one year commitment where Animators can create a community project  with the guidance and support from our staff.

Voter to Voter

Using the peer-to-peer tool from The Voter Network we will encourage all Animators to help get out the vote during election seasons.

What KAN Alumni Are Saying

One of the best ways to understand the Kansas Animator Network is to hear from our Alumni. You can listen to an interview with three of our 2020 KAN Cohort members on our podcast or check out the bios below. 

Blanca Soto
Blanca Soto
Dodge City

“One of the most natural connectors we’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Blanca is an immigrant born and raised in Mexico whose experience shaped her into the advocate she is today. She has worked as an organizer for Kansas Appleseed and RuralOrganizing .org. Since her time in the Kansas Animator Network Blanca was appointed as a Dodge City commissioner where she continues to have a strong impact on her community.”

Dr. Tori Gleason
Dr. Tori Gleaons
Sports Chiropractor
Northwest Kansas

“She is an advocate for LGBTQ+ health and rural healthcare. Since participating in the Kansas Animator Network Tori has continued to share her experience as a trans person in rural Kansas as a speaker and panelist. Tori is a beacon of safety and joy for LGBTQ+ people in western Kansas. Here is what Tori said about her time in KAN, “I looked forward to each week for the amazing speakers, the skill sets and tools, the hands-on learning. We became a family. The Kansas Animator Network helps you add the tools to your toolbox to make Kansas what we want it to be while giving you a community of people who really care about you.”

KAN Frequently Asked Questions

Does KAN cost anything to join?

Kansas Animator Network does not cost anything to join. In fact, Animators are considered extended staff of The Neighboring Movement and are paid about $15/hour for their time.

How much time will I need to commit?

Animators commit to 3-5 hours a week.

What will I learn?

Animators learn how to find the assets in their communities, how to engage with local stakeholders, and learn from people doing it in their communities.

What will I do?

Animators will partake in community building by creating allies in their area, building asset maps, and mobilizing around hyper-local interests. They are encouraged to take action around their interests, and the community assets.

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