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supporting, inspiring, and connecting

the people transforming our communities

deviant  n
de·​vi·​ant  |  \ ˈdē-vē-ənt \

A person or thing departing from
usual or accepted standards

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Positive Deviants are under-resourced, yet resourceful.

Driven by purpose to break down barriers.

Comfortable with risk.

Often viewed as outsiders.

Curious about new ways of thinking and doing.

Positive Deviants motivate and inspire others,

simply by being their authentic selves.


When Positive Deviants from Dayton, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis came together for a conversation around shared values, they discovered a bond beyond geography and regional challenges. Each community is home to many unconventional change agents. These people are innovating the work of transforming their communities, often without recognition or sufficient resources. 

Connecting, re-energizing, and expanding the practice of Positive Deviants is our goal. 


The global pandemic has made it impossible to ignore the steep price of inequitable systems on the health, wealth, and wellbeing of disinvested communities. At the same time, there is no shortage of transformative, inspiring, community-led work happening in our cities. The missing ingredient is a platform to raise awareness of these leaders, the creativity of their models, and the impact they are making. By elevating their stories we can shift the narrative towards a deeper understanding of what is possible - and how we can achieve it.


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We believe everything happens because of people and relationships. Our +Deviants Community Platform is the place to make key connections with people who are sharing your journey, just on a different road. Looking for a resource or collaborator? Have a question you hope one of our community members can answer? Make connecting with Positive Deviants part of your consideration set 2when it comes to moving ideas to action.

We coordinate and offer virtual +Deviant Retreats, experiences situated at the intersection of community transformation and creative expression led by people who are actually doing the work. These featured Positive Deviants will be nominated by retreat organizers and solicited through a public call for applicants. During these half day retreats, attendees from all places and spaces will benefit by expanding their practice, getting re-energized, and building relationships that increase their impact.

Why reinvent the wheel when we can learn from each other’s successes (and failures)? The Positive Deviants Resource Library will consist of submitted and curated audio, video, and print stories as well as case studies of local, regional, national, and international efforts which can inform our work moving forward.

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