Photo by Noel Hidalgo

BUild With, NOT FOR

Build With is a training, facilitation, and consulting practice led by Laurenellen McCann. We help organizations and collectives design and implement power-shifting community programs and evolve institutional cultures.

We are guided by the movement principle “build with, not for”: the essential notion that those most impacted by systems that need changing must be the ones in charge of the arc of change. In other words: we believe the work of social change requires practicing what you preach, inside and out. Whether you’re seeking to realign internal team structures for meaningful accountability and inclusion or to make major shifts in your organization’s practice of community partnership, we’re here to help ensure that your vision and action is rooted in real collaboration and accountability with those you seek to serve and organize.

We have experience working with a wide array of organizations in a variety of fields and contexts. Past clients include theatre companies, universities, libraries, community networks, artist collaboratives, U.S. local governments, neighborhood associations, think tanks, unions, direct action teams, non-profits, and more.

Think we might be a good fit for you and your team? Learn more about our approach here, or jump into our offerings here.

Our Services


  • Convenings, meetings, retreats

  • Team visioning, mission-setting, and roadmapping

  • Collaborative research, design, and production (AKA co-design)

  • Mediation for accountability (among staff, between staff and leadership, within communal contexts)

  • Community resource mapping



  • Workshops, trainings, classes

  • “Play spaces” (interactive arts-based events and games that de-specialize and de-wonk policy and research issues and enable co-design)

  • Accountability structures and agreements

  • Community engagement strategies that are power-aware and non-extractive



  • Relational organizing support for teams

  • Consent-full leadership

  • Burn Out prevention and recovery

  • Workplace collective action



  • Check out our current training offerings here:

  • Interested in original programming? Or in bringing in our team to support an existing curricula? Get in touch.