“Not Davos. North Bend.” – Unknown

It’s time to complicate the story of social innovation. For years, we’ve been culturally conditioned to believe that important things, change-shaping things can only be done by powerful people from elite institutions at invite-only events hosted in coastal cities and ski-resorts. This story. Wow, this story. It is so much in need of changing. It is not only inaccurate. It also diminishes the imagined agency of millions. For example, those of us from small towns and rural communities have been told time and time again that change doesn’t come from people like us, not from where we come from. In turn, some of us have had trouble speaking out and sharing our vision of the world with those around us. I did.

Hi! My name is Shawn Humphrey and I work with social innovators from small-towns and rural communities to build platforms for telling their stories and igniting social transformation in their communities and beyond.

I grew up in a small-town in the southwest corner of Ohio. I remember the first time I was called a “social innovator”. My first thought was “Nah, not me. I don’t have the pedigree.” But, here’s the thing. I did and do. Just not the kind that our culture always finds merit-worthy. It took years for me to say what it was that I wanted to say. I don’t want you to wait as long.

So, if you are from a small town or a rural community and you want to shape the arc of social change, I’m here to tell you that you can. Hell, I’m here to tell you that you are exactly what we need. Your background, path, history, family, community, crazy relatives, the whole tangled mess of your upbringing is a gift. All of it gives you one-of-a-kind ideas, angles, perspectives, and interpretations of our society. All of it gives you a voice that is yours and yours alone. No one can see what you see. No one can create what you are going to create. Because, no one has lived the American experience like you have. And, honest to goodness, right now, our collective tomorrow needs to hear your voice today.


It’s a punch-above-your-pedigree, boot-strapping, do-it-yourself project-building checklist that gets you and your story for changing the world started in a self-funding manner. It’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide that is freely available, chronologically ordered and accompanied by tools, resources, how-to-guides and database templates. I’m also offering a Coaching Program for those looking for more guidance.


For anyone from a small town or rural community who imagines the world differently, imagines it better, more just and livable, more democratic, humane, and beautiful.


My name is Shawn Humphrey. Since 2006, I’ve launched multiple social movements, experiences, conferences, and a non-profit. And, along the way, I formulated a unique methodology for beginning and sustaining projects in a low-cost manner. For example all of my projects cost me less than $100 per year to launch and maintain. Indeed, many of them cost me less than $50 per year. Always looking to live a life of positive social disruption, I’ve decided to formalize my methodology and make it freely available to others.


Here’s the short story. I wasn’t willing to pay for the “s“. Here’s the long story. When I was looking to buy the domain name for this website, “grassrootsgarage.org” was not available. Well, it was. But, only on the secondary market and for a few hundred dollars. I like to work with what I got. So, I bought “grassrootgarage.org” for $12 instead.