Community Coalition Action Theory

Voices from the Field

As part of the Strengthening and Sustaining Ohio’s Suicide Prevention Coalitions (SSOSPC) Initiative, eight suicide prevention coalitions across Ohio received funding (five in 2020, three in 2021) to study and apply the Community Coalition Action Theory. As part of the CCAT cohort, each funded coalition utilized the Butterfoss and Kegler book chapter to explore the CCAT Model and engaged in a process to clarify their coalition’s operational structures and relationships. To support this process, coalitions engaged in the Independent Study Group Process created by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, as well as learning community meetings and wrap-around support sessions.

Community Coalition Action Theory: Summary Video

We asked coalition members who participated in the first CCAT cohort to reflect on the process. Here’s what they had to say.



As part of the Strengthening and Sustaining Ohio’s Suicide Prevention Coalitions Initiative, eight coalitions across Ohio received funding to study and apply the Community Coalition Action Theory (CCAT) to enhance the efforts of their coalitions.

Coalitions Funded in 2020

  • Ashtabula County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Butler County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Clermont County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Franklin County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Lawrence County Suicide Prevention Coalition

Coalitions Funded in 2021

  • Auglaize County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Lake County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Union County Suicide Prevention Coalition

Community Coalition Action Theory (CCAT) by Butterfoss & Kegler, 2002

In 2002, two community-based researchers described the critical elements of effective data-driven, action-oriented, community-based groups (e.g., coalitions, consortium, HUBs). In the chapter, they explain the importance of the elements and offer applied examples of how they work.

Book Chapter

Butterfoss, F. D., & Kegler, M. C. (2002). Toward a comprehensive understanding of community coalitions: Moving from practice to theory. In R. J. DiClemente, R. A. Crosby, & M. C. Kegler (Eds.), Emerging theories in health promotion practice and research: Strategies for improving public health (pp. 157-193). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Constructs, Propositions, and Visual Model

The link below includes a two-page reference sheet from a course taught by the American College Health Association. It includes a table of the constructs and propositions from Butterfoss & Kegler’s book chapter (2002) and a visual depiction of the model.

Note: Butterfoss & Kegler updated their book chapter in 2009. We utilize the earlier version of the chapter (2002) to better align with the collaborative nature of planning and assessment in Ohio communities.

Introduction Video on the CCAT Model

This video describes the Community Coalition Action Theory Model (Butterfoss & Kegler, 2002). It is the backbone for the independent Study Group Process created by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Independent Study Group Process

The Independent Study Group Process for coalitions outlines six steps for coalitions to use when clarifying their operational structures and relationships. Below, you will find the downloadable resources for the co-facilitators and study group members for each step of the process.

Ignite! Workgroup Sessions


Getting Your Community Coalition Fired Up for Change by Frances Dunn Butterfoss is a book that community practitioners, leaders and activists can use to support every stage in building and sustaining innovative coalitions. The essential elements that make up strong coalitions are outlined in the book's four parts-Before You Build It, Build It, Make It Work, and Sustain It- and are filled with useful tools that guide your group in developing an effective and cohesive coalition.

Before You Build It

Before you start a coalition, you must first determine if your community truly needs one. The tools in this section are designed to help you take a critical look at the needs of your community and to establish if a coalition is, in fact, necessary.

Click here for guidance on conducting a SWOT Analysis. 

Build It

Developing a structure for your coalition to operate within is crucial in creating a thriving and sustainable coalition. The tools in this section will guide your coalition through this development phase, which will be a driving force in your future successes.

Make It Work

Make It Work: Good work can only happen when there is a good plan in place. The tools designed in this section will help your coalition develop a solid plan based on data to ensure the work the coalition is focused on is what the community truly needs.

Sustain It

Sustaining a coalition is oftentimes one of the most challenging aspects of coalition work. This section will help your coalition develop an evaluation plan with the intent of keeping your coalition alive.

Step1: Forming a CCAT Study Group

Co-Facilitator Downloads



Step 2: Studying the CCAT Model

Study Group Member Downloads



Co-Facilitator Downloads




Step 5: Developing a CCAT Video

Co-Facilitator Downloads


Completed CCAT Narratives and Graphics

Completed CCAT Videos

Coalitions that participated in the CCAT process each created a video at the end of the experience to showcase their CCAT. Coalitions will utilize these videos to recruit new members, inform current and potential partners and stakeholders, and engage their local community. To view each coalition’s video, click on the corresponding county in the map below.