To mark the 25th anniversary of the Ottawa Charter, this paper will discuss what remains to be achieved in strengthening community actions as an integral part of health promotion practice. To do this, the paper discusses four key elements for the future of health promotion programmes: (1) engage communities to share priorities; (2) build community capacity; (3) mechanisms for flexible and transparent funding; and (4) being creative in order to expand or replicate successful local initiatives. The paper uses a number of international case study examples of how these key elements can be achieved in health promotion programmes. A major challenge for the future is how health promotion agencies can develop and maintain the trust of communities, especially socially marginalized communities in society. The paper concludes by identifying a number of short and longer term challenges to achieve these goals and offers a way forward for a brighter future direction of health promotion practice.