As the community development industry has grown, networks, associations, and intermediaries have developed to support CDCs and other community-based organizations. Some provide funding, some offer training, and others provide direct technical assistance. They all provide forums for local organizations to learn from others’ experiences, and share their knowledge and skills. Brief descriptions of four organizations follow.
Founded in 1982 by Jim and Patty Rouse, The Enterprise Foundation is a national, nonprofit housing and community development organization that assists community-based nonprofit organizations and state and local governments in developing affordable housing and community services. Enterprise provides funding, technical assistance, and training, and helps local organizations establish partnerships with other national organizations in order to leverage greater resources.
With a goal of providing anti-poverty and affordable housing opportunities for low-income families, Enterprise works with more than 940 nonprofit organizations in more than 280 locations around the US. Its affiliates – including Enterprise Homes (a construction company), Enterprise Childcare, Inc., and others – work with hundreds more. According to Enterprise’s 1997 annual report, the foundation has helped develop close to 86,000 new and renovated homes, and their 23 neighborhood-based employment centers in 12 cities have placed more than 28,000 low-income people in permanent, full-time jobs. Since its founding, Enterprise has raised and committed more than $2.3 billion in loans, grants, and equity investments.
10227 Wincopin Circle, Suite 500, Columbia, MD 21044-3400. 410-964-1230. www.enterprisefoundation.org
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NRC), a national nonprofit, was created in 1978 by an act of Congress to revitalize America’s older, distressed communities by establishing and supporting NeighborWorks®, a national network of local nonprofit organizations. NRC creates and strengthens resident-led partnerships of lenders, other business people, and local government officials to revitalize and restore neighborhoods in decline.
Through its training programs, NRC promotes a comprehensive approach to neighborhood renewal, centering on providing safe, decent, affordable housing, but also encompassing economic development, partnerships with social service agencies, development of resident leaders, neighborhood marketing, and other work.
NRC has provided over 140,000 total training contact hours to individuals around the country. By mid-1996, 180 NeighborWorks® organizations were working in more than 330 municipalities. Total reinvestment in these communities to that point amounted to almost $1 billion, in the form of 14,700 units of new housing, 10,600 repaired units, and the purchase of $42.5 million in non-conventional loans made by Neighborhood Housing Services of America, expanding the ability of local programs to lend to more households.
1325 G St., Ste. 800, Washington, D.C. 20005. 202-376-2400. www.nw.org
Development Leadership Network
The Development Leadership Network (DLN) is a network of 400 neighborhood-based practitioners who, along with community economic development trainers, researchers, consultants, and funders, share a common philosophy.
Formed in 1987, DLN provides a practice-based and practitioner-led forum to discuss timely, relevant, and challenging issues facing the community development field. It holds that community development efforts should be accountable to those served; that local organizing should be integrated with bricks and mortar strategies; that efforts should support the emergence of indigenous leaders; and that approaches should be comprehensive, family-based, and integrative, recognizing community building and the elimination of poverty as the primary goal.
Through forums, national retreats, and a newsletter, DLN encourages peers to share and analyze ideas, projects, and problems in an atmosphere of trust and tolerance of each other’s cultural differences. The network also seeks to articulate standards and values for the practice.
685 Centre Street, Boston, MA 02130
617-971-9443 • fax: 617-971-0778. www.developmentleadership.net
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
The largest national financial intermediary providing grants, investments, and technical support to community-based organizations, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) was founded in 1979 with $10 million from the Ford Foundation and six Fortune 500 companies for the renovation of 100 neighborhoods. In 1997, LISC worked with more than 1,400 organizations in 41 US cities, states, and regions, raised more than $400 million for its efforts, and committed more than $100 million in loans and lines of credit and close to $30 million in grants.
LISC believes that CDCs that are accountable to local residents are the best vehicles for lasting and positive change for the benefit of low- and moderate-income people. By marshalling private-sector resources and extending financial and technical support to CDCs, LISC aims to enable residents to set their own priorities and shape the process of renewal. Such redevelopment efforts generate positive consequences – including indigenous leadership development, increased outside investment, and productive alliances among residents, local governments, and the business and philanthropic communities – that go well beyond physical improvements.
733 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017. 212-455-9800. www.liscnet.org