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How Successful is Your County in Accessing Community Development Funding?

some communities in the United States seem much better than others at attracting grants and financing for community development—even after adjusting for their relative needs. Here are some of the surprising trends:

NOLA Brings a Holistic Focus to Resilience

Cities cannot weather the effects of climate change without going beyond infrastructure to address institutional racism, historical inequities, and access to physical and mental health services.

Can Investing in a Community’s Growth Boost Health Outcomes?

ProMedica and LISC team up to fund place-based investments in the hope of improving health outcomes for residents. How do they do it?

Schools that Support Students’ Whole Lives

Community schools support kids, families, and neighborhoods in their mission to improve education.

Creative Ways to Finance Agriculture

In Montana, small family farms are disappearing at an alarming rate, and farmers and ranchers are unable to compete with giant agriculture mergers. But there are several ways to help improve the farmland accessibility issue.

The Collaboration Behind California’s Successful Statewide Ballot Campaign for Housing

As housing becomes ever more urgent an issue, California's model for running a statewide ballot campaign offers insights to organizations around the nation.

Meeting Individual Social Needs Falls Short of Addressing Social Determinants of...

While individual-level interventions are beneficial, characterizing them as efforts to address social determinants of health conveys a false sense of progress.

Harnessing the Creativity of Artists to Unlock Community Wealth

With collaboration among Dallas' arts community, a place-based initiative called CultureBank invests in social impact artists in order to steward community assets to promote the health and well being of residents.

Salt Lake City Walks the Collaboration Talk to Serve Vets

When Salt Lake City committed to ending veteran homelessness, its agencies had to be willing to change and work together in ways that weren’t always easy—but were always worth it.

Election Polling, Big Data, and Movement Building

There is a data geek Internet flame war going on between Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium and Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com over 2014 election projections. Evidence of the confrontation can be found here, here, and here. My research interests (such as they are) tend more toward demographic analysis, and I am far from […]

Restoring Confidence in the CDC Model

Have we lost faith in our friends? Results driven standards killed a system meant to help in ways beyond the quantifiable. We need trust to revive the model.

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

Like many others in the community development field, Marianne Garvin recognizes that moving up and out of poverty requires not just a stream of...

Evaluation for Fundraising

Program evaluation is a key component of operating and sustaining effective nonprofit organizations. Evaluation provides systematic information about the results of your programs and...

Paying for Success in Permanent Supportive Housing

Earlier this year, the County of Santa Clara announced an innovative approach to addressing the housing resource problem. In July, the County launched “Project Welcome Home,” a PSH program financed through a cross-sector Pay for Success (PFS) contract.

Evaluation Resources

The Success Measures Project, an initiative of the Development Leadership Network, has developed a set of indicators for evaluating housing, economic development, and community...

What Happens When a CDC Pivots to a Health-First Focus?

Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation in Cleveland finds that being an early adopter of a community health focus has its advantages.

The American Dream Under Duress?

“For most Americans, the housing crisis is hardly a thing of the past.” This is how Hart Research Associates opened its presentation...

The Challenges of Economic Integration

Is it more important to have mixed-income buildings, or to give more people access to mixed-income neighborhoods?

The 30 Percent Rent-to-Income Ratio Doesn’t Add Up in NYC

The 30 percent standard only ‘works’ in calculations where it is irrelevant. The residual-income approach, on the other hand, can turn what all too often becomes an abstract and theoretical discussion into a series of researchable questions.

Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

We first met Darren Walker about 15 years ago while planning an issue on faith-based development. Darren was the chief operating officer of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, the storied community development arm of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. We asked Darren to write an article that was not simply a cheerleader’s promotion of church-based CDCs, but a realistic assessment of the benefits and challenges to an institution embarking on that path.

Darren was optimistic and enthusiastic about the work he was doing at Abyssinian creating hundreds of units of affordable housing in Harlem. But he was pragmatic and realistic also. His article encouraged organizations to temper the enthusiasm necessary to even consider this work with a realistic analysis of an organization’s capacities and a clear-eyed examination of their assumptions about the rewards of creating a CDC.

Darren approached his work enthusiastically, I think, because he had visceral understanding of the challenges low-income folks had and the opportunities that were available to them with the right help. The kind of help that the stability of an affordable home could provide. His understanding came from personal experience that would inform his work wherever it took him, from law school to international finance, from a storefront afterschool program and Abyssinian to the Rockefeller and Ford foundations.

When we sat down with Darren on March 18 to conduct this interview, we were glad to see that enthusiasm, optimism, and pragmatism were as strong as ever as he starts his leadership of one of the world’s largest foundations.