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Creating Miles of Art in the Mile High City

How a Denver organization intends to create a 9-mile art-, health-, and heritage-themed bike and pedestrian trail that will feature authentic cultural expression.

Is a Meritocracy Really What We Want?

“Together we can break down all the barriers holding our families … back. We can build ladders of opportunity...

This Is How We Should Measure Our Work (And Achieve Economic...

This is Part 6 in a series about the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. Click here for...

Without More Affordable Housing, Veteran Homelessness Will Return

Federal funding to end veteran homelessness has had a real impact, but a nationwide shortage of affordable housing could make its success temporary.

Clearing the Air

The Bronx neighborhood of Hunts Point has one of the highest asthma rates in the world. Home to the world's largest food distribution center,...

What Is Philanthropic Equity? A Roundtable Discussion

As we prepared this issue, the term "philanthropic equity" kept surfacing. What is this new concept in philanthropy, and how is it different from both traditional grantmaking and program-related investments? In December we gathered a group of people from foundations and nonprofit intermediaries to explore the concept, its promises and pitfalls.

Charting a New Course in Portland

Portland, Ore., threw away the old rulebook when it crafted its Economic OpportunityInitiative, focusing on helping low-income people in innovative ways. Could it inspire a new national anti-poverty strategy?

Mission Above Method

Shelterforce is graciously allowing me to weigh in on a current topic of debate within the field of “shared equity homeownership” or “permanently affordable...

Creating Moves to Opportunity in Seattle-King County

Starting in 2017, researchers at Opportunity Insights and several other universities partnered with the Seattle and King County housing authorities, J-PAL North America, and...

Scale, Schmale. What About Impact?

If you think what's wrong with CDCs today is their failure to “go to scale,” you are looking in the fundamentally wrong direction, asking...

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.

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.

A 21st Century Vision For Community Development

Today's economic crisis is devastating neighborhoods and households across the country. Urban, low-income communities that were slowly recovering from the disinvestment of earlier decades are now falling back to where they were in the 1970s. Rural communities, walloped by the collapse of key economic generators, have suffered no less. Families that had begun to break the cycle of poverty and build small amounts of savings are now being plunged back into debt. Yet, at a time when the work of community development corporations is more needed than ever, there are growing questions about their long-term viability and efficacy.

Tenant Organizing When Rising Rent Isn’t the (Main) Issue

Tenant organizing has been re-energized in coastal cities where housing costs are soaring. But tenants need a voice in the rest of the country too—and they are organizing to get one.

In Defense of the 30 Percent of Income to Housing Affordability...

At an individual level, the 30 percent standard and the residual-income standard can produce very different results. But as a regional measure of affordability problems, they’re not so far apart.

Who, Why, and How Communities Oppose Affordable Housing

The results of a survey of affordable housing developers in New York State and their experiences with communities that oppose affordable housing.

Breathing Easier

A Massachusetts-based program provides home environment assessments, education, and home remediation services—often resulting in the improved health and lives of families.

Affirmatively Dismantling Fair Housing

HUD has proposed a new rule that would make it more difficult to combat racial segregation in housing. The rule doesn't even mention segregation.

Why Your Community Should Kick the Subsidy Habit

Corporate incentives won't help communities thrive, even distressed ones. But nurturing local businesses will save municipalities money and promote the growth of income, wealth, and jobs.

Think Scattered Site Rehab Is Too Expensive? Think Again.

Vacant properties are so persistent in part because it's too expensive to do anything with them. At least that's the assumption. It's much simpler, goes this reasoning, and more cost-effective, to construct and manage a new multifamily building than to try to rehab and manage single-family homes spread over a wide area. But what if that's just not true?