Riding the Rails

For 30 years Ceola Davis has been an outreach worker for the Lessie Bates Davis House (no relation) in the Emerson Park neighborhood of East St. Louis, IL. In 1997, at the age of 60, she had her hands full: In addition to working full-time, she was raising four grandchildren. Nonetheless, her community was her […]

No Progress Without Protest

After decades of overt redlining and racially discriminatory lending practices, financial institutions are once again returning to the nation’s cities. As Paul S. Grogan and Tony Proscio observed “Not only have community-based organizations found it vastly easier to line up financing and equity investments for their projects, but millions of individual borrowers and home buyers […]

From the Social Welfare State to the Social Investment State

The welfare state at the start of the 21st century appears to be in the midst of a transformation. The original consensus was that, if the market economy was sufficiently productive, it could be taxed to support social expenditures. These social expenditures were assumed to be a diversion of capital from production and a drag […]

Work, Wages and Income Still Matter

Most of us would agree that we live in a society where the deck is stacked against those at the bottom of the income scale. The poor are often excluded from playing a meaningful role in either the politics or policies that shape their lives. They often toil in low-end jobs without union representation and […]

Left Behind

Student transience has received scant attention in the extensive literature about educational problems in the United States. Yet research indicates that students who are highly mobile acquire basic skills at a slower pace, which ultimately increases their chances of school failure and dropout. Behavioral and interpersonal problems also arise. Students who have moved more than […]

A City Seen

In 2002, the trustees of the George Gund Foundation gave 150 black-and-white photographs of Cleveland to the Cleveland Museum of Art as part of the museum’s 50th anniversary celebration. These photographs were selected from portfolios commissioned over 12 years for annual reports. The foundation also supported the publication of an exhibit catalog, A City Seen: […]

Staying With the Story

Drawing media attention to housing and other community concerns is difficult in the best of times – just ask the members of the Millennial Housing Commission. But when war dominates the airwaves and news coverage in general, it can be nearly impossible. That’s why what 11-year-old Adrienne Wear of Sarasota, FL, accomplished is so impressive. […]

Shelter Shorts

Broken Promises I Current and former tenants of Chicago’s public housing are suing the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) for failing to provide “adequate relocation assistance and effective social services” to families displaced by demolition of the high-rise towers. The lawsuit charges that residents are being placed in segregated and high poverty areas, in violation of […]

Helping the Mayor Get Your Way

“We need more buses!” That’s what organizers with Miami’s congregation-based organizing group PACT (People Acting for Community Together) heard loud and clear as they went from house to house in fall 2000 talking with members about the problems they were facing. Many of PACT’s members rely on buses to get to work, but when buses […]

Putting Idle Capital to Work

Nonprofit organizations, including community development corporations, often have idle capital deposited at a standard commercial banking institution. But there are a number of community investment alternatives that will put that capital to work on behalf of struggling communities. Community investment means using investment capital – typically at less than market rates – to foster largely […]

What Were They Thinking?

The Bush Administration’s $720 billion-plus tax plan has many backers and many detractors. However, not enough has been written about a possible “ripple effect” of the tax plan that has triggered alarms for community development corporations and others concerned with affordable housing: The administration’s intention to exempt corporate dividends from taxation will undermine the Low […]