|JAN 2007 | PDF|
Thursday, November 13, 2014
2007 JAN | Community Development Corporations: The ABCs of CDCs and DIY Neighborhood Development
JANUARY 2007 MUNJOY HILL OBSERVER PAGE 11
Community Development Corporations:
The ABCs of CDCs and DIY Neighborhood Development
“Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the world."
- Archimedes (220 BCE)
By Ed Democracy
Community development is often used as a synonym for economic development. Sometimes the two terms are lumped together: “community & economic development”. The reason is that all development has been of the developers, by the developers and for the developers. The point of community development is development of the community, by the community, and for the community. Fortunately, there are some socially responsible developers who share their financial knowledge and organizing skills to do projects which are actually compatible and symbiotic with communities. Furthermore, over the past several decades, a new community development movement has begun to gain real momentum. Community Development Corporations (CDCs) are a relatively new model of organization designed specifically for grassroots democratic development. Many states have “CDC associations” to coordinate the growing multitude of CDCs. These grassroots CDCs provide both a lever and place to stand for common people working to change their neighborhoods.
What do you do when you and your neighbors see opportunities for community development projects which would make a real difference for your community?
You probably talk about it over coffee or at meetings of your neighborhood organization. Maybe you even have a community vision workshop and identify broad consensus on ideas which are not only both innovative and viable but truly sustainable for the longterm. What next? If you do not have a local CDC, then you probably hope some socially responsible developer gets wind of the ideas before a socially irresponsible developer does. CDCs offer an alternative to the “hope against hope” method of development. CDCs can start independently or they be spin-off organizations which are started by neighborhood organizations in collaboration with other local organizations, businesses, and individuals.
There are some truly amazing resources available right now. If you do not have a CDC in your neighborhood, then you can start one! Today!
There are now over 4,000 CDCs nationwide.
Just one of many resources for information on CDCs is:
COMMUNITY-WEALTH.ORG whose “goal is to provide you with the web’s most comprehensive and up-to-date information resource on state-of-the-art strategies for democratic, community-based economic development.” There you can find books such as:
“The Small-Mart Revolution”,
“Enterprising Organizations: New Asset-Based and Other Innovative Approaches to Solving Social and Economic Problems”
“Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems”,
“America Beyond Capitalism”
“The Commons Rising”,
... and much more.
You and your neighbors can build the neighborhood you want! The resources you need are available right now! Good luck!
The affordable housing and community development resource for professionals
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Helping neighbors build communities
Community Development Corporations - WIKIpedia.org