Innovation Forum: Strategies for CDCs to Achieve Scale While Maintaining Local Accountability
- Ann Houston, Opportunity Communities (OppCo)
- Backbone Capacity Model
- Rob Corley, Neighborworks Housing Solutions
- Merger Model
- Peter Madden, ED of Joint Operating Entity NYC (JOE NYC)
- Pooled Ownership Entity Model
MACDC/Mel King Institute, LISC Boston, Neighborworks, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Enterprise, Citizens Bank
Since it began over 50 years ago, the community development movement has been rooted in a commitment to community voice and community power. Community developers believe that local residents should have the agency and power to craft their own vision for the community and the local capacity to implement that vision and steward it over the long term. While our movement has not completely and always lived up to this aspiration, it remains a guiding principle for our movement. As more and more people recognize the importance of representation, agency, racial equity and movement building, it is critical that CDCs and the larger community development eco-system find ways to advance these values in the coming decades.
At the same time, many CDCs struggle to arrive at a business model that enables them to be effective at the wide range of activities in which CDCs specialize. Many of us are also frustrated that we have not been able to make more progress over the decades and wonder how we can scale our impact. Would a smaller number of larger organizations yield better results?
These challenges are not new, but we are seeing new efforts to address them both locally and nationally. CDCs are devising solutions that allow them to remain rooted in local communities while achieving greater organizational capacity and durability. This Innovation Forum will showcase some exciting models and provide a place for discussing their efficacy and whether/how they can be replicated, adapted and/or scaled. The Forum will also offer an opportunity to explore how the broader community development eco-system can support new innovations in shared staffing, joint ventures, collaborative programs and mergers. We will also examine how membership or support organizations (Neighborworks, HPN, SAHF, LISC, MACDC, and MKI) present models or resources that can inform these questions. Are there ways that we could/should better organize our resources to ensure the strength of the CDC sector going forward?