Community Development

Five reasons why June 1 was a great day

June 21st, 2011 by Joe Kriesberg

On June 1, 2011, the Joint Committee on Small Business and Community Development held a hearing at the Massachusetts State House on the Community Development Partnership Act. This bill, which is MACDC’s number one priority this year, would create a donation tax credit designed to spur public/private investment in high performing community development initiatives across the state. The hearing was a critical step in the long process of taking an idea, crafting it into legislation and ultimately getting it enacted into law. So, I was very happy to see how well the hearing went. Why was it a great day?

1. Our members have really engaged with the campaign to pass the CDPA and they helped us generate over 70 letters of support from a wide array of nonprofit organizations, community leaders, municipal officials, private businesses, and local CDCs. We also had four members deliver powerful and compelling testimony about how the legislation would enhance their communities. I encourage you to read the testimony from Gail Latimore, Elizabeth Bridgewater, Danny LeBlanc, and Emily Rosenbaum.

2. Eighteen people testified in person at the hearing, representing an equally broad array of people who understand the importance of community economic development. We heard that day from Mayor Kimberly Driscoll of Salem, Mary Borque, the incoming superintendant of schools in Chelsea, from Tom Kiefer, Executive Director of the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, Melissa Hoffer, Vice President of the Conservation Law Foundation, Boston Police Officers Lacey Seighton and Izzy Marrero, and Sean Caron from CHAPA. Their testimony provided powerful evidence that community development does more than build homes and create jobs, it also improves educational and health outcomes, and reduces crime and pollution. As Mayor Driscoll said, community development is essential to creating great cities and great places to live.

3. We were also joined at the hearing by some of our CDC colleagues from New Jersey, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania who came up to tell us about their experience with similar programs in their states. In fact, MACDC originally came up with the idea to draft and file this legislation precisely because of what we learned from our colleagues in other states. This was a powerful reminder of why national networks, like the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) are so important to our work. Without NACEDA, these connections, and indeed this bill, would not exist.

4. The hearing also provided an opportunity to partner in a new and deeper way with some of our long time funding partners, including the United Way, the Boston Foundation and LISC. Each of these organizations testified in favor of the bill and have been helping us to advance the legislation.

5. Finally, June 1 was a great day because it offered us an opportunity to talk about the importance of community development on its own terms. Since the CEED program was eliminated nine years ago (CEED was a state budget line item that provided flexible funding for CDCs from 1978 to 2002), MACDC has successfully advocated for many programs and laws related to housing, small business development, foreclosure and economic development. However, this was the first time we were able to break out of those particular silos and talk about comprehensive community development - to talk about communities and neighborhoods, to talk about civic engagement and community participation, to talk about creating great places for families to live, work and play. This is what our members work to achieve every day so it was a thrilling to have the chance to “state our case” to the legislature.

As we move forward from the June 1 hearing we hope to celebrate more great days, including hopefully, a day sometime in the next year when Governor Patrick signs the Community Development Partnership Act into law.

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Is the Collaboration Trend Getting Old?

April 30th, 2011 by Joe Kriesberg

Collaboration has become such a popular word in our field that one wonders at times whether it has lost its meaning and importance. Has collaboration become a cliché? Is it a passing fad? Has it been oversold?

I would have to say, from what I am seeing in Massachusetts and around the country, that the answer is an emphatic no!

When the Community Development Innovation Forum was launched in 2008, we established a collaboration working group that produced a report on different models of collaboration around the Commonwealth. The Forum has promoted collaboration as a critical strategy for increasing impact and gaining efficiencies.

Recently, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has published a terrific new report that highlights examples of new collaborations from around the country – including one from Boston (the Fairmount Collaborative in Boston.)  The paper, The New Way Forward: Using Collaborations and Partnerships for Greater Efficiency and Impact, was written by Dee Walsh and Bob Zdenek, two of our country’s leading practitioners. I highly recommend it to all community developers.

Meanwhile, on a recent trip to South Florida to speak at the Annual Summit of the Florida Association of CDCs, I learned about the Broward Alliance for Neighborhood Development (BAND.)  BAND is a coalition of more than 30 CDCs and nonprofit organizations in Broward County (Ft Lauderdale) who are committed to providing decent, affordable housing in their communities. The mission of BAND is to foster non-profits that create quality housing and strong neighborhoods. The goal of the organization is to increase the capacity of its non-profit members so that the varied housing needs of all residents of Broward County are met. BAND members have pooled resources to hire central staff and to secure NSP dollars for their communities.

Back here in Massachusetts the Catalyst Fund for Nonprofits  has announced its first set of grants to nonprofits that are pursuing innovative collaborations and two of the initial grants are going to MACDC members.  A recent article in the Boston Globe describes grants to Chelsea Neighborhood Developers to develop a Family Economic Center and to Urban Edge and Allston Brighton CDC to pursue a joint asset management strategy.

I think it is clear that collaboration is here to stay in the community development sector.

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A Smarter Way to Reduce Health Care Spending

April 25th, 2011 by Joe Kriesberg

The first meeting I ever attended on behalf of MACDC – way back in 1993 – was at the Bowdoin Street Community Health Center. The purpose of the meeting was to strategize ways to reduce childhood lead poisoning by building a coalition of community development, housing, environmental and public health advocates to fight for changes in policy and practice that would better protect our children. Over the ensuing years, we successfully won major legislative change, new funding for lead abatement, and a robust effort of abatement, education, prevention and treatment that has nearly eliminated lead poisoning from the Commonwealth (although the risk is still serious in much of our older housing stock.)

The success of that collaborative effort came to mind the other day when I was attending the Health Communities Conference co-sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Mel King Institute’s Innovation Forum and several other partners. The conference explored the benefits of linking community development to community health efforts as a way to reduce chronic disease and improve wellness. The importance of this effort was underscored by Paul Grogan, President of the Boston Foundation, in his keynote remarks where he highlighted the fact that health care spending is now completely crowding out public investment in virtually every other area – education, recreation, housing, community development, food supports, and public transit. Yet by investing in these other areas we could actually reduce the need for costly medical care and improve the quality of people’s lives. Indeed, providing a homeless family with stable, safe housing might do more to reduce hypertension, asthma, and other chronic illnesses than all the medicine that money can buy.

The Conference included a number of interesting speakers from both the community development and the community health sectors. We heard about cutting edge research that documents that close correlation between socio-economic status and neighborhood quality with health outcomes. We also learned about innovative programs at the ground level that are beginning to make an impact. Materials from the conference are expected to be available soon on the Federal Reserve Bank’s conference web site.

MACDC intends to work with our partners in the public health field to build on the excitement from the conference to explore opportunities for innovation in public policy and community practice. With health care at the top of the priority list in both the State House and Congress, there will be many opportunities to gain traction. Perhaps someday, doctors will have the ability to fight the causes of disease by prescribing rental assistance subsidies, job training and T-passes instead of being limited to simply treating the symptoms of disease with costly medical procedures and pharmaceuticals

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How can we drive performance in the Community Development Field?

March 16th, 2011 by Joe Kriesberg

Performance and accountability are the subject of substantial discussion these days throughout the nonprofit sector. Government agencies, private funders and non-profit leaders themselves are increasingly focused on taking steps to ensure that we fund programs "that work" and stop funding those "that don't".   Last week, I wrote about Social Impact Bonds, a new approach for doing this about which I have serious concerns. Today that I want to share an idea that I think has great promise.

Obviousely, no one can disagree with the view that we should "fund what works." But this statement simply begs the question of what we are trying to achieve. While this may seem easy to determine, in fact it is often not. Most non-profit organizations and programs have multiple stakeholders, each of whom have their own set of goals – goals that are sometimes in conflict, and are almost always different in terms of emphasis, time frame and priority. Balancing the interests of these different stakeholders is one of the key challenges of being a leader in the nonprofit sector.

At the same time, it is precisely this balancing act that I believe drives innovation and ultimately better, and more sustainable, long-term outcomes. Simply put, this complexity mirrors the complexity of the real world so it produces solutions that will work in the real world. Communities and people are complicated. There are no silver bullets or simple solutions to deeply rooted, complex social challenges, and success looks differently to different people. Equally important, all activities and interventions have multiple impacts and externalities – positive and negative – and they all have short term and long term impacts. This is especially true in the community development field where we are trying to have an impact on individuals and families as well as the broader community. I believe that having multiple stakeholders at the table helps to ensure that all of these impacts are considered, and that negotiating these competing interests results in more balanced, creative and effective solutions.

MACDC hopes to promote this framework through our campaign to enact the Community Development Partnership Act.  This bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry and Senator Sal DiDomenico and 46 other legislators, (and modeled after similar programs in other states) would use tax credits to leverage private donations to genuine and authentic community based development organizations, i.e. CDCs. Rather than creating static, rigid, or one-dimensional outcome metrics for the program, the CDPA will use three levels of accountability to ensure the program’s success while maintaining local flexibility and driving innovation.

  • -  First, and foremost, community members would have a voice because only those organizations with meaningful community representation on their board of directors would be eligible to compete for the tax credits. This helps to ensure that programs and activities funded are relevant and appropriate to the particular local community.
  • -  Second, state government will have oversight because they will review each application and determine which groups receive an allocation of tax credits. Those applications will specify how the CDC will evaluate and measure success. The state will then collect data and reports to measure progress and outcomes.
  • -  Third, the CDCs will need to convince private sector donors – corporate and individual – to make donations with the tax credit creating an incentive, but no guarantee, that funds will be provided.

We believe that having three levels of accountability increases the likelihood that the CDPA will be successful as compared to a program that is designed to simply meet the needs of a specific funder or stakeholder.  To be successful, CDCs will need to innovate, partner, measure, learn, and adapt. CDCs that don’t will surely lose the support of at least one of their key stakeholder groups – if not all of them – and fall out of the program.

Performance and ensure accountability are core values for MACDC. Look for future blog posts about other ways that MACDC, its members and our partners are seeking to advance those values. And, please, share your own!

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New Report is Required Reading for Community Developers

February 25th, 2011 by Joe Kriesberg

A new report by Enterprise Community Partners provides an insightful analysis into the financial challenges facing community developers and offers thoughtful recommendations for how to address them at the organizational and system levels. It should be required reading for all community developers and their supporters.

The report, Building Sustainable Organizations for Affordable Housing and Community Development Impact, affirms many of the conclusions and recommendations developed by the Massachusetts Community Development Innovation Forum over the past three years.  Enterprise conducted an in-depth analysis of 10 nonprofit organizations that have faced financial crisis in recent years and examined systemic issues that contribute to financial weakness. The report also identifies the particular strengths and weaknesses facing neighborhood based organizations. Finally, the report offers recommendations for both community development organizations and for funders/lenders.

According to Enterprise, community development organizations should:

  • - Strengthen their financial reporting and management,
  • - Beware of one-time cash receipts and manage them effectively,
  • - Diversity revenue streams, but only by growing strategically into business lines that align with organizational mission and can be profitable in the long-term,
  • - Prioritize financial sustainability to ensure that long-term organizational health is not endangered by a single project or program, even one that has high mission impact, and
  • - Collaborate to reduce costs, improve quality, and expand impact.

Enterprise offers the following recommendations to funders and lenders:

  • - Incentivize long-term ownership and stewardship of affordable housing assets by allowing cash flow to be paid to a project’s sponsor,
  • - Set realistic property and asset management fees and structure deals with sufficient cash flow to pay them, and
  • - Embrace an early warning system to address problem properties and weak organizations quickly before they grow beyond repair.

Here in Massachusetts we are already taking action to implement many of these recommendations. We are promoting the implementation of the Strength Matters TM financial reporting system and providing other training and support to improve financial management. We are offering training for asset management and advocating for increased asset management fees. And we are engaged in an active discussion about how to improve cash flow and reduce reliance on one-time developer fees. And, of course, we are implementing a host of new collaborations. The Enterprise report will hopefully fuel these efforts and secure broader support for making the changes needed to sustain and grow the community development field.

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Can Massachusetts Replicate Policy Success Achieved in Other States?

February 23rd, 2011 by Joe Kriesberg

Throughout my years at MACDC, I have been an active participant in a network of CDC associations from around the country. The network – first convened by the National Congress for Community Economic Development and now by the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) – provides an opportunity to learn about programs and policies in other states that might be applicable in Massachusetts. (It’s also a great place to commiserate with the very small group of people who do the same work we do at MACDC!)

The Mel King Institute for Community Building was partially inspired by CED training programs in other states and now MACDC is trying to replicate another successful approach that has been well tested in other states.  For years, state and cities around the country have operated so-called “Neighborhood Assistance Programs” that provide tax credits to encourage corporations and individuals to donate more money to selected community based nonprofit organizations that offer high quality programming.  The programs vary from place to place, with some placing more emphasis on community development and others on human services. The size of the credit can range from 30% to100% and from one year to 10 years. And some programs are more competitive than others. In each case, the programs foster stronger partnerships between the private sector and the non profit sector and they leverage public investment with private contributions.

After studying a number of these programs, in particular Philadelphia, New Jersey and South Carolina, MACDC has proposed legislation to create the Community Development Partnership program here in Massachusetts. (We also looked at Virgina, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Deleware.) Earlier this year, Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Linda Dorcena Forry, along with 46 other legislators filed this bill for consideration in the State House. We think the bill takes some of the best elements of the different programs around the country and tailors them to the Massachusetts context. Specifically, the bill would provide a 50% tax credit to corporations and individuals who make a donation to community based organizations that have been carefully vetted through a competitive process administrated by DHCD. To qualify, the community organization must first be certified as a CDC under MGL Chapter 40H to ensure that the group is both genuinely community based and has a core mission of community development. Second, the organization must be selected by DHCD for a tax credit award through a highly competitive process in which each organization submits a thoughtful, long term business plan that outlines their goals, strategies and metrics for success. I encourage you to read the legislation and/or our summary of the bill to learn more.

The key idea behind the bill is that local community members can use this program to develop and implement their own local strategies for creating jobs, growing businesses, building homes and otherwise improving their communities. It will support demand driven community development in a way that we have never been able to do before and will increase the scale and impact of our community development efforts throughout the state.

You will be reading more about this exciting new legislation in future blog posts. You can also learn more about how these programs work and other community development initiatives around the country by joining MACDC at NACEDA’s Annual Summit in Washington, DC from May 23 -25.   Please join us!

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Entrepreneurship Week at MACDC

November 19th, 2010 by Joe Kriesberg

“Entrepreneurship is the single greatest force for social and economic wealth generation in the world.”

That’s a bold and perhaps provocative statement, but that is what Babson College President Len Schlesinger said at the graduation event for the Mel King Institute’s “Raising the Standard for Small Business Technical Assistance” training seminar this week.  And after spending much of National Entrepreneurship Week talking with and about entrepreneurs, I think he might be on to something.

While I can’t say it was planned this way, I did spend much of National Entrepreneurship Week focusing on how we can better support local entrepreneurs.

On Monday, I spoke on a panel at the “Access to Credit” Seminar sponsored by Bank of America in partnership with the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council.  The seminar talked about the challenges that minority-owned businesses were having obtaining credit from banks and how alternative lenders, including CDCs, CDFIs, and public agencies, could help fill the gap.

On Tuesday, I attended the second board meeting of the new Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation where we voted to appoint Chuck Grigsby as interim President. Chuck is no stranger to MACDC. He has worked closely with us during his tenures at the Community Development Finance Corporation, the City of Boston and the Life Initiative and most recently chaired the Founding Committee for the Mel King Institute for Community Building.  The MGCC will be an important source of financing and technical advice for small businesses in Massachusetts and I'm thrilled to be working with Chuck and the other board members to build the MGCC into a great organization.

On Wednesday, I moderated a panel at the Statewide Conference on Immigrant Entrepreneurship sponsored by the Immigrant Learning  Center, Inc. and Babson College.  The panel focused on the role of Immigrant entrepreneurs in revitalizing urban neighborhoods and we had wonderful presentations from Paul Wantanabe, from UMASS Boston and the Institute for Asian American Studies, Allison Moronta from JPNDC, Long Nguyen from Viet Aid and Saul Perlera, from Perlera Real Estate in East Boston. Paul provided an overview of his report on this subject that documented the enormously vital role these entrepreneurs play in our neighborhoods, while Allison and Long discussed the challenges they face.  Saul told us his inspiring story of moving to Boston as a 16-year-old, undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, obtaining legal status thanks to legislation signed by President George H.W. Bush, becoming a citizen, starting a Real Estate firm and hiring 14 people – and now surviving the real estate crash so he can continue to provide jobs and services to his community.

The Conference included many other inspiring and informative speakers and demonstrated the vital role that immigrants are playing in our economy. It made many of us angry that these contributions are not recognized more widely, but also more determined to change the conversation nationally and locally.  I’m looking forward to working more closely with the Immigrant Learning Center in the coming year to advance policies and programs to support immigrant entrepreneurship

On Thursday, I returned to Babson College – Ranked #1 in Entrepreneurship Education for the 14th year in a row in 2010 – for the final session of the Mel King Institute’s “Raising the Standard for Small Business Technical Assistance” training seminar.   The Seminar was hosted by Babson and led by a wonderful team of instructors, including Elizabeth Thornton and Donna Stoddard from Babson College and Jason Friedman from Friedman Associates.  The seminar provided 36 hours of classroom instruction plus individualized assistance in between class sessions.  At the seminar on Thursday, participants from the Community Business Network shared with the others how they used the first session’s class on outcome measurement to inspire them to completely rethink their approach. They showed the group their new intake form, theory of change, outcome goals and indicators. Several of the other CDCs were so impressed that we are now talking about implementing the system at CDCs across the state!  This provides, I think, yet another example of the new openness to sharing and collaboration that we see throughout the field.

We were also joined on Thursday by Babson College President Len Schlesinger and the state’s economic development Secretary, Greg Bialecki who came to congratulate the participants on completing the Seminar. Secretary Bialecki highlighted the Governor’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation and said that the work of the CDCs fits squarely in that agenda. He also announced that the Growth Capital Corporation has allocated $600,000 to provide FY 2011 grants to small business technical assistance program and that the GCC intends to build on this to do more in the future. President Schlesinger gave an inspiring talk in which he made his comment about entrepreneurship being the single greatest force for social and economic wealth generation in the world and pledged to continue working with us to advance the field throughout the state. 

Len Schlesinger and Babson College define entrepreneurship as "a way of thinking and acting that is opportunity obsessed, holistic in approach, and leadership balanced."   That’s a good way to describe the entrepreneurs in our neighborhoods. It’s also a good description of many Community Developers.  Perhaps there is more to Len Schlesinger’s comment than we realized!

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Innovation in Indianapolis

November 3rd, 2010 by Joe Kriesberg

Last month I travelled to Indianapolis to attend a meeting of the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development's  National Advisory Committee and to tour some of Indianapolis’ hardest hit neighborhoods. It was inspiring to see how local CDCs and CBOs are working together and with LISC and other partners to undertake long term and comprehensive community development initiatives.  Indianapolis has had a strong CDC sector for many years, thanks in part to support from LISC, the City, the Eli Lilly Foundation and other supporters. Over the past five years, the community development sector in the city has fully embraced Comprehensive Community Development as part of their Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative (GINI).  GINI seeks to replicate the highly successful Chicago model in which broad neighborhood coalitions come together to develop Quality of Life plans for their neighborhoods and then work jointly to implement them. It’s a model that Boston LISC is now replicating through its Resilient Communities/Resilient Families program.  

One of the neighborhoods that we toured was the Near East Side neighborhood where 40% of the homes are vacant and/or foreclosed and many of the others in disrepair.  The neighborhood used to be home to one of the nation’s largest and most successful CDCs – the Eastside Community Investments (ECI) which collapsed in the 1990s (it went from over 80 employees to zero in just two years.)  Now a new coalition has emerged led by the John H. Boner Community Center and they have a strategy to attract $100 million of investment to rebuild the neighborhood. The coalition has also helped start a new CDC to fill the void left by ECI’s collapse. I thought it was interesting that the demise of one CDC led to the emergence of new players and even a new CDC that are now taking the lead in the neighborhood. The lesson for me is that local, accountable, placed based leadership and capacity was needed to fill the void left by the old CDC – external actors and regional organizations could not fill that void.

Yet, external and regional actors do have an essential role to play. In fact, one of the most exciting things happening in the Near East Side, in addition to the emergence of strong local leadership, is that the neighborhood has been adopted by the National Football League and the Super Bowl Host Committee as part of the 2012 Super Bowl.   This has generated millions of dollars and substantial political support for the neighborhood’s agenda. The Super Bowl Host Committee picked this neighborhood because it was well organized, cohesive and had a concrete strategy for sustained change. It is a good example of how well-organized neighborhoods with local capacity can seize unexpected opportunities and bring in regional and even national resources to support a local agenda (rather than impose an external one.)

The local LISC office and our counterparts at the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development  have fully embraced comprehensive community development as their driving theory of change. Massachusetts has much to learn from their experience.

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MACDC Convention Inspires Fresh Optimism

October 22nd, 2010 by Joe Kriesberg

MACDC hosted its 5th Biannual Convention on Saturday, October 16, 2010 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester and once again it was an inspiring and exciting event.  MACDC began hosting Conventions in 2002, shortly after I became the Executive Director, as a way to bring together the full spectrum of leaders in the CDC field – board members, residents, and professional staff; Nonprofit allies, funders and public officials;  long-time leaders and emerging ones; black, brown and white; young and old; urban, rural and suburban. Everyone is welcome.

The Convention is a unique event that combines learning, celebration, dance, speeches, awards, theatre and political action - and it's my favorite MACDC activity! This was the first year we held the event outside of Boston and more than 400 community development leaders and allies joined us for the day. There were many  highlights.

  • We hosted a Gubernatorial Candidate Forum with Deval Patrick, Tim Cahill and Jill Stein (Charles Baker was invited but declined to attend) in which they articulated their agenda as it relates to affordable housing, small business development and community development. All three spoke against Question 2 which would repeal the state’s primary affordable housing law. They also expressed support for the Small Business Technical Assistance program and for supporting CDCs as critical community building agents. Governor Patrick summarized his achievements over the past four years by highlighting the $1.2 billion affordable housing bond bill, the two foreclosure bills he signed, and the Affordable Housing Preservation bill that he helped bring to the finish line after 15 years of failed efforts. MACDC and our members take pride in the fact that we helped win passage of all four of these bills.  I was particularly pleased that Governor Patrick was able to join us in Worcester on the same day that he was holding a rally with President Obama in Boston.
  • As we have for each Convention, we organized the “CDC Roll Call” during which each member highlights one recent achievement. The Roll Call is always one of the most popular parts of the day as it demonstrates the tenacity, effectiveness and enduring optimism of our amazing members.
  • The Convention also featured artistic expression as the Improv Theatre group True Story Theatre  helped us to share our stories in new ways and the Movement City youth dance group from Lawrence energized the crowd with an inspiring dance performance.
  • The Convention is also a place for learning and we organized seven workshops on a wide range of topics from youth employment and public health to advocacy, immigration and board development.
  • We released a new report Community Development Goes Green: How MACDC Members Are Embracing Environmental Sustainability.
  • Informal networking is another key piece of the Convention and judging from the evaluations we received our members really enjoy the opportunity to meet with their colleagues. This is especially true for CDC board members who have many fewer options to talk with their counterparts across the state.  I think we achieved our goal of providing a morale boost for people working on the front lines of community change.

Finally, the convention is our opportunity to say congratulations and thank you to some of the outstanding leaders in our field. This year, we presented awards to Senator Susan Tucker, Worcester City Councilor Barbara Haller, Harbor One Credit Union, Mossik Hacobian, Dan Gelbtuch, Quynh Dang, Maddie Ribble, Kevin Johnson, Mickey Northcutt, Casey Starr, Courtney Koslow, and Brian Pastori.

Indeed, the awards ceremony provided perhaps the most meaningful moment of the day for me personally. Richard Thal presented the Richard Smith Award to Mossik Hacobian who has served Urban Edge  and the residents of their community for over 30 years. Richard’s inspiring and heartfelt presentation, and Mossik’s generous acceptance remarks, demonstrated how much Mossik means to the lives people in the neighborhood and to all of us in the field. The standing ovation that followed was well deserved and brought a tear to my eye.

Jeanne Pinado and David Thibault-Munoz then presented our Rising Star Awards to seven young leaders under the age of 40. Seeing this diverse group of leaders walk on stage one by one provided powerful evidence that the CDC field is blessed with both experienced  leaders who continue to build on decades of achivement and vibrant, intelligent and innovative young leaders who are ready to build on our field's legacy and make it their own. At that moment , I felt as optimistic as ever about our future and my tears were replaced by chills as the crowd applauded and cheered.

We are on the move, I thought.  And we are all marching forward together.

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Future of the CDC Field Being Discussed Locally and Nationally

October 4th, 2010 by Joe Kriesberg

This past week, I had the opportunity to make  presentations in Washington, DC and in Boston about the future of the community development field.  On September 28 I gave a presentation to the National Coalition for Asian and Pacific Islander Community Development on 21st Century CDCs as part of a Town Hall Forum on the future of Community Development.  More than 200 practitioners that serve Asian and Pacific Islander communities across the country engaged in a lively and interesting discussion about the challenges and opportunities presented by today's economic and social context. Of particular interst was the challenge of balancing their mission to provide services to a specific underserved constituency with the need to broadly serve the community in their area. The tensions and dynamics between "people and place" strategies loom large for these practitioners. It certainly reinforced my view that there is no single model or one-size-fits-all answer as to how a CDC should organize itself and develop its programs.

The next day, I presented at a CHAPA Breakfast Forum about the new CDC-Enabling Law recently enacted into law here in Massachusetts. This was my first opportunity to discuss the new law to a broad and diverse audience and begin the process of promoting the statute and its revised CDC definition (although I did write a piece about the law on our blog a few weeks ago.)  The Forum was well timed as DHCD will begin developing regulations to implement the new law and I suspect that many more people will begin to focus on the opportunities created by the statute.

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