Last January I received a good bit of teasing for a blog post that I wrote entitled Could 2012 be the Best Year For Massachusetts CDCs Since 1982? Many of my colleagues thought that I was, at best, hopelessly optimistic or, at worst, strangely naive. The truth is that I was shamelessly promoting both MACDC's 30th anniversary (we were created in 1982) and our campaign to pass the Community Development Partnership Act, which I suggested would be the most important piece of community development legislation in at least 30 years.
I will leave it to others to rank 2012 in the history of Massachusetts CDCs, but with all the challenges we faced due to the economy and declining public funding it was still quite a year:
- * We did in fact pass the Community Development Partnership Act in August, creating a $66 million revenue stream for CDCs between 2013 and 2019. We see the program as a way to dramatically increase the scale and impact of community development efforts around the state.
- * The Legislature enacted a two year, $20 million increase in the state low income housing tax credit.
- * Governor Patrick increased the capital budget for affordable housing by $10 million.
- * The Attorney General secured $318 million in foreclosure relief funds as part of the National Foreclosure Settlement, including $21 million that went to CDCs and other nonprofit organizations to support their programs.
- * The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation increased its suport for small business technical assistance programs from $600,000 to $725,000.
- * The Mel King Institute offered more trainings to more participants than ever before.
- * Election day brought more good news for those of us who support a balanced approach to federal budget issues and for the seven cities and towns that passed the Community Preservation Act locally.
- * MACDC celebrated its 30th anniversary with over 200 friends and colleagues, providing an opportunity to celebrate both our founders and our future.
- * CDCs themselves showed remarkable resilience as they continued to build housing, create jobs, support local businesses and engage local residents at near record levels despite the difficult economic times. The MACDC Goals Initiative issued a report showing that CDCs had generated $336 million in economic activity in 2011 - the second highest total ever recorded.
For me, 2012 was a reminder that collective advocacy still matters as we were able to secure millions of dollars in new resources for our communities by working together and with others to make our case. Hundreds of people and dozens of organizations helped pass the CDPA in what was undoubtedly the biggest and most exciting policy campaign in MACDC's history. And it was a reminder that the work we do in the community development field has meaning for those who live and work in our communities as well as for policy makers who are looking for concrete solutions to challenging problems.
Of course, many of the resources generated in 2012, includng the CDPA, won't hit the street until 2013 and beyond. This means that we have a great deal of work to do next year to ensure the timely and effective implementation of these programs. This is a big part of our new Strategic Plan. If we are successful, the achievements of 2012 will soon be eclipsed by the results we generate in the years to come. In the end, I don't think I'm being overly optimistic or naive to say that the community development field's best year won't be 2012. Our best year is yet to come.
Happy New Year!