Offering a range of practitioner peer groups is our signature strategy for encouraging professional networking, sharing of best practices and engaging in discussions exploring issues related to CDCs and community development. Currently, MACDC has the following active peer groups:
The Boston Committee: Convenes leaders from all 20 CDCs in Boston on a monthly basis to discuss a variety of policy and program issues impacting the City. The Committee offers a place to foster collaboration among CDCs and between our sector and other fields. Recently, we met with leadership from the Boston Foundation, with leaders from the Department of Neighborhood Development, and with colleagues working to promote public art and public health in Boston neighborhoods.
CITC Group: The CITC group meets on at least semi-annually to share best practices, discuss CITC fundraising strategies and to ensure overall success of the CITC program. This group is open to all staff from Certified CDCs.
The Community Business Network: MACDC is helping lead a statewide coalition of small business technical assistance providers that meets bi-weekly to discuss how to best support small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition is leveraging state and federal resources to help keep businesses open and to ensure that no business gets left behind. A major priority for the network is to provide support to businesses owned by people of color and immigrants as these communities have been hardest hit by the pandemic and the economic crisis.
Community Organizers' Peer Group: The Community Organizers’ Peer Group meets regularly to discuss specific topics identified by participants as well as addressing challenges and sharing best practices. Organizers help to plan and facilitate the sessions to further build their skill base.
Energy Cohort: The Energy Cohort is a peer learning group for affordable housing professionals interested in energy efficiency, renewable energy, resiliency, and resident health to network, learn and share information. As the Energy Cohort is a collaborative effort by MACDC, LISC Boston, and New Ecology, both nonprofit and for-profit affordable housing stakeholders to join. Our goal is to support the affordable housing community in gaining expertise and successfully developing high-performance, resilient, and healthy buildings at scale.
Health Equity Committee: The Health Equity Committee supports MACDC’s efforts to drive the convergence of community development and community health by embedding health equity work into the fabric of the community development movement. The Health Equity Committee provides opportunities for CDC leaders to learn from one another and from outside experts about the ways in which racism, white supremacist culture, and other systems of oppression have caused disparities in community health outcomes. Together the group explores ways to increase engagement in health-related work and to deepen its understanding of the ways in which health disparities stem from social, economic, demographic inequities. Historically, the Health Equity Committee has had meetings devoted to strengthening hospital-CDC partnerships, measuring community health outcomes, food policy and distribution, and the health effects of climate change, and the intersection of racism and public health, among other topics. The Health Equity Committee steers MACDC’s emerging health equity work, including training opportunities through the Mel King Institute, and impacts MACDC’s engagement with partners and policymakers regarding health priorities.
Housing and Real Estate Group: Our Housing and Real Estate Peer Group meets approximately six times per year, to supplement formal training opportunities and provide a support network of practitioners to share information, engage in problem solving, build knowledge and skills, and offer peer support. The peer group also offers a regular and structured vehicle for meeting with potential partners and funders who are interested in connecting with CDCs. During the spring and summer of 2020, as CDCs adapted to the economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, MACDC held a series of meetings with the quasi-public housing lenders and DHCD to discuss strategies and resources for assisting tenants facing lost jobs and income, rental portfolios impacted by lower rent receipts, and housing development projects facing delays and increased costs. Going forward, MACDC can draw upon strong relationships with State officials and experienced development consultants to provide a platform to address challenges that present themselves and seize opportunities that arise. MACDC also maintains a Housing List Serv, where practitioners can share information directly with other practitioners.
Operations and Technology Peer Group: MACDC’s Operations and Technology Peer Group is an ad-hoc gathering of staff from our member organizations that come together to share best practices and tools they use at their organizations. From cloud computing to automation, MACDC’s members are implementing technology and operational processes that increase their organization’s capacity and allows for staff to focus on working more effectively with community members and residents.
Resident Services Coordinators Peer Group: The Resident Services Coordinators Peer Group provides peer learning and peer support to Resident Services Coordinators who work for our member organizations or who work for management companies in CDC-owned buildings. The group meets at least quarterly (or more often if the group determines it is needed) to discuss specific topics identified by the group.
Small Business Development Group: This peer group convenes professionals that provide technical assistance, training and access to capital for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in our communities. The group is particularly interested in working together to find better ways to measure and evaluate our impact in the community and to advocate for public policies and funding streams that support small business development.
Western Mass Community Development Collaborative (WMCDC): Through the Western MA Community Development Collaborative (WMCDC), MACDC Member organizations in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and Western Worcester County are working together to build partnerships among and between community-based organizations; expand funding to support community-based development from both existing and new sources; and build capacity of CDCs and other community-based organizations through peer-to-peer support, technical assistance, and training. MACDC convenes periodic meetings of the Collaborative, whose members face challenges in implementing programs and projects to serve communities without the economies of scale prevalent in Eastern Massachusetts.