Tuesday, January 5, 2010

21st Century CDCs

"But at the same time,funders, investors,scholars,policy makers, and many practitioners are asking if the CDC model still works. Can CDCs help this country recover? Do we need a different organizational model to achieve our goals in the coming years?'

Joe Kreisberg, "A 21st Century Vision for Community Development," Shelterforce, Fall 2009.

My problem with this otherwise useful article is that there is little discussion about vision -- more about definitions,resources, infrastructure, and policy. These are important,to be sure, but they don't get at the question of whether there is an important role or roles for community development corporations (CDCs) in the 21st century.

While there is a stunning diversity of CDCS, in my mind the important role CDCs have played over the decades has been to provide an organizing vehicle for community aspirations to become real through catalyzing public, private and community resources, whether for housing, economic development,or community development. Creating a new organizational structures to play this role was important because of the disinvestment, neglect, and lack of knowledge about low-income communities by key institutions.

So, what are the important roles for CDCsin the 21st century? What problems are they needed to solve? What old and new CDC capacities are needed to play these roles? I think making this case would bolster the argument in the article that CDCs are vital for the economic recovery of low-income communities.

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