Principles of Community Development

We value innovation and entrepreneurship in seeking new ways to respond to the challenges of distressed communities. We are dedicated to a set of principles that:

  • Promote active and representative citizen participation so that community members can meaningfully influence decisions that affect their situation.
  • Engage community members in problem diagnosis so that those affected may adequately understand the causes of their situation.
  • Help community members understand the economic, social, political, environmental, and psychological impact associated with alternative solutions to the problem.
  • Assist community members in designing and implementing a plan to solve agreed upon problems by emphasizing shared leadership and active citizen participation.
  • Seek alternatives to any effort that is likely to adversely affect the disadvantaged segments of a community.
  • Actively work to increase leadership capacity, skills, confidence, and aspirations in the community development process.

The following represents the essential elements of the Center for Community and Economic Development:

Step 1:Identify Problem

Both formal and informal methods may be used to identify community issues, capacities and needs.

Step 2: Identify Stakeholders

Engage the community/organizational stakeholders. Involve citizens who are experiencing the problem/issue.

Step 3: Identify Strategies

Engage community in discussion of issues, and identify possible alternatives to address concerns research alternatives

Step 4: Identify Resources

Select appropriate strategy. Identify local in-kind and cash resources to link with other resources to implement a specific program strategy with the community.

Step 5: Implement

In cooperation with the community implement the strategy with an emphasis on shared leadership and collaboration.

Step 6: Evaluate

Through formative and summative evaluations assess the program impacts on the target audience and others to determine if the stated goals and objectives are met.

Based on the findings modify steps 1-6 to produce the desired outcomes.