Shelterforce, January 18, 2018: Honing the “scale-up” of community development organizations
Ever since Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty, America has grappled with what lifts people out of poverty and revitalizes troubled communities. One of the strategies that emerged from this effort was the creation of community development organizations.
While the community development field has made significant contributions to improving the well-being of low-income families and communities, at the same time, the movement has fallen short of fulfilling its goal. Too many Americans remain trapped in poverty and too many communities are disenfranchised.
For anyone who is interested in understanding how the community development field has evolved over the last 50 years, how its practitioners have become both more effective and efficient, how it has scaled to achieve greater reach, and how it is adapting, Navigating Community Development: Harnessing Comparative Advantages to Create Strategic Partnerships is an important read. While clearly written for community development practitioners, authors Robert O. Zdenek and Dee Walsh also address other areas such as healthcare, education, and policy—fields that are also vital to improving lives and communities.