Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities


Poverty is touching more lives and penetrating more communities than ever. This collection of essays examines what we can learn from the history of community development and provides dozens of innovative ideas for working with new partners, creating new financing tools, and leveraging new technologies to bring opportunities to America’s struggling communities.

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Elizabeth A. Duke: Foreword: Building Sustainable Communities

PEOPLE AND PLACES At one time, policy discussions revolved around whether community development was Read More

Alexander Von Hoffman: The Past, Present, and Future of Community Development in the United States

For more than a century, American reformers have struggled to remedy the problems of poverty in the Read More

Alan Berube: The Continuing Evolution of American Poverty and Its Implications for Community Development

The Gospel according to Matthew quotes Jesus as saying to his disciples, “For you have the poor alwaRead More

Eric Belsky and Jennifer Fauth: Crossing Over to an Improved Era of Community Development

The field of community development is at an inflection point, poised to achieve scale, impact, and iRead More

Shaun Donovan, Arne Duncan and Kathleen Sebelius: Fighting Poverty through Community Development

The Great Recession forced families and communities to confront the worst economic collapse most of Read More

Angela Glover Blackwell: America’s Tomorrow: Race, Place, and the Equity Agenda

The quintessential promise of America is that through hard work, anyone born poor can succeed. The aRead More

Angela Blanchard: People Transforming Communities. For Good.

Neighborhood Centers, Inc., has a long and rich history in community development, beginning with ourRead More

Antony Bugg-Levine: Future of Community Development: How CDFIs Can Best Ride the Impact Investing Wave

Think of the community development finance industry as a small boat with an outboard motor. For fourRead More

Cynthia M Duncan: Community Development in Rural America: Collaborative, Regional, and Comprehensive

More than 59 million people live in rural America, and nearly 9 million, or 18 percent, are living iRead More

Shirley Franklin and David Edwards: It Takes a Neighborhood: Purpose Built Communities and Neighborhood Transformation

About 70 percent of prisoners in New York State come from eight neighborhoods in New York City. ThesRead More

Paul Grogan: The Future of Community Development

This volume offers a series of views on the future of community development. The future entails deveRead More

Ben Hecht: From Community to Prosperity

“Past performance should not be seen as an indicator of future success.” Anyone who has ever had to Read More

Ted Howard: Owning Your Own Job Is a Beautiful Thing: Community Wealth Building in Cleveland, Ohio

In September 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau released new statistics about poverty in the United StatesRead More

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey: Why Health, Poverty, and Community Development Are Inseparable

For 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care for alRead More

Clara Miller: The World Has Changed and So Must We

A RUDE AWAKENING Like other American foundations, the F. B. Heron Foundation has for years focused oRead More

Sister Lillian Murphy and Janet Falk: Getting to Scale: The Need for a New Model in Housing and Community Development

Housing is a key component in the history of community development. Although there are many calls toRead More

Mark A. Pinsky: What Problem Are We Trying to Solve?

What is the problem that community development was created to solve? What is the problem it is solviRead More

John Robert Smith and Allison Brooks: Transit-Oriented Development Is Good Community Development

The steady dispersion of people and jobs across core cities, suburbs, and exurbs has contributed to Read More

Jennifer Tescher: Household and Community Financial Stability: Essential and Interconnected

Financial services are the plumbing of our financial lives. They are the critical infrastructure thaRead More

Nancy E. Adler: Assessing Health Effects of Community Development

Although health is a major topic of U.S. policy debates, the focus has not been on health policy butRead More

Xavier de Souza Briggs and J. Phillip Thompson: Deep Democracy Is Not Meetings that Last Forever: Community Development Next

Community development has long been part industry, part social movement. At its core is an idea thatRead More

Mark Calabria: Rules, Not Resources

Community development policy, at least at the federal level, has continued to approach poverty as ifRead More

Peter Edelman: Our History with Concentrated Poverty

American poverty has many faces. The poor are elderly and young, families and single individuals, meRead More

Ingrid Gould Ellen: Crime and Community Development

Community development has traditionally focused on investments in housing, commercial revitalizationRead More

Gabriella Conti and James J. Heckman: Early Childhood Development: Creating Healthy Communities with Greater Efficiency and Effectiveness

Healthy communities are catalysts for personal health and economic success. Creating healthy communiRead More

James M. Radner and Jack P. Shonkoff: Mobilizing Science to Reduce Intergenerational Poverty

The proposition that local communities can generate innovative strategies to rise out of poverty hasRead More

Ellen Seidman: Integration and Innovation in a Time of Stress: Doing the Best for People and Place

Over the past decade, amid bubble and bust, community development has undergone a subtle but importaRead More

David Erickson, Ian Galloway and Naomi Cytron: Routinizing the Extraordinary

It is hard not to be inspired by the community-revitalizing work highlighted in this book. Geoffrey Read More

Nancy O. Andrews and Nicolas Retsinas: Inflection Point: New Vision, New Strategy, New Organization

What does it cost to build a great society? More pointedly, what does it cost to lose a great societRead More

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About The Project

Investing in What Works for America’s Communities is a joint project of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund.

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The views expressed in this book and on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Federal Reserve System, or the Low Income Investment Fund.

Tell Us What Works

The ideas in Investing in What Works for America’s Communities are just a start. We want to hear about what’s working in your community. Tell us about innovative ideas for addressing poverty and share examples of people and places that inspire you. We want to share these ideas and spark conversation about how to create opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Tell Us What Works

Funding for this project was generously provided to the Low Income Investment Fund by the Citi Foundation.