The Institute for Comprehensive Community Development was established to advance the field of comprehensive community development and the positive impact it has in urban and rural communities across the country. We do this by:
- Building the capacity of community development practitioners;
- Providing on-site support and technical assistance to comprehensive community development initiatives in cities across the U.S.;
- Applying lessons learned through research and performance evaluation to continually improve on-going comprehensive community development initiatives and to develop new initiatives;
- Supporting the development of public policies which integrate government programs in order to effectively facilitate and support comprehensive community development;
- Communicating broadly the best there is in practice and theory in the field of community development.
The Institute is a place where the community development field can take what it learns from practice and use it as a base from which to provide training, to promote research in comprehensive community development, and to investigate the public policies that would best advance this work locally and nationally. The Institute is the locus where practice and theory meet, and where experimentation and innovation – grounded in real-world experience – flourish.
About the Institute
A Comprehensive Approach. In recent decades, the field of community development has evolved beyond single issue, project-based strategies that addressed a narrow range of community needs, but failed to consider the complex interconnectedness of challenges faced by residents of low income neighborhoods.
Today a new, more holistic approach to community development has emerged. This model uses deep and abiding citizen engagement to address a spectrum of inter-connected needs. Residents and leaders envision a better future; create a definitive plan to accomplish that vision; and recruit local agencies, organizations and institutions into a collaborative partnership that integrates programs and services to improve the quality of life within the community.
A Unique Opportunity to Advance Comprehensive Community Development. Too many of our neighborhoods, having made substantial progress over the last twenty years, are sliding back under the weight of home foreclosures, business failures, and job losses. They need help, and soon, if decades of hard-won gains are not be washed away. So today there is a pressing need-but also a unique opportunity-to advance the state of comprehensive community development in more locations, with deeper effectiveness, than ever before. This opportunity is caused by the intersection of two phenomena:
- A growing body of evidence and a track record of proven success indicate that comprehensive community development is the best approach to reimagining and revitalizing urban neighborhoods, and
- Never in our lifetime has there been such a large volume of enthusiastically active citizens eager to bring change to where they live and, in doing so, bring change to America.
The LISC Model. LISC's first and largest comprehensive community development effort launched in Chicago in 2003. Since then, LISC has expanded the Sustainable Communities program to 20 additional cities across the country.
By interweaving the different but essential capabilities of local government, faith-based groups, charitable foundations and grassroots organizations, this pioneering effort to plan and implement comprehensive community development is delivering results on a large scale. In the areas of housing, education, economic development, jobs, sports, and more, community-based lead agencies and their partners are transforming neighborhoods into new communities that offer hope, opportunity and a better quality of life. The network and relationships serve as a platform for investment in an impressive array of projects and programs, and leverage literally billions of dollars of additional investment by the public and private sectors.
Coupling the community development skills and strategic thinking found in the LISC brand of comprehensive community development with the dedication, enthusiasm, and organizing acumen of our nation's new activists presents a stunning opportunity to advance the field of comprehensive community development and its positive impact in these cities and in other urban and rural communities across the U.S.
Who We Serve
The Institute serves those who are interested in the practice and theory of community development in our nation's urban and rural centers. It offers a range of programs and services to train, educate and inform community development practitioners, funders, and policy makers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. These include:
- Current and prospective community development practitioners;
- Foundation executives and public agency officials;
- Lenders, financial industry executives, and other private sector decision-makers;
- Others interested in the field of comprehensive community development.