In recent years, community building has emerged as a powerful, comprehensive approach to neighborhood improvement. Increasing numbers of national and local organizations use community building to describe the ways in which they work to improve outcomes for children and families in low-wealth neighborhoods. As a local and national technical assistance provider and resource to the field, the Urban Strategies Council (the Council) set out to conduct a limited scan of the national organizations providing programs and services to support community building practitioners.
In early 1999, the Council surveyed a dozen national organizations involved in community building support to identify the core strategies they employ to support practitioners and the development of the field. We also asked about the target populations for their supports and services. The twelve organizations were not selected through scientific sampling methods and are certainly not a representative sample; rather, they include organizations known to us and engaged in work that they identify as community building.
This report presents the findings of the scan. The report begins with a brief review of community building definitions. It then presents a summary of the methodology used to conduct the scan. It continues with a review of our findings about strategies used by the responding organizations and the target populations that are the focus of their work. The report concludes with implications we draw from this limited scan and a discussion of possible next steps for the field along this line of inquiry.