Community Building Initiative: Values and Goals

CBI is a non-traditional community building initiative. It is firmly committed to ensuring that community-level work is guided by residents rather than a “top down” approach where a funder makes decisions for a community. Our vision is that residents will be empowered to change upstream issues and improve the quality of their lives.

Our Values

All of our work depends on an understanding and commitment to our underlying values.
  • Commitment to “the Greater Good”: Building resident capacities and improving community conditions in collaboration with local community members.
  • Residents engagement is not the means for achieving strategic ends, but rather the reason for achieving these ends;
  • Empowered residents are the necessary condition for any effective change in a community’s conditions;
  • Residents must have the authority to define their own needs and community issues;
  • Those who can assist distressed communities have an obligation to do so, without a contrary organizational or personal agenda; and
  • Effective action does not merely involve residents but is the product of empowered residents;
  • Distressed communities deserve the resources its residents can use to improve their conditions.
  • Commitment to strategic action: “Strategic” means primarily focusing on the “upstream” or structural difficulties that contribute to community distress. CBI believes that these issues are often generational and best addressed through building resident capacity and power, then linking to regional efforts to implement a social justice-oriented policy agenda. Working from a resident empowerment framework, CBI believes it can effectively coordinate with other local programs and initiatives while retaining its unique place within larger scale regional efforts. The capacity that is built across residents remains as an asset in the community long after the CBI grant period. This approach differs from the more traditional method of periodically bringing external resources to bear on isolated community problems.

Our Goals

  • Residents are empowered
  • Residents gain capacities to change upstream issues
  • Changes in upstream issues result in improved quality of life

How We Achieve Our Goals​

CBI funds organizations embedded in neighborhoods within their service areas that SJCPF is committed to, and supports, resident policy change efforts. These organizations must have the organizational latitude to advance policy change efforts; an organizational commitment without the ability to act is not consistent with CBI’s change agenda.

CBI coaches guide these organizational leads in partnership with residents through an iterative and intentional transfer of knowledge in three phases:

Phase 1: CBI Integration

The CBI Integration Phase is designed to first explore the management systems of potential grantees to determine the extent to which they are structured to support the integration of CBI values and approach into their organizational mission and practice. The three-month period also enables a shared dialogue regarding the extent to which SJCPF’s community organizing and resident capacity building model is a fit for a potential future grantee.

Phase 2: CBI Project Planning

The CBI Integration Phase is designed to first explore the management systems of potential grantees to determine the extent to which they are structured to support the integration of CBI values and approach into their organizational mission and practice. The three-month period also enables a shared dialogue regarding the extent to which SJCPF’s community organizing and resident capacity building model is a fit for a potential future grantee.

Phase 3: CBI Implementation

When CBI communities are successful in meeting integration, resident engagement, and planning goals, they may be eligible to receive support for up to three years to build community cohesion and resident capacity to implement policy and systems level strategies to address their priority issues. National evidence and learning from CBI projects indicate that there are FOUR key pillars to achieving our goals, and we integrate these pillars into each phase of our community building. They are:

  1. Engagement of community residents
  2. Development of resident leaders
  3. Collaboration among organizational partners
  4. Bridge building with external decision makers​

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