Community Development Experience

Generating community results that make a difference

The following are representative examples of CTAC’s work with organizations to improve their communities. Our training and technical assistance helps groups build and maintain a strong, in-house foundation, and implement effective strategies for change.

Moving from Incarceration to Transformation

Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA) is a membership-led organization that works to create opportunities for those who have paid their debt to society. CTAC supported EPOCA over five years with customized technical assistance and small grants.

With CTAC’s assistance in strategic planning, EPOCA’s leaders transformed the organizational structure, strengthening EPOCA’s ability to train effective community organizers. EPOCA then helped lead and win a groundbreaking 6-year statewide campaign to reform the Criminal Offender Record Information System in Massachusetts. In the past, misuse of criminal offender records by employers, schools, and landlords had left individuals and families in poverty and desperation. Thanks to the efforts of EPOCA and its allies, criminal records are no longer such an insurmountable barrier to employment or housing.

Revitalizing an Inner-City Neighborhood

CTAC helped convene and then provided assistance to the nationally acclaimed Dudley Street Neighborhood, which includes several thousand residents and numerous organizations who focus on affordable housing, economic development, and service coordination. This initiative—the broadest-based effort to revitalize an urban neighborhood in the United States—demonstrates the critical role of community leadership in successful revitalization efforts. Due to the collaborative efforts of residents, businesses, and non-profits, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative is the first and only community-based organization in the United States to win the power of eminent domain.

Generating Grassroots Results

Despite the pressing problems confronting low-income organizations, very few support resources are available. CTAC provides technical assistance to low-income, underserved groups focusing on issues of health and welfare, hunger, the environment, and the disabled. Accomplishments range from developing a coalition to advocate effectively for more effective drug programs to organizing a network of human service providers to coordinate a master plan for service delivery in neighborhoods of high need. CTAC also serves as the catalyst for building statewide and regional coalitions.

Providing Models for Promise Neighborhoods and Collective Impact

CTAC has extensive experience in convening organizations from different sectors, collaborating programmatically to breakdown silos, and focusing on common goals and evaluative frameworks. This model became the basis for a partnership, which included Camden, New Jersey, to secure more than $26 million dollars of federal resources for purposes of community improvement.

Putting the Comprehensive in Human Services Collaboration

CTAC’s approach is to increase academic performance by addressing the non-educational needs of children through a system of integrated family support services at school sites. We emphasize reconfiguring services to meet the needs of children and families, rather than just increasing access to existing services. In Albuquerque, NM significant improvements resulted, including increased academic achievement, attendance, family involvement at schools, lower drop-out rates, and a higher rate of early identification of problems.

Building and Developing Communities

This CTAC initiative is tailored to provide community-based organizations with the expertise necessary to conduct development activity from a strengthened position of credibility and professionalism. The project builds proficiency in all phases of the development process, from neighborhood planning, organizing and financial packaging to management and leadership development. The project has assisted more than 40 groups working to (a) preserve and rehab 5,864 units of at-risk housing, (b) produce 1,117 units of new affordable housing, and (c) develop more than 20 businesses owned by people of color.

Connecting Community Organizers

We build the capacity of individual community organizations—and we also connect them to facilitate peer learning and coalition-building. Our annual Leadership Summit gathers community leaders to reflect, analyze, and celebrate their successes with peers from other organizations, cities, and states, as well as to learn from CTAC’s experienced team. The summits provide an opportunity for organizational leaders to examine how they are exercising their leadership and building capacity for community change. These opportunities to network with peers help organizations broaden their perspective on local issues, encourage activism on a regional and national basis, and develop winning strategies.