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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

MACDC Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations

I first learned about collaborative work spaces when I was living in Brooklyn. I vaguely remember that it was a writer's space so I did a quick google search and came to the Brooklyn Writers Space. I remember thinking about how that might be a good resource for entrepreneurs and would like to eventually create my version of a collaborative work space at some point.

One of the United Way's partner organizations is the Boston based Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporation. Their website provides information about the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI): Co-Work, which includes grant funding for collaborative groups. 
I found out about MACDC while attending an event a few years ago and had a chance to interview President Joe Kriesberg. 

I like that MACDC's Theory of Change incorporates rural communities into it's focus. What feedback can you share regarding how the unique needs of rural communities are an important part of community development work?
Community development in rural areas shares the same values and basic elements as community development in urban areas, but it manifest itself differently. Community engagement is harder when people are spread out, and it can be even harder to identify and engage low income people as they are more disperse.

That said, most rural communities have a strong network of existing leaders that can be engaged and smart CDCs find creative ways to engage new leaders.

Rural CDCs are more likely to focus on home repair and of course their housing projects are much smaller – something that can be challenging given the affordable housing system’s preference for scale.  Many rural CDCs are highly focused on economic development given the economic struggles that can be found in much of rural America.

We see our rural members more focused on growing local businesses and supporting entrepreneurs.

Another difference we find is that rural CDCs are often filling the void created by small local governments with little community development capacity. Rural groups often help their towns to raise and administer grants and help construct or even manage community facilities.

With all these differences, however, the same three elements remain: community building, improving the built environment, and help people to transform their lives.

A few years ago I attended a NYSERDA event (link copied below) and am interested to know; is there a comparable organization or state funded initiative that services Massachusetts?

I don't think we have an organization like this, but we do have strong energy programs at our state energy office and Mass Development plays some of the same roles with financing projects, I think.

There is a youth movement called Power Shift that aims to function as a gathering place for the youth climate movement. I'm interested to know of any similar programs and/or initiatives that you may wish to draw attention to including MACDC's Green Community Development movement.

CDCs are committed to environmental sustainability as documented in a report we released a couple of years ago.

MACDC’s big priorities right now are the Community Investment Tax Credit and the Mel King Institute. We may be launching an effort around community development and health later this year.

How did the relationship with the LISC come about and what kinds of outcomes are MACDC and LISC looking to create through the classes offered at the Mel King Institute? 

MACDC and LISC have been close partners for 20 years or more – long before I arrived so I’m not sure how it started.  The major outcomes we hope to achieve long term is (1) stronger, better trained CD staff; (2) younger more diverse workforce; (3) more and better partnerships among CDCs and between CDCs and other stakeholders; (4) better community level outcomes due to higher CDC production.

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