The Cleveland Community-Building Initiative (CCBI) is an outgrowth of the work of the Cleveland Foundation Commission on Poverty, whose purpose was to develop a strategy for addressing persistent poverty in Cleveland neighborhoods. In 1992, the Commission recommended...
The Cleveland Community-Building Initiative (CCBI) is an outgrowth of the work of the Cleveland Foundation Commission on Poverty, whose purpose was to develop a strategy for addressing persistent poverty in Cleveland neighborhoods. In 1992, the Commission recommended that the City's plan be comprehensive and integrated, tailored to individual neighborhoods, and focused on community assets. In addition, the plan emphasized the importance of involving local residents and other community stake holders in shaping strategies and implementation plans. Finally, the commission specified that the plan be tested in pilot areas and evaluated before attempting to replicate it in other neighborhoods. Five program frameworks were then identified in which activities were to be pursued simultaneously in order to strengthen communities: Health, Investment, Education, Family Development and Human Resource Development (Cleveland Foundation Commission on Poverty, 1992). After the Poverty Commission concluded its work, a group was formed to develop an implementation plan. Four geographic areas were selected for the focus of the new approach. Referred to as "urban villages," these areas included East (Fairfax), Central (King Kennedy Estates), West (Ohio City, portion of Detroit Shoreway), and Mt. Pleasant. A new, independent organization was then created to implement the plan. The Cleveland Community Building Initiative was incorporated as a non-profit entity in September of 1993 and received its 501C3 designation in August of 1994. CCBI is governed by a Board of Trustees, however most activities are coordinated through Village Councils located in each of the four neighborhoods. Each Village Council is comprised of local residents and stake holders who work together with CCBI staff and members of the board to develop action plans that are designed to address the needs of each neighborhood. The purposes of this brief report were two-fold: to assess the development of the village council formation and operation; the identification, analysis and acknowledgment of neighborhood assets; village agenda formation; and the development of action projects.