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The National Housing Institute supports the individuals and organizations that work to create healthy and thriving communities. NHI is at the intersection of theory, practice and policy in community development. We support the field through our quarterly magazine, Shelterforce, as well as through research, convenings, and our community development blog, Rooflines.
ROOFLINESblogging beyond bricks & mortar
Imagine if Banks Had a Rating Showing Compliance with Consumer Law?
When consumers shop for new cars or other major products, they often like to consult with …
Posted by Josh Silver on 22 May 16
Advocates: Let’s Get These Details Right From the Beginning
Posted 18 May 16Why Should “Community Development” Only Be Urban?
Posted 13 May 16
June 25 · Industry News »
Phillip Henderson was only 38 when he took the helm at the Surdna Foundation seven years ago, becoming Surdna’s second director in what he calls its “modern era.” Henderson came to the family foundation from a career that had been focused on international philanthropy, but he applied many of the lessons he learned fostering civic engagement in post-Communist Europe to Surdna’s domestic grantmaking. Henderson sat down with Shelterforce to talk about aligning program with mission, cross-pollination between programs, and Surdna’s recent launch into the impact investing world. more
May 6 · Industry News »
We first met Darren Walker about 15 years ago while planning an issue on faith-based development. Darren was the chief operating officer of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, the storied community development arm of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. We asked Darren to write an article that was not simply a cheerleader’s promotion of church-based CDCs, but a realistic assessment of the benefits and challenges to an institution embarking on that path.
Darren was optimistic and enthusiastic about the work he was doing at Abyssinian creating hundreds of units of affordable housing in Harlem. But he was pragmatic and realistic also. His article encouraged organizations to temper the enthusiasm necessary to even consider this work with a realistic analysis of an organization’s capacities and a clear-eyed examination of their assumptions about the rewards of creating a CDC.
Darren approached his work enthusiastically, I think, because he had visceral understanding of the challenges low-income folks had and the opportunities that were available to them with the right help. The kind of help that the stability of an affordable home could provide. His understanding came from personal experience that would inform his work wherever it took him, from law school to international finance, from a storefront afterschool program and Abyssinian to the Rockefeller and Ford foundations.
When we sat down with Darren on March 18 to conduct this interview, we were glad to see that enthusiasm, optimism, and pragmatism were as strong as ever as he starts his leadership of one of the world’s largest foundations. more
Redefining Community Development
Takes a close look at comprehensive community initiatives, including those supported by the Annie E. Casey, Clark, Ford, and Surdna Foundations, and their role in empowering poor communities. The report examines how community groups work together toward the common purpose of changing the way their local systems (housing, schools, welfare) work and the way community groups work within those systems.
Rip Rapson is the quintessential mid-westerner: quiet, modest, the last person in the world to toot his own horn. But if you look at what he’s accomplished and the insight he brings to his current work, you’ll get a much better picture of who he is and the challenging, important work he spearheads at the Kresge Foundation. A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to speak with him, trace his experiences and the projects he conceived or championed over the years (some of which we’ve written about, but, not surprisingly, without his name attached to them) and drill into the opportunities and difficulties faced by a large philanthropic organization as it works to integrate its grant making interests with the way real communities operate—as dynamic entities with systems that fully integrate, even if they do so in a seriously dysfunctional way. One interest Kresge has is in arts and culture, and we spent some extra time talking with him about the importance and role of arts and culture in community health and development.