MACDC believes that community organizing is a core component of community economic development work. CDCs with strong community leaders and highly engaged constituents are able to be more responsive to community needs and better able to create resources and opportunities for affordable housing, small business development, and other community priorities.
We define community organizing as developing community leaders, increasing participation of diverse residents in the creation and implementation of community development strategies and programs, and building power for low income residents and people of color to influence public policy. In 2011 MACDC’s members engaged over 2,000 volunteer community leaders throughout Massachusetts in building stronger neighborhoods.
In order to increase the capacity of our members to do community organizing, MACDC provides the following support:
- The Community Organizers’ Peer Group meets regularly to discuss specific topics identified by participants as well as addressing challenges and sharing best practices. Organizers help to plan and facilitate the sessions to further build their skill base.
- MACDC provides technical assistance in organizing to individual organizers or to entire organizations including one-time consultations and ongoing support. Some examples of technical assistance are work plan development, campaign strategies and evaluating organizing efforts.
- Through the Mel King Institute, MACDC provides a wide range of training in organizing. Past workshops for organizers include Basic Community Organizing in a CDC and Introduction to Popular Education and Building Leaders, Building Communities.
- MACDC partners with other organizations to support broad based community engagement efforts. Currently, we are working closely with LISC to implement their Resilient Communities/Resilient Families program in three Boston neighborhoods and with the Smart Growth Alliance to sponsor the Great Neighborhoods program in five Boston area neighborhoods.
- MACDC provides a vehicle for community residents to get involved in citywide and statewide policy campaigns related to affordable housing, community development, community reinvestment and transportation. We do this with an annual State House Lobby Day and statewide Community Development Conventions, as well as district meetings with legislators, legislative learning sessions for local activists and regular updates and alerts about important policy issues.