American communities today are beset by deep challenges that cry out for civic action. Parents want schools to do a better job of educating our children. Workers want jobs that reward hard work with wages that can sustain our families. Citizens want safe neighborhoods with decent housing. Communities want the benefits of diversity without the fractious divisions that too often accompany it.
MDC now offers a new resource for community change – Building Community by Design, a guidebook with more than 380 pages of resources for community change leaders. For nearly 15 years, MDC has been experimenting with the pragmatic side of overcoming the vast challenges by helping local leaders and organizations find the levers of innovation and change. This new guidebook codifies MDC’s approach and experience. The organization’s work can be described as community-building, leadership development, building social capital, institutional and community change, or capacity-building. MDC draws on all these traditions, and it shares with its proponents a belief that motivated people in trusting relationships are the lifeblood of community, whether that community exists at the scale of a school, a neighborhood, a county, or a state.
MDC’s experience has been that society has many of the tools needed for constructing vigorous, generative, and visionary communities of problem-solvers, for building pools of principled, broad-thinking leaders who can replenish increasingly burdened stocks of social capital.
This guidebook, funded by the Hitachi Foundation, is organized around those approaches, and with each, MDC shares the tools and methods that have worked for the organization and its partners. The result is a rich resource for community change practitioners and leaders.
The extract from the guidebook provides an overview of it for those interested in purchasing the guide or seeking an introduction to MDC’s comprehensive community change work. It is available online free at http://www.mdcinc.org.