In 2001, Boston’s Mattapan Community Partnership sought help from Philadelphia‘s Germantown Settlement in launching a Community Ambassadors Program. The exchange centered on the development of the Germantown Settlement’s Community Collaboration Board, a 47-member, resident-led governing board that oversees the Settlement’s work. This report describes the exchange and lessons learned by Germantown Settlement. It includes the importance of board elections, resident leadership skills, youth involvement, organizational development and neighborhood capacity to develop a shared agenda, use data and raise funds. The peer match was arranged by Casey’s Making Connections Technical Assistance Resource Center when the Foundation’s initiative was in full swing. 

August 11, 2004

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    How to assure a community governing board is resident-led in practice as well as in theory

  2. 2

    The challenge of achieving consensus among community groups with socio-economic and cultural differences.

  3. 3

    How community groups can approach collaborative decision-making to lessen the competition for resources and funding.

  4. 4

    The importance of relationships, trust and transparency in diffusing conflicts among competing constituencies.

Key Takeaway

It takes time and transparency to create a community governing board with resident leadership.

Creating a resident-led governance structure in a very poor, diverse community requires authentic, demonstrable commitment to strengthening resident leaders, an open decision-making processes and an investment in the governing body to assure long-term sustainability. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations