This report presents insights the Casey Foundation gained after more than a decade of working with residents to achieve better results during Making Connections, the Foundation’s signature community change effort of the 2000s. The report discusses the value of resident engagement and leadership, provides examples of activities and lessons learned and demonstrates the impact those activities had — and can have — in communities.
Sustaining Resident Leadership Means Shifting Power to the People
Findings & Stats
Sustained resident engagement and leadership can transform communities and improve outcomes for individuals, families and organizations.
Neighborhood residents are uniquely positioned to tap into networks of families and friends to assess needs, get the word out and mobilize others.
It is crucial to meet residents where they are in terms of knowledge, experience, location and the support needed for participation.
Resident leadership and training on networking were considered the two most meaningful investments that made residents more effective.
It is crucial to have co-investment in resident engagement from local funders as a way of building commitment to support such activities on a long-term basis.
Statements & Quotations
[Resident engagement] needs to be seen as part of the larger system of change….If you don’t build the capacity of residents to be intimately engaged in the process, you’re dead in the water.
– Dana Jackson Thompson, former site director for Making Connections in Louisville
Although the insights presented here are primarily derived from the Making Connections experience, they are applicable to other initiatives seeking a better understanding of how to engage residents in community revitalization efforts and sustain that engagement over time.
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