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.

September 1, 2016

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    How resident engagement was defined in Making Connections to encompass the range and the impact of resident involvement.

  2. 2

    The variety of resident engagement and leadership activities that communities employed throughout the Making Connections initiative.

  3. 3

    The impact of resident engagement and leadership and how to best support both.

  4. 4

    Lessons for funders, practitioners, resident leaders and others interested in strengthening and sustaining investments in resident leadership and engagement.

Key Takeaway

Sustaining Resident Leadership Means Shifting Power to the People

Resident engagement usually needs some clarification — what it is, what it contributes, how to finance it and what has been learned about meaningful rather than symbolic engagement. Ultimately, prioritizing resident leadership is about shifting influence and power to the people, and unless that is recognized and honored, the encouragement of resident voice tends to be superficial and results in resident frustration when nothing really changes. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations