Sustaining Neighborhood Change

The Power of Resident Leadership, Social Networks and Community Mobilization

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

January 2, 2008


True community change has to come from within the communities themselves. This guide documents some of the research, lessons and best practices from Casey’s work in its Making Connections initiative. What follows is a description of the crucial role neighborhood residents played in the community change effort; ways to cultivate, support and measure resident involvement and leadership; and examples of Authentic Demand strategies from Making Connections sites.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Authentic Demand is Essential to Successful Community Change

When residents enjoy strong, positive social networks; are trained and supported to lead; and are mobilized to reach for results on behalf of their families and communities, they possess the capacity to raise their voices and make demands for change. That community capacity to define, articulate and work for results is called Authentic Demand, a phrase that Ralph Smith, executive vice president of the Casey Foundation, uses to describe one of four essential parts of any successful approach to community change. The other parts of the Authentic Demand honeycomb are leadership, engagement and organizing.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations