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Our Work in Community Change

When neighborhoods have quality schools, accessible job opportunities, reliable transportation and safe places for recreation, young people are better positioned for success in adulthood. Yet millions of children live in high-poverty neighborhoods that lack these critical assets. Here’s how we’re working to change the odds.

Building supportive communities that offer children and adults a range of educational and economic opportunities

High-quality early child care and education are key to healthy development but out of reach for too many kids.

Low-income parents and other adult residents need convenient, ready access to training, education, financial counseling and other services that can help them get jobs to support their families and achieve financial stability.

For many families, housing costs take a significant chunk out of an already meager paycheck, and being forced to move again and again is a reality. Their communities need more housing options that remain affordable for the long term.

Developing local, state and national partnerships to promote policy reform and community change on a broader scale

Changes and innovative approaches to policies and practices in areas such as housing, economic and community development and financing can help revitalize disinvested communities.

Well-established local leadership and a broad range of public and private partners help sustain neighborhood improvements over time.

Universities, hospitals and other anchor institutions rooted in urban areas can help fuel the local economy by supplying jobs for residents and supporting development in surrounding disinvested neighborhoods.

Documenting best practices in community development

The success of children and their parents is intertwined. Programs promoting kids’ health and educational needs must go hand in hand with services for their parents and caregivers, such as job training and financial coaching.

Transforming a neighborhood may involve rehabbing or building new housing on a scale that disrupts a community to ultimately establish safety and stability. Such projects should put people first, lessen the impact of relocation on residents and create a mixed-income community with affordable homes.

Resident involvement and leadership can mean the difference between short-lived and lasting change in a community. They should be actively involved in shaping their neighborhood’s future.

Current Strategies

Evidence2Success

Public systems, schools and communities guiding public investment toward evidence-based programs that improve the growth and development of children and young people.

Atlanta Civic Site

Working to ensure children and families living in several Southside Atlanta neighborhoods — known collectively as Neighborhood Planning Unit V (NPU-V) — have access to the opportunities needed to thrive: good schools, safe and affordable housing, income and careers.

Family-Centered Community Change

A community development strategy promoting healthy development and academic success for kids alongside adult services focused on parenting and financial stability.

Baltimore Civic Site

Building and investing in public, private and community partnerships to improve education, job opportunities, health and neighborhoods for Baltimore City’s youth and families.

Related Past Initiatives

Plain Talk

Launched in 1993, Plain Talk demonstrated that preventing teen pregnancy requires community-based strategies that mobilize adults who can provide teens with clear and credible messages about sex, the risks of pregnancy and other health issues. Plain Talk's materials and messages have been widely replicated.

Making Connections

Making Connections was Casey’s most significant long-term, multisite effort to demonstrate that poor results can be changed for the better for kids and families in tough neighborhoods. The initiative's core belief that kids do well when their families do well and families do better when they live in supportive communities continues to guide our current two-generation approach.

Responsible Fatherhood and Marriage

Central to Casey's community change approach is the commitment to nurture and sustain strong families, which includes engaged and contributing fathers. Investments to promote responsible fatherhood focused on providing public education, building support networks and conducting research to improve parent involvement.

Rebuilding Communities Initiative

Launched in 1994, this seven-year community-change initiative developed residents who could lead local organizations and build partnerships with funders and other community groups. Many of the lessons and relationships forged during this time paved the way for the emergence of Making Connections.

Faith-Based Initiatives

Faith communities play a trusted role in the social fabric of communities and are a particularly powerful resource for supporting the needs of kids and families. As part of Making Connections, investments advanced the efforts of faith-based organizations primarily focusing on prisoner reentry and children with incarcerated parents.

New Futures

Our first large, community-based project, New Futures was launched in 1988 to test the idea that strong political leadership, interagency collaboration and other innovations could reduce teen pregnancy and school dropout rates and improve school achievement and youth employment rates over a five-year period. What we learned has informed nearly every initiative that has followed.

Related Resources

Providing Food and Jobs for Atlanta Residents During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has left thousands of out-of-work Atlantans struggling to afford food, while relief organizations are forced to operate with a shortage of resources. Read how CARE has led efforts to provide groceries and connect residents to jobs supporting food relief.

Factors Influencing Housing Decisions Among Low-Income Families

How do families with children — and low-income families, in particular — end up living where they do? Sociologists Stefanie DeLuca of Johns Hopkins University and Christine Jang-Trettien of Princeton University set out to answer this very question.

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