The first census of U.S. community-based development organizations in over 20 years reveals some unexpectedly positive news

The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) recently released the results of the first Census of Community-Based Development Organizations in almost 20 years.

NACEDA hired the Urban Institute to conduct the census survey and analyze the results.

On October 23, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia, nearly 200 NACEDA Summit participants came together to explore the results.

This research raises the visibility of community-based development organizations, analyzes the role they play in their communities, and identifies ways that resource holders and policymakers can support their work.

From the research thus far, NACEDA finds:

  • The research affirms much of what we had hoped to discover about the field’s real estate production and related activities.
  • Social services and advocacy are more prevalent than we had anticipated.
  • The field’s human capital has historically been a strength, but challenges will become more acute and inequitable in the coming years.
  • Community-based development organizations’ mix of activities are unique, relative to other nonprofits and private sector firms.
  • The field’s finances have been brought into the light for the first time, revealing a larger and more positive story than expected.

The Federal Government offers very few programs that uniquely support these organizations, despite their notable activities, production, and connection to marginalized communities.

Resources accumulate among the largest organizations, an inequitable dynamic that is particularly concerning for a field that represents people and places shaped by chronic underinvestment.

Society relies on community-based development organizations’ connection to marginalized communities but does not adequately support them, leaving tremendous unrealized potential for increased public good and advances in racial equity at the local level.

Photo of children playing in Atlanta, Georgia park is via Pixabay.

Read the full report for an in-depth understanding of the findings (PDF).

Read this fact sheet for a quick overview of key highlights and essential takeaways (PDF).

You must be logged in to post a comment