Community Development Investment Review

September 2017

Building on What Works: Cross Sector Community Development - Volume 12, Issue 1

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Investing in What Works for America’s Communities: Essays on People, Place & Purpose, a book jointly published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) in 2012. What Works brought together over forty authors from across sectors and disciplines to explore the past, present, and future of community development. Despite their varied expertise and backgrounds, many of the authors made similar calls to action for cross-sector approaches that focus on the integration of both people- and place-based interventions. What Works gave rise to three subsequent books and, collectively, the series has sparked new dialogue and partnerships across the country, challenging readers to be bold and ambitious in upending the status quo and reimagining how our nation can foster opportunity for all.

This issue of the Community Development Investment Review celebrates and builds on the themes of What Works and explores innovations and lessons learned from cross-sector practice across a range of issues. The first section begins with reflections from some of the original authors and early adopters of What Works. It then examines two place-based, multi-site initiatives designed to strengthen collaborative leadership and effect systems change and also highlights innovative approaches from across the country, such as addressing displacement in LA’s Little Tokyo, supporting people in reentry from prison, seeding innovation in rural Maine, and the new frontier of healthy communities efforts.

The second section of this issue presents case study profiles of “community quarterbacks” from the Partners in Progress (PIP) initiative, a joint effort between the Citi Foundation and LIIF to provide flexible support and technical assistance to 14 community-based organizations. PIP was a direct outgrowth of the community quarterback concept introduced in What Works, and the Citi Foundation played a pivotal role in both supporting LIIF’s involvement in the book and the subsequent implementation of the initiative. The case study profiles provide concrete examples of how community quarterbacks are working to marshal resources, build trust with residents, and break down silos—offering hard-won lessons learned for others in the field.

In the long arc of social change, five years may feel like a trifling milestone, yet the community development field has made important strides in that time and has invited many new partners to the table. Collaboration is messy, difficult, and not for the faint of heart, but challenging the status quo requires nothing less. Carol Naughton, President of Purpose Built Communities, sums it up in her essay in this issue by saying, “It is easy to do more of the same, and it can be uncomfortable to question the systems that have created the oppression that leads to chronic poverty… Leaders must be willing to endure, listen, and work through or around resistance.”

I hope this issue of the Review inspires you to endure in the face of challenging times and serves as a reminder that much can be accomplished when we work together, even in the span of just five years.

From the Preface by Laura Choi, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Read the full issue (pdf, 1.07 mb)

Table of Contents

The What Works Book Sparked an Ongoing Conversation about Better Interventions for Low-Income Communities

Explores the history and conceptual framework of the Community Quarterback model and looks ahead to its future evolution.

A Hole in Our Vision: Race, Gender and Justice in Community Development

Explores the role of racial and gender equity in an expanded vision for the community development field.

Reflecting on What Works: Disruptive Leaders Are Essential

Leaders in the social sector must be willing to be disruptive to accelerate change in struggling neighborhoods.

How Collaboration Drives Community Development Innovation in Los Angeles

How can local government be a champion for cross-sector collaboration and improve its affordable housing landscape?

Building on the Ambitions and Aspirations of Newcomers

In this interview, Angela Blanchard, President of BakerRipley (formerly Neighborhood Centers Inc.) shares her reflections on the past five years since the publication of What Works and her outlook for the future.

Sparking Change in New England’s Smaller Cities: Lessons from Early Rounds of the Working Cities Challenge

Shares what it takes for cities to lead collaboratively, engage community members, inform decisions with data, and change systems to better promote opportunities for their residents.

The SPARCC Initiative: Fostering Racial Equity, Health, and Climate Resilience in the Built Environment

Learn why three national foundations came together to support collaborative leadership and foster systems change to promote racial equity, health, and climate resilience.

Sustainable Little Tokyo: Resisting Gentrification and Displacement Through Holistic Community Engagement and Development

Learn how a historic neighborhood can preserve its cultural heritage and resist gentrification and displacement, while still being open to community change.

Rural CDFIs Give Voice to a Brighter Future in Rural Regions

Explores the nuances of rural community development and the role of CDFIs in expanding opportunity and strengthening systems in rural regions.

The Role of Community Development in Supporting People in Reentry from Prison

Describes the opportunity for the community development and public safety fields to partner in developing holistic reentry solutions.

The Evolution and Future of the Healthy Communities Movement

Describes the history, progress, and future implications of the Healthy Communities movement.

Building on What Works and Investing in Progress

A reflection on the development and implementation of the Community Quarterback model through the Partners in Progress initiative.

BRIDGE Housing

A case study on BRIDGE Housing Corporation’s experience as a community quarterback in the Portrero neighborhood of San Francisco.


A case study on CASA’s experience as a community quarterback in Langley Park, MD.

Community Solutions

A case study on Community Solution’s experience as a community quarterback in Brownsville, NY.

East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation

A case study on EBALDC’s experience as a community quarterback in Oakland, CA.

Fairfield Community Foundation

A case study on Fairfield Community Foundation’s experience as a community quarterback in Bridgeport, CT.

Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida

A case study on Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida’s experience as a community quarterback in Miami and Hialeah, FL.