Community Democracy in Action

Following are some examples of our collaborations and supports to these community change strategies.

The central thrust of the Ford Foundation in Detroit is closely aligned with the fundamental mission and purpose of Community Democracy Workshop (CDW). CDW Senior Fellow and Managing Director Garland Yates is consulting in support of the Foundation’s efforts to examine the premise that an adequately supported Resident-Centered Civic Engagement strategy can result in a more robust and inclusive Post-Financial Management recovery process in Detroit.


With the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a supporting partner, CDW is working on a methodology and strategy as well as tools for developing a cadre of Senior Community Democracy Fellows dedicated to coaching and mentoring future generations of community democracy practitioners.


CDW helped the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF) in 2015 to assess the potential for building institutional and community partnerships in Central Little Rock neighborhoods that embrace the centrality of an authentic resident leadership voice as a core element in the neighborhood revitalization process. CDW also supported local WRF grantees in Jonesboro and Springdale, Arkansas as they strive to develop local approaches that embody authentic resident engagement strategies.


CDW is working with the Learning and Evaluation Department of The California Endowment to research and increase both knowledge and application of community democracy practices in local communities throughout California. For example, CDW is coaching, mentoring and helping build connections with Pillars of the Community, an almost entirely volunteer organization grounded in Islamic faith, committed to embracing and celebrating the historic, rich and diverse culture of South East San Diego. Pillars strive to counter the criminalization of the community through community organizing, leadership development and strategic partnerships. As one of the only organizations in South East San Diego, Pillars role as a staging ground for civic engagement is growing with vitality.


CDW is collaborating with the Kettering Foundation to explore the links between philanthropy and community democracy.


cdw-workshop-participantsA CDW Summer 2015 National Meeting was hosted and supported by the Ford Family Foundation in Roseburg, Oregon. CDW’s national meetings bring together community democracy practitioners from communities across the country with philanthropy to jointly identify and solve problems at the intersection of supporting and practicing community democracy. The national meetings also serve to refine CDW’s directions and priorities.


CDW Senior Fellow and Co-Director Peter H Pennekamp is in the second year of helping the California Community College Research and Planning Group (RP Group) think through the role of community engagement in improving student success, and the structural questions both for colleges and communities resulting from that consideration.


In partnership with Philanthropy Northwest, CDW led a workshop with Washington State Community Foundations designed to sharpen their knowledge about why and how to engage more with residents as part of their program development and grantmaking processes, particularly in the areas of community building and community change.

Check out our full Activities Report 2015