Community Development Innovation Forum

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Operating Year:
2008 - present
MACDC, Mel King Institute, Participating CDCs
Building Community Capacity, Leading Community Development
The innovation forum
encourages community
practitioners to
discuss relevant
issues and draft
solutions to improve our
Guided by a belief in the importance of increasing the capacity of the community development field, LISC Boston and the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) created the Community Development Innovation Forum in 2008 to foster robust and thoughtful discussion amongst all stakeholders. In particular, the initiative centers around identifying specific opportunities to advance innovative practices that will enable the field to most effectively respond to changes in the community development environment. The Forum intentionally includes all stakeholders in the field - CDCs, funders, lenders, policy makers, consultants, academics, and other partners - to ensure that our thinking is reflective of the entire field and our solutions have broad support. 
The goals of this effort are two-fold:
1. To be a forum for innovative thinking about the future of the community development field in Massachusetts.
2. To generate practical ideas and strategies that the field can implement to increase its effectiveness and be more responsive to changing community conditions.
The desired outcomes of this Forum are:
1. To articulate the changing nature of community development work and develop a vision of future practice for the field.
2. To identify key opportunities for innovation in the field
3. To organize projects that develop new practices, products, capacities and systems to address today’s social justice and community development challenges.


To focus the Forum’s initial discussion, participants were grouped into one of five Working Groups for Phase I. Consisting of about a dozen members of the community development field each, every Working Group uses a variety of expertise to drive informed thought and discussion on several key topics. The structure is as follows:

Current Progress

After launching in June 2008, the Forum members have continued to meet in both their working groups and as a whole. Phase I of the Innovation Forum concluded in June 2009 with the release of the Phase I report, which can be downloaded in our Innovation Forum Documents section along with other reports and presentations. Forum members are now working on implementing the strategies suggested in the working groups' reports. In 2010, the Innovation Forum merged with the Mel King Institute for Community Building to combine technical assistance and professional development with thought leadership. For more updates, please visit the Innovation Forum News page.

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