For the past fifty years, community economic development (CED) has played a pivotal role in addressing the economic challenges of disadvantaged communities. A comprehensive, market-based approach to fighting poverty, driven by the residents of these communities, CED leverages private capital with public resources and community-based know-how to meet basic needs, to stimulate growth, and to create economic opportunity.
In short, it is a tool that enables individuals and communities that may otherwise be at the margins of society to help themselves up the ladder of opportunity to greater levels of self-sufficiency.
The CED industry, including the North Carolina Community Development Initiative since 1991, has a long record of demonstrable success. Local developers, working with statewide and national intermediary organizations, have built hundreds of thousands of units of affordable housing, helped to finance countless business ventures, and developed millions of square feet of commercial real estate and community facilities. The CED industry has helped to boost homeownership rates, provided affordable rental housing, facilitated job creation, increased access to necessary goods and services, helped to grow the local tax base, and stimulated wealth and asset creation — all in the most economically distressed communities.
Yet much work remains to be done, especially given the continued difficult economic recovery for some in the wake of the Great Recession.
Residents of economically disadvantaged communities continue to find that housing is more expensive, jobs are more elusive, and the American Dream feels further out of reach. Even more challenging for these communities is obtaining the capital needed to stimulate economic activity. Now more than ever, we need a strong and innovative CED sector to help reverse these trends.
In North Carolina, the Initiative is leading this work through bold and innovative strategies that include providing local communities with access to the capital needed to control and shape their own economic future. Working closely with community-controlled ventures throughout the state, we will continue to invest in the high-impact projects and businesses that have the potential to transform even the most distressed neighborhoods.
In addition to providing critical access to capital, we are offering the vision, thought leadership, and technical assistance needed to enable the CED industry reach scale. Finally, we are promoting public policies that will create a context in which local communities have a fair shot at building inclusive and sustainable economies.
We are leading with a business model for community transformation.
In all of our work, we are committed to excellence, integrity, transparency, inclusion, and impact. Visit our Resources page to learn more. We invite you to join us in this necessary effort to make sure that individuals and communities in our state’s most disadvantaged communities have access to the capital and other resources needed to reach their full potential.