Community Change

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Highlighted Documents

Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building Maggie Potapchuk and Sally A. Leiderman, Contributing Writers; Donna Bivens and Barbara Major, January 2005

Looking Back: Project Change From 1991-2005 Sally A. Leiderman and Mark Patrick George, April 2005

Communities for All Ages Lessons Learned Nancy Henkin, Ph.D., Corita Brown and Sally A. Leiderman, June 2012


Whether the work is called system reform, comprehensive community initiatives, place-based grantmaking, attention to collective impact or efforts to address “wicked problems,” over the past 28 years, CAPD has helped to design and implement, or helped to describe and assess, multiple efforts to tackle complex and deep-seated issues in ways that could lead to measurable improvement in the lives of children, families, neighborhoods, cities and states.

The efforts tend to share several features:

  • Efforts to strengthen and activate existing and emergent leadership
  • Population (race/ethnicity, country of origin, age, gender) explicit goals and strategies, along with multi-racial, intergenerational and other more universal strategies
  • Attention to messaging, alliance and movement building
  • Customized data tracking and assessment 

Our support, whether planning, design, intermediary support or evaluation, also tends to share several features, including:

  • Explicit attention to racialized outcomes and markers of progress
  • Capacity building where requested and possible 
  • Participatory design and attention to power dynamics in the processes of the work as well as in creation of markers of progress or outcome indicators (e.g. what constitutes success and who says so, based on what types of evidence?)
  • A focus on building on research where research can provide direction, innovation where needed, and attention to knowing the difference, and
  • Capacity building where requested and possible
  • Scaling with fidelity and institutionalization of effective practices, where possible
  • Consideration of how an outsider partnering with, or bringing resources to, a community will end that partnership or resources - that is, consideration of an effort’s phase-out and legacy - from its beginning

Each of our experiences has added to our own learning about the issues above. For example, our work to design and implement a $50,000,000 Children’s Initiative in the 1990’s taught us a lot about institutionalizing system reform and what markers of progress that predict effective system reform look like. Our more recent service as a thought partner, and later evaluator of the Communities for All Ages Initiative taught us a lot about working with community groups to create their own theories of change and logic models, and of the power of intergenerational work. Working with and assessing multiple cohorts of  three different values based leadership development efforts - Healing the Heart of Diversity, the Community Leadership Program in New Haven and the Ambassadors program of Americans for Indian Opportunities - helped us understand common indicators of progress along a path of personal transformation that leads to social change.  

More generally, we have gained a sense of what might be structural in community change work, and what might be idiosyncratic to a particular group and place. We look forward to deepening that understanding as we continue to learn from the opportunities before us.


Publications and Presentations 

Measuring Community Change: How do We Know it When We See It? Carolyne Abdullah, Director of Community Assistance, Everyday Democracy; Sally Leiderman, President, CAPD, August 2010

15 Tools for Creating Healthy, Productive Interracial/Multicultural Communities: A Community Builder's Tool Kit John Maguire, Sally A. Leiderman and John Egerton, July 2004 

Building Partnerships With College Campuses: Community Perspectives Sally A. Leiderman, Andrew Furco, Jennifer Zapf and Megan Goss, July 2004

Building Partnerships With College Campuses: Community Perspectives: A Monograph Sally A. Leiderman, Andrew Furco, Jennifer Zapf and Megan Goss, July 2004

Training for Racial Equity and Inclusion Ilana Shapiro, Ph.D., The Aspen Institute, 2002

Applying CAPD’s School Readiness Approach In Work With Communities In Connecticut S.A. Stephens, December 1999

New Models Of Community-Foundation Partnerships: Lessons from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Pre-Birth Through Age Three Initiative S.A. Stephens and Sally A. Leiderman, September 1999

Some Issues To Consider In Results-Based Contracting With Service Providers S.A. Stephens, September 1999

Improving Outcomes for Young Children, Families and Communities: Lessons Learned Wendy C. Wolf and Sally A. Leiderman, March 1997