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Advanced Practice 4: Communities Governing For Results

Citizens Engaged in Results-Based Nonprofit Community Development

The Kansas City Community Development Initiative (KCCDI) is a broad-based collaboration dedicated to creating more effective nonprofit community development in low-income neighborhoods of the bi-state Greater Kansas City metropolitan region. KCCDI is a collective nonprofit enterprise involving many collaborations, tied together by common vision, pooled resources, and a focus on governing for results. Through a network of community development corporations (CDCs), KCCDI improves delivery and management of neighborhood development projects (primarily affordable housing, and some commercial and retail development for local jobs) and strengthens community capacity to keep improving. The largest component of KCCDI is its Community Development 2000 program (CD2000), designed to measure and continuously improve how CDCs perform in implementing initiatives, engaging citizens to create projects responsive to neighborhood needs, and building the capacity of CDCs to serve their neighborhoods better. The Greater Kansas City Local Initiative Support Corporation (GKC LISC) is a nonprofit "intermediary" organization that manages CD2000 for a group of local foundations, businesses, and governments who are the local investors in KCCDI. Their local investments leverage national funds raised by the national office of LISC (in New York) and federal funds. Another intermediary that manages other KCCDI programs is the nonprofit Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance.

How Greater Kansas City Nonprofit Community Developers Govern for Results

CD2000 uses a systematic, self-reinforcing approach to improve CDC performance. There are two main governing-for-results cycles (See Figure).

The inner loop focuses on each CDC in the neighborhood-level results-based governance cycle.

This cycle begins when each CDC develops a strategic work plan with targets and milestones. The plan is approved by its board, which includes neighborhood residents, and is revised annually. Plan details are defined and adjusted with resident engagement and then implemented with community input and feedback. CDC monthly internal performance monitoring then measures performance against the targets and milestones. The information from these reports is fed back to the CDC board and staff, helping CDCs learn to adjust services and plans to improve results. The outer loop is a broader regional program investment cycle, determining the performance-based investment made in each CDC from pooled resources overseen by the investor group. This cycle runs in three-year phases, beginning when investors commit funds and set desired phase outcomes. A "performance metric" is then used annually to assess the CDC's performance and capacity by translating desired outcomes and practices into an objective tool that provides criteria to grade each CDC on six major performance dimensions. Each overall grade is associated with a specific eligible funding range, which is a reinforcing link because grades determine the overall scope a CDC can build into in its own CD2000 strategic work plan. CDC internal monthly performance monitoring reports are compiled to create quarterly and annual performance reporting to the Donor Advisory Board (DAB) of the investor group, a Local Advisory Committee (LAC), and the CD2000 management intermediary, GKC LISC. Citizens are engaged in a variety of ways in the neighborhood performance cycle, and their engagement is reinforced by the regional investment cycle through various performance metric requirements, making CD2000 a strong example of community governance for results.

Citizen Roles in Community Improvement

Consistent with Advanced Practice 4, CD2000 exhibits robust citizen engagement in multiple roles, beginning early in the governance cycle, creating community influence on what gets planned, measured and fed back to produce the results that matter. While not all CDCs use the same community engagement approaches noted here, they all engage citizens in a variety of ways. Neighborhood resident board members of all CD2000 CDCs get to review and take part in the board's approval of the CDC's strategic work plan. Some CDCs work with neighborhood associations to engage a broader group of citizens at the front end of strategic planning, using listening sessions where residents participate as stakeholders and issue framers whose visions build a foundation for change and help set the CDC's neighborhood improvement agenda. Residents are also issue framers of neighborhood improvement when they are engaged to define problems and identify solutions as CDCs prepare and adjust plans for specific development projects. Citizens in this phase are advocates for their own neighborhood interests, and some of them may also act as collaborators who forge compromise among different interests to find a consensus solution that enables development to proceed. CDC neighborhood resident board members act as evaluators of progress when they review monthly internal performance reports. Citizens are also collaborator-coproducers in many aspects of neighborhood improvement, from participating in community policing, to preparing ethnic food for community diversity events, to cleaning up neighborhood parks. Finally, robust citizen engagement is supported by the evaluation criteria of CD2000's performance metric. Those evaluations provide a self-reinforcing mechanism to ensure citizen engagement is effective and continuous.

Additional Community Improvement Themes

Consistent with Advanced Practice 4, CD2000 shows strength in all four major community improvement themes, including robust citizen engagement. CD2000 also involves systemic use of performance feedback in decision-making. For example, to improve results and learn over time, the information from CDCs' monthly internal performance monitoring is used for three different performance feedback loops, to adjust (1) implementation actions, (2) project plan details, and (3) targets, milestones and overall strategies. CD2000's performance-based funding links desired results to resources and accountable organizations. Rigorous performance monitoring reinforces CDC efforts toward desired results. By linking funding with performance outcomes, performance metric assessments identify specific performance characteristics telling CDCs what they have to do to improve performance grades and thus protect or enhance future funding. CD2000 and KCCDI also make extensive use of collaborations. At the neighborhood level, CDCs especially collaborate with grassroots organizations such as neighborhood associations as a primary approach to resident outreach and keeping neighborhoods organized to get lasting benefits from development investments. If a neighborhood is lacking a strong grassroots organization, the CDC will work with community members to strengthen a weak one or start a new one. Community safety is a common theme of local collaborations. In one initiative, CDC staff partnered with neighborhood residents, police officers, and code officials to turn a violent drug dealing intersection into a no-tolerance zone. This collaboration led to economic development when H&R Block built its new service center in the neighborhood creating 600 jobs, many of which went to local residents, after the company was convinced of a lasting drop in community crime. The overall KCCDI collaboration includes both private and public organizations, and the mayors of both Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. In this broad collaboration, many local organizations have pooled their investments and attracted matching national funds to create the largest community development fund in the Kansas City area's history. These investments have achieved results such as a 400 percent increase in neighborhood housing production by the CDCs funded by CD2000.

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