Community development corporation

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Community development corporation
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Community development corporation (CDC) is a nonprofit, community-based organization focused on revitalizing the areas in which it is located, typically low-income, underserved neighborhoods that have experienced significant disinvestment. CDCs are involved in a variety of activities, including but not limited to development of affordable housing, economic development, childcare, youth development, health care, community organizing[1] .

Role in society

Community development corporations play a critical role in building a society[2]:

  • transform communities that suffered disinvestment as a result of urban renewal, loss of manufacturing jobs and outmigration into communities of choice,
  • anchor capital in the community by developing residential and commercial property, including affordable housing, stores and businesses,
  • compose of community residents, which provides for direct grassroots participation in decision-making,
  • work to enhance community conditions, involving neighborhood organizing.

Criticism and weaknesses

Community development corporations have suffered serious drawbacks during their initial growth years, particularly in the area of business development. Little attention has been given to economic feasibility and soundness of the business ventures selected for financing. This was primarily a result of the existing attitudes within the community development corporation administration as investments were considered more of a social giveaway than a business activity. Major factor in investment decisions was the estimated number of jobs that would be created as a result of the investment. Very little attention was given to the crucial areas of marketing, production, finance and management. As a result, a majority of the investments made during the initial years of community development corporations were fruitless. Many of the funded, newly formed companies have folded due to major weaknesses in areas mentioned above[3]. In addition, CDCs are considered a single voice advocating for neighborhood change, which alone is usually insufficient to induce changes in city policies, private sector or foundation policies[4].

Example of influence

In Indianapolis, neighborhood groups working together to benefit the local society can be traced back to the 1970s, when Near Eastside Community Organization was founded. The organization's goal was to serve as an umbrella group and to support the area's neighborhood. By the late 1990s, as a result of population and job loss, the neighborhood has dramatically declined. This was a turning point for the community development corporation. Design and implementation of resident-driven quality-of-life planning included operations in many different areas: housing, business, education, family strengthening, leadership, neighborhood connections and public safety. Community development corporation attracted more than 100 organizations and the endorsement of over 600 neighborhood residents. The project caught the eye of the Super Bowl Bid Committee, which provided funding toward the implementation of the plan. As a result, community actions led to partnering economic and neighborhood revitalization, bringing the residents and jobs back and turning the community into the community of choice[5].



  1. Weekly F., (2018)
  2. Weekly F., (2018)
  3. Brewerton, F. J., Callahan, E. R., Jr., Gober, R. W., (1978)
  4. Galster G., Levy D., Sawyer N., Temkin K., Walker C., (2005)
  5. Weekly F., (2018)

Author: Gabriela Sambór