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Meeting the Poverty Challenge - Investing in What Works

Submitted by Liz Weaver on July 18, 2016 - 2:56am

'Investing in What Works for America', a web-based resource published by the Low Income Investment Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is a must-read resource for communities dealing with the complex issues of poverty, prosperity, economic and community development. 

In her opening essay, Elizabeth Duke, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System discusses Building Sustainable Communities.   She notes that successfull community development occurs when communities pay attention to both the physical infrastructure of place and  the health and welfare of the citizens living in the community.  By providing examples of communities that have made this link, Elizabeth looks at the connected relationship between economic development and jobs, transportation infrastructure to get to those jobs, housing and the suburbanization of poverty.  She also highlights emerging innovative funding and policy change practices which are supporting and developing low income communities. 

The essay also discusses the notion of community development as an entrepreneurial exercise.  Entreprenuers are often credited with having the following mix of skills:

the ability to spot opportunities no one else sees

the ability to manage complexity

the ability to revamp plans repeatedly

the ability to experiment and fail wisely

the ability to network to create solutions

the ability to unleash generosity and reciprocity

Likewise, community development is the intersection between communities opportunities, the complex development of relationships between people and managing these elements to create effective change. Employing an entrepreneurial skill set in community development practice can lead to better solutions for people and communities. 

The opening essay of Investing in What Works for America sets the context for subsequent essays by academics and practitioners in the book focusing on community development, poverty, prosperity, and the issues that are both challening and transforming communities. 

If you are working in rural community development, in neighbourhood revitalization, in the fields of economic development or health, you will learn valuable lessons from the authors of the essays published in Investing in What Works for America

Here is a resource that includes all the essays from the book.