Community Development

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Community Development

Improving life in urban neighborhoods is a daunting task. This work is bigger than any one of us. It demands new levels of collaboration. It requires us to make lots of changes in many different aspects of our approach and strategies. Creating the conditions to support urban neighborhood development requires broad-based efforts involving many different sectors or parts of the community.

A great community development strategy – often referred to as comprehensive collaborative model will involve key community leaders, experts, and representatives of grassroots organizations who value improving neighborhood life. It brings together representatives from community organizations, faith communities, schools, businesses, and other sectors of the community that share a concern about the neighborhood’s problems or have a stake in their solution.

Kevin Russ L.L.C. community development consultants help assist neighborhoods and community residents in identifying their needs, priorities and aspirations in order to navigate the challenging realities of realizing their vision for change through the design and implementation concrete community development strategies.

Attempting to implement a community or neighborhood program or initiative without first knowing what types of programs and why they are important is placing the cart before the horse. Conducting a needs assessment is a systematic process of investigating a population or community to assess the state of current resources such as knowledge, abilities, interests, and approaches pertinent to the focus of the needs assessment such as a concern, aspiration, or intention.

The goal of creating a program assessment plan is to facilitate continuous program level improvement. A program level outcomes assessment plan provides your organization with a clear understanding of how their programs are assessed (e.g. who is going to do what, when, how) with the ultimate goal to foster student learning. Program Assessment is a systematic and ongoing method of gathering, analyzing and using information from various sources about your programs and their current or intended goals and outcomes.

Conducting an organizational readiness assessment gives you the knowledge and assurance that your company’s proposed endeavor will be successful if you decide to go ahead and do it. It can also save your organization’s reputation by allowing you to avoid a potentially high profile failure for engaging in a project you were not ready to complete. It is an official measurement of the preparedness of your company to undergo a major change or take on a huge new project. You don’t want to jump into a big change or project without knowing if your company has the resources to accomplish it effectively.

Managing change in community development tough, but part of the problem is that there is little agreement on what factors most influence community and neighborhood transformation initiatives. Ask five organizations or leaders of organizations in a community to name the one factor critical for the success of community initiatives, and you’ll probably get five different answers. That’s because each stakeholder looks at an initiative from his or her viewpoint and, based on personal experience, focuses on different success factors. A Change Management Audit can provide a systematic process for preparing and supporting individuals, communities, and organizations in making top-to-bottom organization changes regarding your community development initiative.

We allow you to enter international waters without having to worry about making a mistake, as we use our international experience.

Every community has a tremendous supply of assets and resources that can be used to build the community and solve problems, and the asset mapping helps to identify them. A map or inventory of the resources, skills and talents of individuals, associations and organizations that lie in your community or neighborhood is an excellent starting point to discover and assemble the links between the different parts of the community, associations and agencies.

This allows us to specialize in all dimensions of trades and stocks, because we have a specialist within the team for every scenario.

A focus group provides insightful understanding of complex issues and situations which cannot be gathered from standard multiple choice surveys or large public meetings. Focus groups provide an opportunity for individuals to express their views in detail, to hear the opinions of others and to collectively develop resolutions to problems. Both technical and anecdotal information can be presented and debated which can lead to creative problem-solving and broad community support.

Public forums and listening sessions are a valuable resource in upholding open lines of communication with the public. Citizen participation in community projects can help identify and solve problems. This section explains how community leaders can implement public forums and listening sessions into community building and use the results to shape their projects.

Distinguishing between individual needs and the wider needs of the community is important in the planning and provision of local community and neighborhood services. If these needs are ignored then there is a danger of a top-down approach to providing  services, which relies too heavily on what a few people perceive to be the needs of the population rather than what they actually are. A straightforward way to estimate the needs of a community or neighborhood is to simply ask residents their opinions about the issues and problems they are dealing with by conducting a community assessment.

When community groups want to take action, influence policy, change things around, or shake things up, a community survey is an effective way to find out what people are thinking and how they feel. Community surveys allow people to gather information about local attitudes and opinions regarding precisely defined issues, problems or opportunities.

Participant observation, for many years, has been a hallmark of both anthropological and sociological studies. In recent years, the field of community development has seen an increase in the number of qualitative studies that include participant observation as a way to collect information. Put simply, obtaining information from a community resident who is in a position to know the community as a whole, or the particular portion you are interested in can be an assets because that community resident can garner trust and information from the group you want more information about, or a member of the target audience.

More and more, organizing groups are learning to build alliances across lines of race, ethnicity, class, and age group, recognizing the greater strength those alliances can bring to communities. Community Organizing covers a series of activities at the community level aimed at bringing about desired improvement in the social well being of individuals, groups and neighborhoods through  innovation that wouldn’t occur from outside of the community.

An important function of planning is to engage citizens in the process of developing a vision for how they want their community and its surrounding region to evolve over time, what attributes are important to protect, and where new development should be encouraged. The success of this process depends on listening, discovering shared values, and recognizing how the parts of a neighborhood, a city, or a region relate to one another and contribute to its overall vitality.

The coordination of housing, construction of public facilities and extension of public services are at the core of a community’s economic viability and quality of life. Community economic development helps build residents’ capacity to take control of their own economic futures. The purpose of an economic development strategy is to provide direction for public decision makers in making effective use of resources to increase local revenues and economic benefits to residents.

While decisions made by traditional community leaders can have significant community impact, there is potential for those decisions to have an even greater impact when residents are involved. “The challenges facing our communities are too complex and too entrenched to be addressed by any one sector, or one organization.

The basis for all fundraising for should be raising funds from individuals through the annual fund. Nationally, contributions from individuals constitute about 75% of all philanthropic giving in the United States. Only 25% of philanthropic giving comes from foundations and corporations.  Therefore, it makes sense for organizations to focus much of their fundraising efforts on individuals within their community who are capable of making charitable contributions.

Grants Management is a fundraising strategy or method with the practice completing an application process for funding provided by an institution such as a government department, corporation, foundation, or trust.

Corporate Sponsorship is a fundraising strategy or method of  obtaining support by a payment by a business to a nonprofit to further the nonprofit’s mission, that is generally recognized by the nonprofit with an acknowledgment that the business has supported the nonprofit’s activities, programs, or special event.

Community-based organizations (CBO) or Community organizations (CO) have been an integral part of community development projects and initiatives for decades. They are indeed the ‘face’ of community empowerment, by virtue of the fundamental principles of democratic processes, building on the social capital, and reliance on community participation. Most commonly, CBOs form, grow and stabilize over the years, during the project period. However, once the funding support ceases, CBOs face multiple challenges in sustaining their functions. As a result, many such organizations die out.  For continued existence, financial self-reliance, and sustainability of the community-based organizations, exploring new avenues for financial support is very important.

Planned giving is fundraising strategy or method sometimes with the practice donating planned gifts in the form of a will or trust and often granted once the individual has passed away.

Major Gifts is a fundraising strategy or method strategically planned series of activities designed to establish and nurture a broad base or donor support that will make a significant and positive impact on your organization.

Community organizing is a tool for mobilizing community residents into taking planned, collective action around issues of shared concern, and to reclaim decision-making power over their own lives. This interactive workshop reviews basic principles and practices of community organizing and uses various activities to explore the root causes and symptoms of economic inequality.

Increasingly, economic development is being recognized as a way for residents and communities to increase their wealth, citizen employment, and community pride, and to build the influence and financial resources needed for other important goals. Economic development can be approached in many different ways and it can all seem overwhelming. This workshop provides you with an understanding of what economic development is and encourages discussion about best practices and lessons learned, and provides the basic tools needed to begin your own successful strategic economic development planning process.

The practice of helping residents work and learn together to identify and address shared problems in order to achieve better outcomes goes by many names: “resident engagement,” “community engagement,” “community empowerment,” “community democracy,” and more. Citizen participation has been a core value and aspiration of the community-building field since the 1960s. It expresses the democratic belief that citizens and consumers have not only the right, but special knowledge that can produce better programs and policies. Organized citizens have come together and acted on their own behalf to change bad policies that impact their lives, their children’s education and their community’s well-being.

Marketing may be an unfamiliar concept for many nonprofit organizations but it’s important that nonprofits realize that marketing is more than the old-fashioned notion of making a sale or securing a donation. In the end, marketing is a way to not only satisfy consumer and donor needs but to spread your message points, share your mission statement, alert the public to events, and share breaking news that’s relevant to your cause.

The idea of communities of practice (CoP) is that learning occurs in social contexts that emerge and evolve when people who have common goals interact as they strive towards those goals. The concept of communities of practice is commonly credited to Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger who originated the construct legitimate peripheral participation in their studies of apprenticeship situations. From their development of legitimate peripheral participation, they created the term “community of practice” to refer to the communities of practitioners into which newcomers would enter and attempt to learn the sociocultural practices of the community.

As community development professionals, we need to make sure to take care of ourselves by seeking opportunities for growth and rejuvenation. One way to take advantage of such opportunities is to participate in community development conferences. KRI Community Development Conferences are targeted, highly-focused learning experiences for participants that support development of 21st century skills. Community Development conferences bring participants into the larger KRI community while providing unique opportunities to extend field learning. Each of KRI’s conferences connects with practitioners and professionals to engage participants in learning industry-related trends and content.

We allow you to enter international waters without having to worry about making a mistake, as we use our international experience.

Community Development Meet-Ups provide information and networking that connects practitioners  with other Community Development experts in the field through its events. The group connects practitioners and experts gives them a chance to know about new trends, opportunities, and gather information about upcoming initiatives.

The importance of  networking shouldn’t be discounted when you are in the midst of a rapidly changing sector.

transforming potential into extraordinary growth and success

We offer individualized, tailor-made solutions to complex questions and challenges. Our researched-based community development consulting, advisory and technical assistance strategies and methods promote long-term community, neighborhood, and resident growth and success. From growth to stability to decline to neighborhood or community renewal we are here for you from beginning to end.

Our experts can help you integrate our paradigm of community development consulting, advisory, technical assistance, and capacity building services into your community, neighborhood, or resident empowerment strategy through services and solutions that include:

  • Community Assessment – A complete audit and review of your community, neighborhood, and resident values, interests, abilities, preferences to identify its unique strengths, areas in need to improvement, and to make recommendations for enhancement so that you can make an informed understanding of the gaps or needs that exist within a community and their impacts.
  • Community Consultation and Advisory – An on/off-site partnership to hone in on and resolve some of your community, neighborhood, and resident issues and challenges and to answer any questions or concerns related to integrating elements of the KRI community development paradigm into your programmatic interventions.
  • Professional Development and Training – An on/off-site partnership providing customized community development training for your community, neighborhood, and resident empowerment program and strategy.
  • Supplementary Support – An on/off-site partnership providing your community, neighborhood, and resident empowerment program and strategy with cutting-edge additional expertise to help fill critical career empowerment gaps and resources.
  • Development of a Community Development System – A customized community, neighborhood, and resident empowerment system that enables you to train, self-consult, and evaluate your own program in a specialized milieu of solutions or services.

comprehensive, individualized, seamless, and community-based services

KRI offers you knowledge, expertise, strategies and skills that you stay on top of a rapidly changing community development environment. KRI offers a unique combination and blend of consulting, advisory, technical assistance, and training that will provide you with a toolbox and array of tools to help you engage new community development opportunities regardless of environment:


  • Almost Middle-Class
  • Invasion Zone
  • Company Towns
  • Working-Class Enclaves
  • Suburban Poverty Pockets
  • Portal Neighborhoods
  • Hinterlands
  • Dormant Communities
  • Transit
  • Gentrifier
  • Isolated

delivering innovative, systematic solutions, and individualized dramatic results

Kevin Russ L.L.C. expertise spans over 75 -years of researched-based, practiced and proven, outcomes-driven, insight, intelligence, data and thought-leadership resulting in a consulting, advisory, technical assistance, and capacity building solutions that are comprehensive, intensive, systematic, seamless, and customized.

Kevin Russ L.L.C. clients have included agencies, corporations, institutions, and organizations that are experiencing challenges and issues with creating growth and sustainability. KRI has and continues to provide cutting-edge solutions and services to small, medium, and large-sized businesses across multiple sectors.

Kevin Russ L.L.C. works with innovative, forward thinking, and change agent individuals, agencies, corporations, institutions, and organizations to create cutting-edge insights and thought-leadership for career empowerment to provide better opportunities for neighborhoods and residents and to transform potential into success.

creating an environment for growth and excellence

KRI provides proven solutions for organizations, communities, neighborhoods, residents and professionals that span the entire community development cycle continuum. KRI consulting, advisory, technical assistance, and capacity building services help you:

  • Engage, involve, and inspire excellence 
  • Raise involvement numbers and percentages in development areas
  • Create comprehensive, strategies, and systems that drive change
  • Design focused programs and intervention that get results
  • Institute strong learning/living environments
  • Implement culturally appropriate, relevant, programs and learning experiences
  • Build sustainable relationships, partnerships, and networks for long-term impact

kevin russ l.l.c. and community development by the #'s

what can we help you with?

To obtain detailed information about specific Kevin Russ L.L.C. community development services please complete the online needs assessment inquiry below. Or contact us at the Kevin Russ L.L.C. office nearest to you.

“Kevin’s knowledge, expertise, and insights were nothing short of tremendous. You were an asset to the project and as a result we have been able to develop a new model for multi-tiered mentoring in our housing developments that fit neatly into our Resident Opportunity strategy. Thanks for taking the time to really understand our objectives and pursue a strategy that made sense for us.” We wouldn’t be where we are without you!”

Alvin Goodwin
President & CEO, Omah Economic Development Corporation (OEDC)

Looking for a dynamic community development consultant to help take your community to the next level? We can help!