The Community Innovation Network (Com-IN) is built on partnership with a broad array of community building experts, nonprofit organizations, researchers, and grassroots community organizers in our network. This page gives some information on our national partners, feel free to reach out to us directly about becoming a partner!
Neighborhood Connections is a nationally recognized community-building program established in 2003, with the mission to “ignite the power of everyday people to create, together, an extraordinary world right where they live.” While the Community Innovation Network works to strengthen the space between institutions and residents, Neighborhood Connections works to grow and strengthen the connections among residents.
Asset-Based Community Development Institute
The Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute is the hub for a global movement which views local assets as the foundation for transformative, sustainable community development. Founded by John McKnight and Jody Kretzman, ABCD Institute focuses on four types of community building: community capacity, participatory research, student engagement, and the development of publications and resources by practitioners. For ABCD faculty and practitioners, the most important asset of any community is the relationships between community members, which can be leveraged to meet needs. By connecting community assets to the larger macro-system in which the community exists, ABCD facilitates communities in driving their own development.
One of the primary practices of ABCD is asset mapping. Asset mapping engages community members to describe their community in terms of relationships and potential, notably asserting that no community or individual is without assets to contribute. ABCD can be, in many ways, viewed as a response to outside disinvestment and systems that see communities-- especially marginalized communities-- as recipients rather than contributors.
Bridge to the Future
Bridge to the Future (BTF) promotes revitalization and regeneration of communities in Israel’s periphery areas, working with both Jewish and Arab groups. Through capacity and peace building interventions, BTF facilitates what they call the “Three Way Partnership” of residents, council, and government. BTF focuses on four work principles: holistic programming, parallel top-down and bottom-up interventions, achieving stayability, and intensive, time-bound interventions.
A fundamental strategy for BTF is use of the GEAR tool, which stands for Governance, Economy, Activism, and Relationships. GEAR is a tool to assist decision-makers and community members in understanding complex change, and has been successfully used in the Israeli communities of Sderot, Beit Shean, Jizr a Zarqa, the Jordan Valley, and a variety of former Soviet Union communities. Using community strength to unlock community potential BTF works with communities to realize lasting transformation.
Facing History and Ourselves
Established in 1999, the Facing History and Ourselves in Cleveland has provided more than 3,143 educators with programs and resources. These teachers reach over 219,100 middle and high school students in 448 public, independent, and religious schools across Ohio. The Community Innovation Network provides support to Facing History and Ourselves and one of their partner schools, Facing History New Tech, to provide workshops and trainings on restorative practices.
National Initiative on Mixed Income Communities
The Cleveland Effective Neighboring Project aims to develop and test strategies to promote “effective neighboring” at the block level in Cleveland neighborhoods. Community Innovation Network has partnered with the National Initiative on Mixed Income Communities.
Associate Professor Mark Joseph, PhD, Founding Director of NIMC, and Assistant Professor Mark Chupp, PhD, Founding Director of the Community Innovation Network, are the lead researchers on the project. They define”effective neighboring” as the process through which neighbors from diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds establish a level of familiarity and shared expectations that enable them to live comfortable together. Out of over fifty diverse blocks throughout Cleveland that were considered, three have been selected to participate as case studies. Deploying the principles of Participatory Action Research, the research team will work collaboratively with block residents to co-design, implement and assess an effective neighboring strategy in each selected block. Ultimately, this project hopes to refine a model for bridging among diverse neighbors and promoting social inclusion in Cleveland neighborhoods and beyond to other cities.
Common Ground is a day of community conversations and shared meals, convened by the Cleveland Foundation and a network of nearly 100 local agencies, businesses, and individuals. In 2017, more than 2,000 people gathered for the first-ever Common Ground event. With forty-two conversations hosted throughout Cuyahoga County, topics ranged from the opioid crisis to the benefits of early childhood education.
Common Ground is not about gathering ideas for funding, but is intended to spark connection and break down barriers. In 2018, Common Ground was held on June 24 and expanded to include Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga Counties. Conversations shared a common theme – “Why does place matter?”
The Community Innovation Network has created a host guide and a facilitator guide. The self-directed guides include specific assistance for structuring meetings, encouraging open dialogue, and creating further opportunities for community building. The Network will also conduct facilitator trainings and provide additional support so hosts and facilitators feel prepared for the event. The result is a strategic, thoughtful process that respects the power of storytelling and fosters the development of relationships across difference.