In 2018, The Community Innovation Network worked closely with the Cleveland Foundation to develop the Host Guide and the Facilitator’s Guide for Common Ground. We trained over 200 facilitators and hosts of common ground across the county. “The Cleveland Foundation’s day of community conversation couldn’t have succeeded without the help of the Community Innovation Network team. The Network helped us build a flexible conversation infrastructure that was adaptable across many different topics and, in partnership with Neighborhood Connections, presented a series of facilitation trainings free to the community that prepared over 200 residents to have stronger, more fruitful conversations on that day.” Stephanie Hicks Thompson, Marketing & Communications Officer, Cleveland Foundation
Effective Neighboring Across Difference, Participatory Action Research
We partner with the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities (NIMC) to lead Participatory Action Research (PAR) through the Cleveland Effective Neighboring Project. 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.
Public Space for the People
In 2018, with support from the St. Luke’s Foundation, we conducted a meta-analysis to determine the cultural drivers of public space use, and developed recommendations for promoting access to public spaces for people of color in the Woodland Hills, Mt. Pleasant, and Buckeye Neighborhoods of Cleveland.
In 2018, the Community Innovation Network is proud to partner with the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) to support the advancement, evaluation, and continuous improvement of (CNPs) Racial Equity and Inclusion (REI) efforts. Going beyond simply measuring the diversity of participation, this work includes the development of measures to see if CNP and other community change organizations’ efforts are changing operating culture and reducing disparities across neighborhoods.
The Community Innovation Network worked closely facilitated the work of the Support for Artists Planning Team, a group of 14 individual artists in Cuyahoga County, to develop a recommended approach for Cuyahoga Arts and Culture's support for individual artists. These recommendations put the region's race relations issues front and center, and work to provide a framework for public agencies to lead equitable funding practices.
Asset-mapping is a valuable tool for mobilizing a community around its strengths, for organizational community planning, and for developing community partnerships. In 2016, the Community Innovation Network partnered with the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging to conduct a participatory asset mapping project. Learn more about the project.
Heather Lenz, M.A.
Assistant Director, Community Innovation Network
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
Case Western Reserve University