Elsewhere online
August 10, 2015

Opinion: Let Communities Help Decide Issue Priorities and Programs

In an op-ed in The New York Times, University of California, Berkeley, public policy professor David L. Kirp argues that in order to improve poor neighborhoods, agencies and organizations must involve local residents in determining priorities and programming.

Mr. Kirp points to the Houston nonprofit Neighborhood Centers as a prime example of a strategy that could be implemented across the country. With an annual budget that has grown to $270 million, the organization uses a bottom-up approach involves community meetings and one-on-one interviews with community members to identify issue priorities and existing leaders and then seeks funding from a wide variety of sources based on those conversations.

The group also provides civics education to help local leaders understand how they can participate in the political process to improve their community.