Resident-Centered Community Building - What Makes It Different?

In June 2012, forty-one leaders of community building efforts came together to share strategies and discuss lessons they have learned about how to improve conditions in disadvantaged communities. While gatherings like these happen regularly, this one was unusual; it was designed by and for community residents.

Download a FREE e-book of the summary of lessons, conclusions, and suggestions for future work.


The toolkit is a supplement for the Resident-Centered Community Building report. It was created to assist you in engaging residents in your work in a meaningful way that puts residents at the forefront of the work, and helps build long-term, sustainable relationships. It is critical that you first read the Resident-Centered Community Building report prior to utilizing this toolkit.

The community building field has many conferences for foundations and non-profit leaders, but few by and for residents.

with support from Jacobs Family Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, and The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Be sure to check out the attendees and photo gallery from our June 2012 Learning Exchange

Hosted By:Jacobs Center for Neighborhood InnovationAspen Institute

Learning Exchange Goals

Provide the opportunity for residents to share approaches, tools and techniques that advance their learning and leadership in creating change in their own communities.

Provide foundations the opportunity to learn from residents and each other about their roles, strategies, and challenges in supporting place-based work.

Generate and document ways for applying the learning and strengthening resident-led work.

Resident-to-Resident learning

What makes this learning exchange different is that it puts residents and organizers at the center—highlighting their wisdom, stories, and strategies about how to lead and sustain community change efforts.

It will be a place where community leaders can connect to new approaches, new tools, and each other to advance resident-led change.

It will also be a place for foundations to share their strategies, challenges, and questions in their efforts to support place-based work.

The exchange will conclude by brainstorming ways to continue and apply our learning.

As a foundation or resident leader committed to advancing new approaches to community building, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation’s Learning Center is inviting Community Leaders from across the country to join in this opportunity to strengthen grassroots leadership, accelerate community revitalization, and expand the vision of what’s possible.