Community-based organizations from across America convened at the People & Places Community Conference organized by NACEDA, National CAPACD, NALCAB and National Urban League in Washington, DC on March 4-6, 2015 to share local solutions to poverty, disinvestment and inequality. The event showcased models for advancing opportunity and prosperity in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. More than 100 of the 500 registrants presented community-based solutions at this peer-learning event.
Statement from the organizers of People & Places 2015
The People & Places Community Conference was a platform for the nation’s leading community development practitioner networks to acknowledge our field’s underlying strengths and challenges and to begin to plot the points of an interconnected vision for what our field’s future holds.
There was a pent up energy among participants that said, ‘yes, our field does amazing things, but the communities we serve deserve more.’ We hope and believe the People & Places Conference provided attendees with that platform for peer-learning, sharing, and relationship building.
It was promoted as “the most diverse and inclusive community development conference in a decade.” A conscious decision was made early in planning the People & Places Conference to put four logos on an email along with a date and a place. That was it, understanding that unique people coming from unique places would get distinctive ideas, new approaches, and different solutions. Implicit in that strategy is the frame of race as an asset, that we are stronger together than apart.
Catalyzing and maintaining that positive approach, however, is very difficult and relies on a tremendous amount of trust among organizers. The four host organizations worked for over two years, building to the point where this type of event was even conceivable. And it was not easy.
But we think we have found an approach that will serve our collaboration over the long-term. We respect and value our organizational differences, but constantly ask each other, “What can we do together, that we cannot do separately?”
And the short answer is, a lot. This collaboration is committed to you and to each other.
The first People & Places Conference got very good feedback, both anecdotally and through formal evaluations (yes, we said first). But the conference is only a platform, just a start. A start of what? A movement? Transformation? Change? Honestly, we do not know. Nor does it make a difference what we call it.
But if the people and places you serve deserve and demand more, we are going to work together with you to make it happen, in both big ways and small.
Frank Woodruff Seema Agnani Noel Poyo Cy Richardson
Executive Director Policy Director Executive Director Senior Vice President
NACEDA National CAPACD NALCAB National Urban League