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Program Overview

Our Community Building and Engagement (CB&E) program supports local residents’ engagement, leadership and participation in their communities.

Theory of Change

Our programs and services

We offer special support to NeighborWorks organizations that are engaged in resident leadership development, community building, and support for resident-led groups and activities. 

We expect these organizations to have a vision and plan for the change they hope to create; dedicated resources, staff and/or volunteers engaged in the work; and a system for collecting data to track their outcomes and impact.


Our Theory of Change
Our Theory of Change
Resident leadership is the key that enables communities to realize their vision for a vibrant and welcoming place for all to call home. Click here to see examples of the activity across our network to build community, develop leaders and support resident-driven effort. Together these activities help local communities become vibrant and welcoming places for all to call home.
Eboni Boykin Goes to Columbia University
Eboni Boykin Goes to Columbia University
With the help of our member organization Beyond Housing, Eboni Boykin is the first in her family to attend college. Through Beyond Housing's matched savings program, Viking Advantage, she prepared for college costs while also receiving encouragement to apply and attend Columbia University.
New resident leaders in Florida celebrate graduation
New resident leaders in Florida celebrate graduation
Brownsville, FL, resident leaders Dianne Hicks-Rollie (left), Ronnie Edwards and Isabella Rosete celebrate their graduation from the Community Leadership Institute. This event was made possible with help from the Community Building and Engagement program.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Bock for the Miami Herald

NeighborWorks America supports CB&E program members’ work with:
  • Grant resources. We award competitive grants to eligible organizations to enhance the impact of their CB&E efforts.
  • Peer-learning opportunities. Through in-person and virtual connections, we facilitate adoption of effective community engagement practices across the NeighborWorks network.
  • Organizational mentoring. We enhance organizational change efforts by pairing executive directors and senior staff with other comparable organizations in a coaching relationship. 
We also facilitate network-wide support for resident leadership development via:
  • The Community Leadership Institute (CLI).  An annual training event that brings teams of residents together for leadership training and action planning.  Each year, NeighborWorks America awards more than $200,000 for community based projects born out of the CLI.
  • The Dorothy Richardson Awards.  Named for the Pittsburgh resident whose tenacious and visionary work led to the founding of the original Neighborhood Housing Services organization, the award annually recognizes outstanding individual resident leaders working to make change “stick” in their home communities.


For more information, contact: