Equitable Economic Development

Traditional methods of economic development — founded on myths of growth, trickle-down prosperity, and deal-making — have failed to provide access to opportunity for those most in need. Community Allies works with city officials, funders, practitioners, and others who influence policy to identify and implement practices that make real, positive impact. We ask the hard questions about economic development policy, empowering clients to turn from “what we’ve always done” to “what works.” We mine data and examples from around the globe to identify leverage points for economic development that builds prosperity and opportunity for all.

We believe that “if you want to change the narrative, you have to change the narrator.” We work to insure that community development efforts are directed and led from within, training clients in our “Radical Inclusion” engagement model to empower local residents and community groups with the resources and skills they need for self-determination.

Sample projects

The South Fayetteville neighborhood of Fayettteville, Arkansas has a rich cultural history as an African American community and underground railroad site. With rapid development outgrowing the downtown district, Community Allies worked with local elected officials and arts & community organizations on a community-driven revitalization strategy to prevent displacement and benefit existing residents as well as attract new investment.

The South of Downtown neighborhood of Lincoln, Nebraska has long been a welcoming haven for immigrants from around the globe. However, the community is strained by high crime, low achievement rates, and an unstable residential base. Community Allies worked with a team to identify community assets that could be leveraged for economic revitalization, plus strategy for community engagement that would support community-driven process, including creation of a new 501(c)3 community-led economic development agency.