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NeighborWorks America and the NeighborWorks network exist because of dedicated community members who work to transform the places they live for the better.

Community Building and Engagement Programs & Services

The NeighborWorks network was created out of the passion and commitment of local residents who wanted to change their communities for the better. We believe resident engagement and leadership are essential for communities to realize their vision for a vibrant and welcoming place for all to call home. Community building and engagement work brings the talents, resources and skills of people in a community together, increasing their collective capacity.

Our Community Building and Engagement program helps our NeighborWorks network member organizations to:

local leaders

inspire and support resident leaders

resident-led associations

invigorate and sustain resident-led associations

community-building activities

effectively sponsor community building activities

Our resident-driven approaches strengthen relationships among neighbors and catalyze positive community change. 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.

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 Award for Resident Leadership.  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.
Resident Leadership and NeighborWorks America
A look at the power and impact of residents engaged in their communities and how NeighborWorks and its network support this important element of community building.

NeighborWorks Week

We faciliate an annual week of service called NeighborWorks Week. This event mobilizes thousands of volunteers, businesspeople, neighbors, friends, and local and national elected and civic leaders in a week of neighborhood change and awareness.

Getting involved in your community

Make a difference in your community by becoming involved with local activities. Good places to start include:

  • Contacting a local nonprofit. Visit our NeighborWorks network directory to find an organization near you.
  • Volunteering. Search for opportunities at your library or online.
  • Participating in local events. Is your community holding a fair, theme day or fundraiser? Offer to help or stop by and talk to the organizers. Also consider events like National Night Out as opportunities to meet your neighbors.
  • Getting involved with a neighborhood association. Attend meetings and participate in your neighborhood association.