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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 & 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 & Engagement program helps NeighborWorks network 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 network 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.

Strengthening the voices and skills of community, resident and volunteer leaders

NeighborWorks America's Community Leadership Institute (CLI) is an annual invitation-only training event that aims to strengthen the voices and skills of community, resident and volunteer leaders.

Community leaders from across the U.S, D.C. and Puerto Rico attend in small teams and attend a full range of courses. Each participating team also creates an action plan for making positive change in their neighborhoods. Each year, NeighborWorks awards more than $200,000 for community based projects born out of the CLI.

Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership

The Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership is named for the Pittsburgh resident, Dorothy Mae Richardson, whose tenacious and visionary work led to the founding of the original Neighborhood Housing Services organization. Our 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. 
Leading Change
The Dorothy Richardson Awards highlight amazing resident leaders.
Resident training
We host an annual Community Leadership Institute

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