Resident Involvement in Community Change

Karen Walker
January 1, 1999

1
The Experiences
of
Two
Initiatives
Resident
Involvement in
Community
Change:
Karen E. Walker
Bernardine H. Watson
Linda Z. Jucovy

Resident
Involvement in
Community
Change:
Karen E. Walker
Bernardine H. Watson
Linda Z. Jucovy
The Experiences
of
Two
Initiatives
2
Public/Private Ventures is a national nonprofit organization
whose mission is to improve the effectiveness
of social policies, programs and community initiatives,
especially as they affect youth and young
adults. In carrying out this mission, P/PV works with
philanthropies, the public and business sectors, and
nonprofit organizations.
Board of Directors
Siobhan Nicolau, Chair
President
Hispanic Policy Development
Project
Amalia V. Betanzos
President
Wildcat Service Corporation
Yvonne Chan
Principal
Vaughn Learning Center
John J. DiIulio, Jr.
Fox Leadership Professor of
Politics, Religion and Civil
Society
University of Pennsylvania
Alice F. Emerson
Senior Fellow
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Susan Fuhrman
Dean, Graduate School of
Education
University of Pennsylvania
Matthew McGuire
Director of Private Sector
Initiatives
Wildcat Service Corporation
Michael P. Morley
Senior Vice President
Eastman Kodak Company
Jeremy Nowak
Chief Executive Officer
The Reinvestment Fund
Marion Pines
Senior Fellow
Institute for Policy Studies
Johns Hopkins University
Isabel Carter Stewart
National Executive Director
Girls Incorporated
Mitchell Sviridoff
Community Development
Consultant
Marta Tienda
Professor of Sociology
Princeton University
Gary Walker
President
Public/Private Ventures
William Julius Wilson
Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser
University Professor
Harvard University
3
Acknowledgments
There are many people we would like to thank for making
this report possible. Most important are the residents from
both the Community Change for Youth Development
(CCYD) and Plain Talk communities who participated in the
initiatives and generously gave us their time as we conducted
our research. They spoke with us both informally and
through formal interviews, invited us into their communities
and homes, and graciously accepted the presence of
researchers as they went about their community work.
Of course this work would also not have been possible
without the generous financial support of numerous funders.
The Plain Talk research was funded by The Annie E.
Casey Foundation. CCYD is funded by a consortium
including: The Ford Foundation, The Annie E. Casey
Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, The
Commonwealth Fund, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation,
Charles Hayden Foundation, Surdna Foundation, The
Pinkerton Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Altman
Foundation, The Clark Foundation and Merk Family Fund.
We would also like to thank the staff of the lead agencies
who helped manage the initiatives in their communities.
They facilitated our presence in the communities and provided
important information and feedback used throughout
this report. Specifically, those people are: Marta Flores
and Nancy Wallis-Bryant from San Diego; Tom Slattery and
Lisa Corbin Perry from Seattle; Linda Welsh and Kit Abney
from Austin; Tammi Fleming from New Orleans; Cheryl
Boykins and Jemea Smith from Atlanta; Otis Johnson,
Gaye Smith and Rhoney Triplett from Savannah; Bufus
Gammons, Jim Mills and Browning Spence from St.
Petersburg; and Annika Warren and Flora Pariskey from
Hartford.
This report draws on data collected over several years by a
number of on-site research consultants. In Plain Talk, Judy
Harper, Melanie Harrington, Gail Myers and Suzanne
Tedesko conducted ethnographic research in four of the
Plain Talk communities. In CCYD, Ginger Baber, Daniel
Brantley and Pam Smith collected both qualitative and
quantitative data in three of the CCYD communities. P/PV
research staff who interviewed governance group members
and other residents involved in CCYD and Plain Talk included
Cindy Sipe, Laurie Kotloff, Yvonne Butler and Angela
Jernigan. They all contributed their ideas to the question of
resident involvement in community initiatives. For many,
that question was among the most interesting in both initiatives,
and the ideas in this report were developed
through the team discussions we have had over the years.
Many other colleagues at P/PV also contributed their ideas
and insights to the report. Bob Penn, Laurie Kotloff, Gary
Walker, Kathryn Furano and Corina Chavez all read early
drafts of the report and made useful comments. Tamara
Wilson was indispensable in making revisions to and
keeping track of various versions of the manuscript.
Maxine Sherman guided the report through the editing
and publishing process with her customary and careful
attention to detail.
4
5
Contents
Introduction 7
Overview Of CCYD And Plain Talk 10
Three Phases Of Resident Involvement 12
Enthusiasm In Planning 14
Uncertainty In Implementation 17
Resident Roles: Strategies For Resolution 22
Conclusion 27
6
7
Introduction
This report looks at adult resident involvement in two
demonstration projects: Plain Talk and Community
Change for Youth Development (CCYD). Plain Talk, a
five-site demonstration designed and funded by The
Annie E. Casey Foundation, sought to involve local residents
in addressing the community problems of teen
pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted
diseases (STDs). The four-year initiative was completed
in 1997. CCYD, an initiative designed by
Public/Private Ventures (P/PV),1 is a six-site demonstration
that endeavors to draw together local institutional,
human and financial resources to enhance the
capacity of urban communities for supporting the successful
growth and development of young people ages
12 to 20. The design of CCYD called for “buy-in” by
participating communities and for local residents to
play a key role in all aspects of the initiative. Planning
in the three initial sites took place during 1995; implementation
began in 1996 and will continue through
2001.2 Thus, the challenging process of involving residents
in long-term change is still under way.
Both Plain Talk and CCYD represent a social policy
approach that is community-centered and aims to
make basic changes in the environment, institutions
and human interactions that shape people’s lives. This
approach began gaining favor in the late 1980s and
early 1990s. It had become increasingly clear that the
more limited interventions, which were designed
entirely outside the communities where the target
population lived and which had dominated social policy
for several decades, were not having lasting effects.
Thus, throughout this decade, a number of community-
centered interventions have been implemented,
focusing on areas that include youth development,
neighborhood revitalization, school reform and social
service integration. Central to these projects has been
the notion that improving the lives of the poor requires
strengthening the community infrastructure and the
capacity of community resources—residents and institutions—
to help shape, plan, implement and sustain
local change. These initiatives stress the importance of
partnerships between residents and institutions, and
often emphasize that sustained and committed resident
involvement is essential for any community-level
change. Community residents can contribute an inside
view of the community’s strengths and needs, access
to social networks that can facilitate local buy-in, and
the legitimacy and moral authority to address certain
“touchy” community issues—all of which are important
to the success of the initiative. Involving residents has
also been seen as a way to build community leadership
capacity, which, in turn, could help expand and sustain
initiative accomplishments. Finally, resident involvement
has been viewed by all participants in community-
centered initiatives—funders, outside initiators and
the target communities themselves—as a very powerful
political idea, particularly given the failure of public-
and private-sector institutions to solve problems in
poor communities.
These were all factors in the decision of P/PV and The
Annie E. Casey Foundation to make resident involvement
a critical component of the CCYD and Plain Talk
initiatives. There was also a desire to generate information
for the social policy field about key questions
that arise when residents are involved as key actors
and decision-makers in community change efforts and
to share any lessons that might be useful in these
areas. These questions include:
What are the most effective and realistic vehicles
for resident involvement? Resident advisory groups?
Governance? Outreach and education? Activity
planning and implementation? Political action?
Should specific vehicles be used for different types
of initiatives?
8
What are effective strategies for helping residents
develop the capacity to play a leading role in community
change? Can resident involvement be sustained
over time?
How can the initiative balance power and responsibility
between paid agency staff and resident
volunteers?
While resident involvement in community change was
central to the design of both Plain Talk and CCYD,
both were initiated by outside planners and funders.
The original impetus did not come from the communities
themselves. Thus, an additional key question concerns
the effect that outside planners and funders (like
P/PV and The Annie E. Casey Foundation), with their
own goals and timelines, have on the process of involving
residents in these initiatives.
Grappling with these issues is important not only
because the process of involving residents has been a
challenge in the Plain Talk and CCYD initiatives but
also because resident involvement strategies have
cycled through American social programming and policy
repeatedly during the last century. The idea of resident
involvement in neighborhood-based social change
and poverty initiatives began in the early twentieth
century with the growth of urbanization and urban
poverty. Progressive reformers and leaders of the early
“settlement” movement introduced the notion of the
local community as the unit for confronting urban ills
and developed the strategy of “organizing residents” as
a vehicle for improving neighborhood conditions. In
the 1920s and 1930s, other community-based strategies,
such as Saul Alinsky’s “Back of the Yards
Neighborhood Council” in Chicago, called for organized
resident action.
However, it was the activism of the civil rights movement
in the late 1950s and 1960s—and accompanying
demands by poor, mainly minority residents for a larger
voice in local planning and politics—that gave resident
involvement strategies prominence in community
initiatives sponsored by government, foundations and
community-based organizations. For example, the federal
government responded to minority residents’
protests against the urban renewal policies of the
1950s, with federal mandates in the 1960s to involve
public housing tenants in management. Also, the federal
government’s major anti-poverty programs of the
1960s—the Office of Economic Opportunity’s War on
Poverty and the Model Cities program—both emphasized
residents’ roles in decision-making. Later, in the
1970s, citizen participation requirements were included
in the Community Development Block Grant program
and the Housing and Community Development
Act, which funded neighborhood planning processes in
numerous cities. In an attempt to be responsive to
community concerns, today’s federal enterprise and
empowerment zone initiatives similarly require resident
involvement.
Resident Involvement as a
Recurring Social Program and
Policy Theme
9
Community-based organizations also used the resident
activism of the civil rights movement to achieve a variety
of community reforms. For example, the Henry
Street Settlement in New York initiated “Mobilization
for Youth,” which used resident protests and demands
to pressure social institutions into being more responsive
to community concerns. And many of the original
community development corporations (CDCs) were
created around the same time as protest organizations.
These groups emphasized “community control” and
resident involvement in the direction and staffing of
economic development activity.
With the implementation of the Gray Areas project in
the 1960s, The Ford Foundation initiated the foundation
sector’s use of the neighborhood initiative as a
response to urban poverty. The project provided funding
and technical assistance to a number of inner city
neighborhoods for the development and implementation
of a comprehensive neighborhood plan by neighborhood
residents and a lead agency. Ford continued
this leadership in the 1970s by creating the Local
Initiatives Support Corporation to support the growth
of new and existing community development corporations.
In the 1980s, when there appeared to be little
public policy designed to address the ongoing deterioration
and neglect of poor, urban communities, other
foundations—both national and local—began to get
involved, directing attention and resources to community-
centered initiatives that included strong resident
involvement components. Many of these are called
comprehensive community initiatives (CCIs)—longterm
projects designed to build the capacity of residents
and local institutions to determine the broad
social, economic and physical needs of the community
and to take the lead in seeing that these needs are
met. The Surdna Foundation’s Comprehensive
Community Revitalization Program, Annie E. Casey’s
Neighborhood Transformation and Family
Development Initiative, and Ford’s Neighborhood and
Family Initiative are all examples. While the Plain Talk
and CCYD initiatives are less comprehensive in scope
than these CCIs, they are part of the same category of
community-centered approaches that call for the
heavy involvement of residents.
Overview of the Paper
In spite of the recurrence of “resident involvement” as
a theme in this country’s social policy, there has never
been much clarity or agreement among policymakers,
funders or practitioners about what is actually meant
by the term; and there has been little study of its onthe-
ground implementation in low-income communities
so that “lessons learned” could be used to
improve practice. Over the years, community-level initiatives—
from The Ford Foundation’s Gray Areas project,
to the federal Model Cities effort, to current foundation-
initiated and -funded projects like Plain Talk
and CCYD—have struggled to identify realistic and
useful roles for residents.
To begin to address this issue, the following paper
looks systematically at the experiences of the Plain
Talk and CCYD communities in their attempts to
implement resident involvement strategies. Chapter II
provides a brief overview of the two demonstration
projects. While the projects differ in their goals and
scope, all of the sites in both projects experienced similar
developmental phases in relation to resident
involvement as they moved from planning to start-up
to fuller implementation, and Chapter III outlines these
phases. Chapter IV looks more closely at the planning
phase, the roles residents played during that time, and
their relationships with site staff. Chapter V examines
how and why these roles and relationships changed
and became a great deal more challenging and uncertain
during initial program implementation, while
Chapter VI discusses the strategies that sites used to
overcome these challenges and the range of roles that
residents adopted as implementation progressed.
Chapter VII offers lessons from the Plain Talk and
CCYD experiences and explores implications of these
lessons for practitioners, program designers and policymakers.
Overview of CCYD
and Plain Talk
10
The two demonstration projects, CCYD and Plain Talk,
shared fundamental elements in their approach to resident
involvement. Both provided a conceptual framework
for community change and left it up to the lead
agencies and sites to transform the concepts and goals
into structures, processes and activities that drew on the
strengths and characteristics of their particular communities
and addressed local needs in ways that community
members determined would be most effective. Sites in
both initiatives faced similar broad challenges and experienced
similar developmental processes.
At the same time, the initiatives differed in several
important ways. Plain Talk’s goal of protecting sexually
active teens from pregnancy and disease was controversial
in many of the communities because it
appeared to conflict with cultural and religious beliefs
concerning the importance of abstinence. CCYD’s goal
of providing supports and opportunities for youth was
more easily embraced by a wider spectrum of the community.
However, the initiative’s focus was more comprehensive
than Plain Talk’s, which has presented
additional challenges for residents and staff.
Differences in the extent to which residents’ roles
were initially defined, as well as in the amount of training
and support that the funder or intermediary provided
for residents early on, also affected the ways
that resident involvement took shape in the sites.
CCYD’s aim is to build infrastructures that provide supports
and positive opportunities for young people
throughout the target communities. By the early
1990s, it had become increasingly clear to the youth
policy field that existing programming was not sufficient
to address the spectrum of developmental needs
of large numbers of American youth. In addition,
although evaluations of youth-focused demonstrations
showed positive short-term outcomes, long-term
changes were difficult to achieve once programs came
to an end.3 Given the research findings, P/PV designed
CCYD to involve a wide range of key players in the
community, who could work together to fill critical
gaps in existing services for youth and build on the
communities’ assets to create structures and processes
that would take root and endure.
CCYD provides a conceptual framework that focuses
local efforts on five “core concepts” central to positive
youth development: personal support and guidance
from caring adults; work as a developmental tool; constructive
activities that fill critical gap periods, such as
after-school and summer hours; youth involvement in
decision-making; and continuity of support through
critical transitions in adolescents’ lives. Local communities
are responsible for building on that framework
by creating their own collaborations and governance
structures, and by designing and implementing activities.
Resident adults and youth financial resources and
local service providers are the key to the potential success
of local efforts.
Although six sites are implementing CCYD, the most
intensive research has been in three sites: Austin,
Texas; Savannah, Georgia; and St. Petersburg, Florida.
This paper draws primarily on the experiences in those
sites. All the sites are urban, and all have relatively
high rates of poverty; but there are significant ethnic
and racial differences among the target areas, as well
as differences in educational and employment levels.
Residents of the target area in Austin are primarily
Latino, while the target areas in Savannah and St.
Petersburg are populated mostly by African
Americans. In Savannah, a tight job market has led to
high unemployment among youth in the target community,
whereas St. Petersburg and Austin have much
lower rates of unemployment.
Community Change for Youth
Development
11
The Lead Agencies
CCYD was explicitly designed to have substantial resident
involvement and a strong lead agency was considered
essential for helping the initiative grow within the
target communities. One of the criteria used in site
selection was the ability of the lead agency to involve a
diverse group of community members who would bring
with them a variety of resources. Not surprisingly, senior
staff in all of the lead agencies have a strong interest
in developing resident leadership, and all of the
lead agencies also have a great deal of organizational
capacity and strong relationships with service
providers in their communities.
At the same time, the agencies themselves, and their
relationships to the target communities, are very different.
In Savannah, the lead agency, the Youth
Futures Authority, is a community–change organization
that, since well before CCYD, has focused its efforts on
strengthening the lives of youth in the target area. The
agency’s former executive director (who recently left
that position) is a long-time resident of the area and
has developed a broad vision for long-term community
change. In Austin and St. Petersburg, the lead agencies—
the Community Services Division of the City of
Austin and the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas
County (an independent taxing authority)—are both
charged with serving an entire county. Senior lead
agency staff in Austin and St. Petersburg do not live in
the target communities, nor did they necessarily have
strong ties to the communities before CCYD began. As
we discuss in this paper, some of the qualities of the
lead agencies have affected the paths of resident
involvement within the sites.
Plain Talk
Begun in 1993, Plain Talk was premised on the idea
that teen pregnancy and rates of STDs could be
reduced through a community-wide effort that
acknowledged local rates of teen sexual activity and
devised strategies to protect sexually active teens.
Throughout the 1980s, a number of approaches to
reducing the rates of adolescent pregnancy and disease
had been tried, but the problems remained relatively
impervious to intervention. Although many programs
focused on getting young adolescents to delay
sexual activity or on preventing second pregnancies
among teens who had already given birth to one child,
few programs addressed the service or informational
needs of sexually active youth who had not yet
become pregnant. The Annie E. Casey Foundation had
noted that, even though rates of adolescent sexual
activity are similar in Europe and the United States,
European countries have much lower rates of teen
pregnancy and STD transmission. Researchers and
practitioners have hypothesized that differences in
rates are caused by social norms and by the kind and
amount of health services available to youth.
Plain Talk was designed on the assumption that, to create
change, it was essential to build a community consensus
among adult residents and service institutions
about the importance of protecting sexually active youth.
Thus, community residents would have a key role in
planning and implementing the initiative’s activities.
Plain Talk was implemented in five neighborhoods
across the country, which were either in or near San
Diego, New Orleans, Atlanta, Seattle and Hartford.
There was tremendous ethnic, racial and cultural
diversity among residents across the communities: San
Diego Plain Talk was implemented in a Mexican and
Mexican-American barrio. The neighborhood population
in Hartford was about half African American and
half Puerto Rican, while the Seattle neighborhood
included whites, Asian Americans and African
Americans. In Atlanta and New Orleans, the residents
were primarily African American.
The Lead Agencies
The Plain Talk lead agencies varied in size, mission,
capacity and stability—factors that contributed to very
different approaches to resident involvement. In New
Orleans, the lead agency was a collaborative of local
service providers with a small staff that was accountable
to the site’s public housing resident council. A
philosophy of institutional change permeated the site’s
decisions. In San Diego, the lead agency was a stable
and successful community health clinic that has
thrived in the 1990s despite serving a politically
unpopular clientele of Mexican immigrants. The clinic’s
success has been partly the result of successful
fundraising among corporate donors, a strategy that
has tended to minimize its once overtly political strategies
for social change. The lead agency in the Seattle
neighborhood was a settlement house; in Atlanta, the
lead agency was originally a national women’s wellness
organization and later a local medical school. In
Hartford, a nonprofit organization devoted to the
reduction of teen pregnancy and infant mortality acted
as the lead agency. As in CCYD, the lead agencies’ relationships
to the local communities contributed to the
ways that resident involvement unfolded in the sites.
In addition, while CCYD was specifically designed as an
initiative where residents would play substantial roles,
the design of Plain Talk called for resident involvement
but did not specify the kind or extent of involvement.
Thus, staff in Plain Talk lead agencies varied in their
goals for residents and in the roles that residents were
encouraged to fulfill. In one site, staff clearly supported
a resident-driven initiative. In two others, lead
agency staff wanted residents to be involved but did
not want them to have policymaking authority. Staff in
the remaining two sites were less certain about the
roles they wanted residents to play.
Three Phases Of
Resident Involvement
12
The original designs of both CCYD and Plain Talk called
for residents to be integral to the planning and later to
the implementation of initiative activities. However, in
neither initiative were sites given specific direction on
how to achieve their goals with respect to resident
involvement. During CCYD’s planning phase, P/PV
encouraged the sites to develop neighborhood advisory
groups whose membership included adult and youth residents
as well as service providers and others with
access to resources in the broader community. The
groups were to represent neighborhood interests, help
plan initiative activities, mobilize the community and
provide resources (people’s time and skills). Beyond
these broad areas of responsibility, however, the specific
tasks and roles of the groups were left up to the sites.
Similar encouragement was given to the Plain Talk sites
during planning, when community core groups were
formed. The designers of Plain Talk assumed that the
goals of the initiative were more likely to be achieved if
youth and adult residents helped define the communities’
needs as well as design and deliver services. As in CCYD,
strategic planning guidelines for Plain Talk did not specify
how residents should be involved. A number of questions
were left for the sites to decide: Which residents should
decide on the communities’ needs? How should residents
be involved in service design and delivery? What was to
be the balance of power between agencies and residents?
Plain Talk sites received a lot of technical assistance
directed at resident involvement during the planning
year but then very little as implementation progressed.
In contrast, in CCYD, sites received little technical assistance
with resident involvement during planning and the
first year of implementation. But, as the initiative progressed
and it became clear that the CCYD sites were
facing similar challenges, P/PV provided significantly
more assistance in involving residents in governance.4
13
Despite the differences between CCYD and Plain Talk—as
well as differences among the sites within each initiative—
similar phenomena occurred vis-à-vis the resident groups.
In fact, there appeared to be specific phases of development
across the sites. The first phase, during which residents
functioned primarily as planning advisory groups,
was a period of enthusiasm and cooperation between residents
and staff. The second stage began anywhere from a
few months to a year after implementation. In that stage,
which lasted from four months to more than a year, tensions
and confusion emerged between staff and residents
about their respective roles and responsibilities. Resident
participation and energy dropped, and site staff struggled
to reinvigorate the initiatives.
The next phase (not necessarily the final stage but the
last stage we observed) came when residents and staff
resolved some of the questions about resident roles and
responsibilities. The transition from phase two to phase
three was eased significantly when substantial amounts
of technical assistance were provided to staff and residents.
During phase three, residents took on roles that
varied from becoming members of governance boards
that set policy and budgets, to helping implement activities,
to participating in the activities.
Understanding the developmental path of resident
involvement should provide useful information for those
who seek to help communities work with local agencies
or governments to take control over their physical, social
and economic environment. We do not know if it is possible
to avoid the developmental phases of uncertainty and
conflict in community initiatives: in fact, we suspect that
the phases are inevitable. Issues of power and authority
underlie all community initiatives, and parties involved
often have different expectations about who should
make decisions. Therefore, there are inevitable negotiations
about how much authority should be transfered
from agencies to local communities and the resources
over which communities should have authority. All parties
to the negotiations have expectations. Predictable
and well-defined periods may occur when expectations
by one party may not be met by the other, resulting in
tension and uncertainty. We think that the period after
planning is one such period. However, although the
phase may be unavoidable, the conflict and tension that
emerge are not fatal. Indeed, negotiations that occur in
an attempt to resolve the conflict can lead to creative
solutions that enhance the initiative’s work.
Even if such periods are inevitable, knowing that they
will occur, the specifics of why they occur, and what
they look like is useful. Understanding them as “typical”
may minimize some of the hard feelings that arise.
In addition, those who plan and coordinate community
initiatives may be able to devise ways to shorten these
periods of uncertainty when work may come to a near
standstill—an important factor when funding from any
one source is generally limited to a few years and programs
do not have the luxury of being trapped in inefficient
processes.
The following chapters detail how these phases manifested
themselves in Plain Talk and CCYD.
14
During the planning period, sites had to recruit residents
and help them define and carry out their roles.
While all sites succeeded in this, staff faced challenges
that ranged from recruiting residents who represented
a broad cross-section of the community, to supporting
residents as they developed the ability to contribute
their voices to the planning process, to stepping back
from their traditional roles and ceding some decisionmaking
control to the residents.
Enthusiasm in Planning
Recruiting Residents
In both CCYD and Plain Talk, the planning period
began with the formation of resident groups to advise
staff of the communities’ needs and wishes. Staff in all
sites had considerable success recruiting residents to
sit on planning boards to discuss the goals of the initiatives
and ways of achieving the goals; but attracting
residents who represented the range of perspectives
within a given community required significant effort.
Using Lead Agency Contacts
In most of the sites, the lead agency had been part of
the target community for a number of years and had
established connections with community agencies, volunteer
organizations and residents. Thus, staff was
able to recruit many of their first group of community
residents through their own network of contacts and
through contacts of participating agency representatives.
In CCYD, for example, one site recruited almost
exclusively by sending letters to people who had
attended meetings of a pre-existing community advisory
group connected to the lead agency. A second site
initially used what it called the “snowball method”: residents
of the community who were known to lead
agency staff or other agencies were invited to attend
early informational meetings about the initiative. They
were then asked to bring other interested residents to
subsequent meetings.
Recruiting through agency contacts was effective
because it often drew residents who were leaders in
their communities, who had experience participating
in volunteer organizations, and who were well connected
to other community groups and resources. In many
instances, the residents’ experience and connnections
were themselves valuable assets for further recruiting.
The limitation, however, was that the group of residents
recruited in this way was generally not representative
of all residents. While in part, this limitation was
predictable—lead agencies’ networks were not allinclusive—
some less obvious factors also contributed.
In two of the Plain Talk sites, for example, the primary
source of residents for the core planning group was
the tenant association or resident council of the housing
development where the initiative was focused.
Working through a tenant association seemed an effective
way for a site to gain access to a group of active
residents who are representative of, respected by and
15
closely connected to their communities, but the situation
proved more complicated. This type of recruiting
did not bring immediate access to adult male residents
in either site. In the developments, far fewer men than
women were listed on leases; they were thus unreachable
through the resident association lists.
In one site, the tenant association attracted a large
number of active, committed female residents to Plain
Talk from the beginning, but the second site faced
more challenges in resident recruitment. There the
association was divided by internal factions, and only a
few of its members regularly attended Plain Talk meetings.
In addition, while the population of the housing
development was half African American and half
Latino, the tenant association membership was entirely
African American. When the association became formally
involved with Plain Talk, Latino residents felt
that the initiative was only for African Americans.
Making matters worse, the association did not have a
positive image in the community because residents
viewed it as an arm of the housing authority, which
was not well liked. The site was able to overcome the
first challenge by hiring a Latino outreach worker and
assistant project director. The second challenge
became less important as the group expanded beyond
the tenant association.
Geography was another limiting factor in the two
CCYD sites that relied primarily on lead agency contacts
to draw people into the planning phase. Each of
these sites held its early meetings in a community
center, and the location of the center had an influence
on who attended and thus who would potentially
become involved in the planning group. In both sites,
most of the residents who came to the meetings lived
near the centers, so large areas of the communities
were not represented.
Recruiting More Broadly
Sites thus found that they had to use other recruitment
strategies to bring in residents who represented
a larger segment of the community. To promote broad
resident involvement, one CCYD site, which has a history
of grassroots activism, worked with an organization
that has expertise in grassroots organizing. The
site successfully used neighborhood walks, fliers, and
announcements in church and school newsletters to
invite residents to attend meetings to discuss CCYD
and its role in the neighborhood. To attract people
from different parts of the neighborhood, the meetings
were held at churches and schools in locations across
the community.
For the Plain Talk sites, the community mapping effort
early in the initiative turned out to be a key recruitment
tool. The mapping was an intensive data collection
activity through which residents gathered information
about the conditions in the community that
were the targets of change: adult and youth attitudes,
knowledge and behavior related to adolescent sexuality,
and the contraceptive services currently available to
youth. Interest in participating in the community mapping
drew residents to the initiative’s core planning
group. And the mapping process itself—during which
residents interviewed other residents as part of the
data collection effort—also introduced a large number
of community members to the Plain Talk initiative and,
in some cases, identified additional people for the core
planning groups.
In several sites, word of mouth was the most effective
recruitment tool. Initiative-sponsored Fun Days and
other community events that introduced residents to
CCYD or Plain Talk also attracted people to the planning
groups. In addition, Plain Talk effectively used a
financial incentive. Residents in each site received payments
for conducting interviews as part of the community
mapping and for participating in planning meetings
and on other committees. The stipends were not
just financially important; residents felt they elevated
their status to one of paid employee rather than community
volunteer.
16
In general, the attempt to involve community residents
in significant planning roles was successful in both initiatives.
The Plain Talk model, in particular, was activity
oriented, with a timeline built around tasks and
milestones. In addition to keeping the planning groups
moving forward, these milestones meant that the residents
were involved in concrete activities, where they
were developing leadership skills and seeing their
accomplishments—which, in turn, kept them interested
in and committed to the initiative.
A Variety of Roles
While community–change initiatives are based on the
assumption that resident involvement is essential,
“involvement” can take a range of forms. In both initiatives,
a key function of residents on the advisory
groups was to inform the lead agencies about the communities’
strengths and needs; and in three Plain Talk
sites, the advisory groups also served as a core of
informal outreach workers. Residents had other key
roles as well. In the three CCYD sites, they were
involved in developing the first-year implementation
plan. In two of the sites, that was the primary form of
resident involvement during the planning stage: a small
percentage of the neighborhood’s residents attended a
series of meetings to design the plan. In the third site,
the core group of involved residents was also mobilized
to educate and recruit other residents.
In Plain Talk, because of the controversial nature of
the initiative’s goals, a central function of the core
planning groups was to reach consensus about how to
take the Plain Talk message into their communities.
Although this involved developing implementation
strategies, it first meant agreeing on how that message
would be shaped to make it acceptable to a
broad spectrum of the community. The core groups’
efforts to reach consensus about the Plain Talk message
proved doubly valuable in some sites, where it
presaged some of the difficulties that would occur in
delivering the message to the community. In San
Diego, for example, cultural norms prohibited adolescent
sexual activity, especially among girls. It was
therefore difficult for adults to acknowledge the reality
of sexually active teens. This issue was as difficult
for residents sitting on the advisory group to overcome
as it was for the wider community. Over time,
staff became skilled in reinforcing the Plain Talk message
in culturally acceptable ways within the planning
group, and this early learning served them well during
implementation.
Who Makes the Decisions?
In both initiatives, the creation of a resident-only or
resident-dominated planning group with clear decision-
making authority seemed to be an important precondition
for real resident leadership. Unsurprisingly,
however, this was not easy to achieve. It required that
agency staff (both the lead agency and other local
agencies involved in planning) step back from their
traditional roles and support residents as they developed
the skills and confidence to step forward as decision-
makers.
While the CCYD resident advisory groups were responsible
for developing the first-year implementation
plans, the sites varied in the amount of control that
lead agencies turned over to residents. In two of the
communities, the lead agencies saw their roles as “supporters”
of the resident planners, and the final documents
were clearly “resident plans.” Although the documents
were drafted by professional staff, they were
based almost entirely on input from resident groups
and required approval by those groups. The residents
felt that this was a good strategy and that the final
plans accurately reflected their desires for their neighborhoods.
In the third site—where CCYD is part of a
larger, already existing intervention strategy in the
neighborhood—lead agency staff took the leadership
role in developing the plan, with the intention of transferring
decision-making authority to the community
during the implementation period. Thus, while the
final document built on residents’ input, the residents’
ideas were incorporated into the ideas and plans of
agency staff.
Resident Roles and Authority
17
In CCYD, apart from the lead agency, there was relatively
little involvement of local service agencies during
planning. Lead agency staff felt that the planning
process would have been dominated by these organizations
and that the result would have been proposals for
“traditional services” because the agencies would have
seen CCYD primarily as another source of funding.5 In
two of the Plain Talk sites, however, the planning
teams were initially dominated by local agency representatives,
and it proved difficult for the residents,
who were nonprofessionals, to act as equal partners
with the professionals. During meetings, residents
were reluctant to contribute to discussions and decisions,
and many of them stopped attending. Residents
explained their withdrawal from the process by pointing
out the class and language differences (or communication
skills) between themselves and the agency
representatives. In one site, in response, the project
manager asked agency representatives to scale down
their presence at meetings so residents would become
the dominant group, which proved successful. In both
sites, residents eventually formed their own planning
teams and were given authority to make decisions,
with the agency representatives functioning as advisors
and consultants.
Overall, across the sites, there was a great deal of
excitement during the planning period. Community residents
who sat on the groups felt they were being listened
to, and lead agency staff believed the activities
that were planned would be better attended and better
structured as a result of the advice they received from
residents. Whatever divisions of authority existed
between staff and residents did not cause much concern
since resident involvement and enthusiasm were high.
However, after the planning periods, the advisory
group structures either broke down or changed in
almost all the sites. In CCYD, the advisory groups
began to transform into governance boards.6 In four
Plain Talk sites, the groups took more divergent paths.
Uncertainty in
Implementation
Unlike the planning period, during which resident advisory
groups functioned effectively and sites believed
that meaningful resident involvement could be
achieved, the 12 to 18 months of program start-up
proved discouraging and difficult for all sites. It became
increasingly clear that the resident advisory groups
faced challenges. In five of the eight sites, residents
indicated that they were burned out, and they left the
groups (in one site, approximately one-third of the
members dropped out; in the other four, half or more
did). In those five sites, residents complained that
there was little for them to do, and they were unwilling
to recruit others under those circumstances. In the
other three sites, although fewer people dropped out,
residents said they were unclear about their roles.
18
In retrospect, the inability of many of the sites to
maintain advisory groups is not surprising since the
function of the groups was time limited. As the initiatives
moved into implementation of activities in which
staff played key roles, the need to convene advisory
groups on a regular basis decreased. As their advisory
function disappeared, the residents in the groups
began to grumble that they were not doing anything,
and their frustration mounted. Not surprisingly, both
residents and site staff asked: “If residents are not
making decisions and developing policy, what is their
role? What does ‘involvement’ mean?”
The situation is similar to the problems that nonprofit
organizations sometimes have with advisory groups.
On the one hand, there is the hope that advisory
groups can legitimize the organization’s activities and
that members of the group can act as occasional consultants
who help to further organizational goals. On
the other hand, the tasks set before the advisory
groups are often so ill-defined that their advice and
feedback is not helpful.
The risk in community initiatives is that site staff may
decide that resident advisory groups are not helpful,
when the reason they may be ineffective is that their
tasks are not clearly defined. In Plain Talk, there was
no clear next step for the groups, and the residents’
complaints either led site staff to find new ways of
involving the groups or to decide that their function
was too ill-defined to justify maintaining them. As a
result, a number of residents who had been involved
early on were lost to the initiative.
At one site, the advisory group, although it shrank in
size over time, continued to meet regularly to hear
updates about and comment on the implementation of
the local initiative. It also participated in a planned
social action to get a school-linked health clinic into
the community. In the other three sites, the advisory
groups became early audiences for health education
and communication workshops implemented by site
staff. The groups in two of those sites eventually
stopped meeting. In the third site, the advisory group
continued to meet every other week, ultimately taking
on some informal policymaking functions.
In both CCYD and Plain Talk, the uncertainty about
how to sustain the advisory groups or (particularly in
the CCYD sites) transform them into policymaking
boards led in all instances to a situation in which staff
made most decisions about the initiative. Staff identified
possible partners to implement activities, negotiated
with agencies to provide services and took the lead
in budget decisions.
The Conundrum of
Post-Planning Advisory
Groups
19
In one of the Plain Talk sites and all three CCYD sites,
the lead agencies wanted the resident advisory groups
to make the transition into becoming governance
boards (or neighborhood councils), but the process
proved extremely difficult. In all four sites, tensions
emerged over who had the authority to make decisions,
and the actions of residents and staff during this
period reflected the tensions.
One site, with a history of strong grassroots organizing,
insisted that the initiative should be resident driven;
and the lead agency, acting in cooperation with the
resident governance group, fired professional staff and
promoted residents to key staff positions. In doing so,
residents hoped that ultimate control over the local
initiative would rest firmly within the community. In
another site, the executive director of the lead agency
unilaterally disbanded the resident group because he
did not think it was developing into the strong neighborhood
governance body he had hoped for. He then
formed a new group and devoted staff resources to
strengthening it. Two other sites had trouble making
timely decisions. In one of those sites, a strong commitment
by the lead agency for resident governance
led to the development of a Memorandum of
Agreement (MOA) between the agency and the governance
board that spelled out roles and responsibilities.
The agreement ceded significant authority for making
decisions about CCYD activities to the governance
council and became a model for other sites in the initiative’s
third and fourth years. In the first year of
implementation, however, the governance group did
not have the capacity to use its authority, rendering
the MOA useless. (In the second and third years, however,
the MOA proved to be a useful tool for the site.)
While the sites have had varying degrees of success in
creating governance boards, the challenges involved in
doing so were significant. The governance boards in
the three CCYD sites originally created bylaws or organizational
structures that did not work. One board was
committed to consensus building and chose not to
have formal leadership positions, such as an elected or
appointed chairperson. However, this lack led to difficulties
in resolving conflicts and making decisions. In
addition, when decisions needed to be made prior to
the board’s next scheduled meeting, calling an ad-hoc
meeting was difficult because no one had the authority
to do so. In another site, the board created bylaws that
inadvertently made it difficult to allocate funds for
activities and to recruit new board members.
In general, when the neighborhood councils functioned
poorly, decisions were stalled and staff became frustrated
and impatient. As a result, staff tended to take
matters into their own hands and make key decisions,
which sometimes resulted in activities for youth but
also tended to produce anger and frustration among
board members. In one site, for instance, staff implemented
a number of innovative activities with the help
of other social service providers; but the community
governance group did not support their efforts, and
most of the activities were short-lived.
The sites were aware that creating bylaws and effective
organizational structures for the governance
boards was a key factor in the boards’ ability to make
timely decisions—but how to achieve these structures
was far from obvious in the early periods of the
initiatives. While lead agencies had the capacity and
experience to create boards, the staff who worked
most closely with the initiatives did not necessarily
draw on that capacity and instead allowed the residents
to take the lead in creating the early structures.
Staff wanted the governance boards to develop
autonomously, so they hesitated to become too
involved. However, as the original boards began to
founder in CCYD, lead agency staff began to become
more involved in board development.7
Training for Residents
In all of the boards, some community residents brought
important organizational skills to the policymaking
groups. Many, however, were inexperienced in group
process and initially unfamiliar with the skills necessary
for a smoothly functioning board—a fairly typical situation
with new boards, where a common understanding
does not yet exist about what the board’s operating
process should be. While both CCYD and Plain Talk
attracted strong neighborhood leaders with important
networks, the leaders within individual governance
groups did not always agree on what direction the
boards should take, and the disagreements sometimes
crippled efforts to move forward. Training on how to
make timely decisions contributed substantially to the
success of the groups. It lowered the number of con-
The Challenge of Creating
Governance Boards
20
flicts and provided ways to overcome potential conflicts.
All three CCYD boards participated in board
retreats at which they were re-introduced to the goals
of CCYD and where they worked together to develop
mission statements or visions that fit their communities’
needs and reflected the goals of CCYD. Two of the
boards also participated in team-building exercises.
In addition to developing capacity in decision-making
and team work, a number of board members needed
training in reading budgets and understanding how to
make budgetary decisions. Across the sites, people
who already possessed some of those skills became
involved in the boards—but dealing with budgets is not
a widespread skill. These challenges were further complicated
by the fact that budgetary decisions needed to
be connected to measuring the effectiveness of activities
that were being funded and implemented. The
sites that have achieved some measure of board stability
and effectiveness are beginning to become involved
in these evaluation tasks.
Building resident capacity is expensive and time consuming.
The community board in the Plain Talk site that
made policy decisions for the initiative had been developing
for many years; it had begun as a resident council
for a housing development, acting primarily as an advisory
board to the local housing authority, but it became
increasingly independent over the years. The most successful
CCYD governance board went through a
planned, eight-month development process, after which
it was able to start making key decisions. Board and
staff members are interested in further development to
help the board become a tax exempt organization with
the capacity to manage the neighborhood family
resource center, which is the central location for CCYD.
Bureaucracy vs. Democracy
The difficulty that sites encountered with the process
of board development suggests that an early recognition
of the time and resources needed to build residents’
governance capacity may alleviate some of the
tensions between boards and lead agencies that result
from each group expecting too much too soon. In addition,
in many cases, lead agencies must be willing to
make changes in the way they do business if they wish
to nurture an effective governance board.
The German sociologist Max Weber pointed out in a
famous essay that there is a fundamental tension
between bureaucratic processes and democracy, especially
the self-governing democracy of small groups.8
Bureaucracies have strong self-sustaining mechanisms—
such as written rules and procedures, specialized
authority structures and a reliance on specialized
expert knowledge. Because of bureaucracies’ efficiencies
and stability, citizens cede power to bureaucratic
institutions; in turn, bureaucracies contribute to the
maintenance of social order in many arenas—among
them the political, the social service and the economic.
Tensions emerge, however, because bureaucracies’
strong mechanisms mean that bureaucratic institutions
are slow to respond to the concerns of citizens and
slow to change. In addition, in any partnership
between a bureaucracy and a citizen’s group, the
bureaucracy has operational advantages (staff time,
efficient procedures, expertise) that may lead to situations
where power to make decisions rests with the
bureaucracy despite intentions to share it.
The inherent tensions between bureaucracy and the
democratic processes of local communities are visible
in both CCYD and Plain Talk. The lead agencies, which
act as fiscal managers, have accounting systems that
facilitate the lead agencies’ missions. The systems do
not necessarily produce useful information for the governance
boards. Board members in the CCYD communities
have complained at various points that the lead
agencies do not provide them with important budgetary
information; and when it has been provided, it is
sometimes incomplete or presented in ways that are
not useful for the board. Without budget information
that includes year-to-date actual expenditures as well
21
as total funds allocated to the initiative’s activities, the
governing boards’ ability to make decisions about funding
is severely restricted.
In other ways, staff commitments to bureaucratic efficiency
sometimes overtake their commitment to local
governance in the initiatives. Staff are often in strong
positions to make decisions: they have a lot of knowledge
at hand, and they have more time committed to
the initiative than do volunteer board members. It is
often more efficient for staff to make decisions than to
take the decisions to the board, get items on the agenda,
make presentations to the board and then act on
the board’s decisions. This issue crops up repeatedly.
For instance, in one CCYD site, staff planned and
implemented activities that drew together a number of
service providers. The process worked well in terms of
activity implementation, but it eventually generated
resentment on the part of the board. In the early
implementation period of another CCYD site, staff
planned and implemented all activities. The result was
a governance board that was passive and uninvolved,
which, in turn, caused concern among staff. These two
examples illustrate the most frequent responses by
governance groups when staff begin to operate independently
of the groups: the governance group resists,
and the dynamics between staff and the board can get
messy; or the board members participate less and less
in the initiative.
When governance boards resist, the tensions between
professional, bureaucratic functioning and community
governance can become very painful. One board
explored the possibility of breaking away from the lead
agency, but it did not have the fiscal or organizational
capacity to manage the initiative without the agency’s
support. Another board all but disintegrated as people
became increasingly disillusioned with the unpleasant
dynamics between staff and the board. These two
boards were able to resolve some of their difficulties,
but the process was arduous.
For several reasons, we think that the struggles experienced
by the sites during early implementation
were, in part, developmentally necessary. The fact
that all the sites faced questions about how much
authority the residents should have suggests that
these tensions may be integral to the process of developing
resident involvement in a political environment
that increasingly encourages community empowerment.
When the initiatives began, community members
were pleased to be involved and willing to let
staff drive activities. As the residents became more
knowledgeable about the goals of the initiative, they
began to request greater authority.
The struggles, however, also resulted from a lack of
clarity about roles. In one site, for example, the resident
group was told in words and through organizational
charts that it would oversee the initiative.
However, the group did not have decision-making
authority over budgets or activities. Unsurprisingly,
board members began to insist that staff cede authority
to them since they had been led to believe that they
oversaw the initiative. In other sites, as residents
developed the capacity to make decisions and steer
the initiative, they began to define the directions in
which they wanted the initiative to go. Residents’
visions did not always reflect those of the staff, and
most of the sites faced a number of challenges as staff
and residents redefined their relationships and the
directions of the local initiatives.
The actual processes played out somewhat differently
across the sites. In some sites, there was considerably
more conflict among residents and staff over what the
goals of the resident groups were supposed to be. In
sites in which lead agency staff were clear about the
groups’ roles, there was significantly less conflict than
in sites where staff were uncertain of the groups’ roles.
In addition, the lack of understanding of the kinds of
technical assistance needed to support effective resident
governance boards contributed to the struggles.
Ultimately, the contribution of resources, including
training, advice and administrative support, from the
lead agency or national field staff was the key to creating
better functioning governance groups. Thus, while
the developmental dynamics might inevitably slow a
site’s progress toward residence governance, the
process could be somewhat better managed.
Developmental Struggles
22
By the end of the first year of implementation, we
began to hear clearly formed definitions from local lead
agencies and resident groups of residents’ roles in the
initiatives. Community governance boards created
vision and mission statements. Residents’ participation
in governance, activity implementation, outreach and
recruitment rose in all sites. Although we do not yet
know all the results of the increased participation, particularly
in CCYD, which is ongoing, we have seen
increased enthusiasm and support for initiative activities
within the communities as the sites have resolved
some of the tensions around resident involvement that
marked the start-up and early implementation periods.
Below we explore the types of resident involvement
that have emerged.
Resident Roles:
Strategies for
Resolution
Setting Policy and Making
Decisions
Creating community governance boards that have real
power and are effective in making decisions is a
tremendous challenge. While the three CCYD sites
have achieved some level of resident governance, the
process is ongoing, and the following discussion is a
commentary on the current “snapshot in time.”
The three boards—all of which were reconstituted earlier
in the initiative—are at very different places in
their development. In two sites, the boards are exploring
becoming tax exempt organizations and taking
steps to become effective decision-making groups.
They are pushing staff to get the kinds of information—
including budgeting information—they need to
make decisions, and one of them is beginning to use
assessment tools to monitor the activities it is funding.
(One of the sites is the CCYD site where residents had
the least decision-making authority during the planning
period.) At the same time, the boards continue to
face challenges, particularly in setting up functioning
committees and recruiting residents to serve on them.
The board in the other site is still struggling to find a
structure that works: its desire to have equal participation
among all members and a decision-making process
based on reaching consensus means that it is often difficult
to make decisions. At the same time, the board
has had the key role in defining community needs: it
identified the school dropout rate (which is very high
in the community) as the major issue the initiative
should address, and focused on planning and implementing
youth development activities related to
remaining—and succeeding—in school.
Sites that have made the most progress in developing
governance boards have benefitted from having lead
agencies with a commitment to empowering poor communities—
lead agencies that, in fact, believe it is in
their own self-interest to have strong groups of residents
who make decisions for their communities.
When tensions and conflicts arise between agencies
and residents, lead agency staff find ways to work with
the community residents. They also have a strong
commitment to building resident capacity, making conscious
efforts to train residents both through formal
workshops and more informal approaches to leadership
development. Finally, the development of formal
MOAs between the governance boards and lead agencies
ultimately contributed to the strength of the gov-
23
ernance boards. MOAs provided shared understanding
and expectations for all parties, thereby strengthening
relationships as well as the governance boards’ capacities.
As we noted earlier, however, the MOAs were
more useful as the initiative matured than in the early
years.
As this report has discussed, the challenges to creating
policymaking groups in the communities targeted by
the initiatives are substantial; the solutions to the
problems are time consuming and may have unexpected
financial costs. Given the costs, is it worthwhile to
create and nurture such boards? We cannot yet determine
with certainty whether the boards contribute to
the development of an initiative that is sensitive to
local conditions and creates widespread local support
and participation—and, therefore, positively affects
the lives of local youth. In Plain Talk, the only community
with a governance board implemented the initiative
that was most sensitive to local concerns, and
there was a high degree of energy and support within
the community for the initiative. However, high resident
involvement in staffing also contributed to the
success in that site, and it is difficult to disentangle the
relative effects of the governance board and the presence
of residents as staff.
In CCYD, it is too early to determine what the contribution
of the policymaking boards will be to the lives
of youth in the communities. The ultimate goal of
CCYD is to improve youth’s outcomes in an entire community,
and the means by which the initiative hopes to
do so is through the creation of multiple youth development
opportunities. Whether a neighborhood governance
council will facilitate the creation and maintenance
of activities that provide those opportunities,
and do so in a way that provides advantages over other
means of implementing activities (for example,
through extensive agency collaboration within a target
community), is an open question.
Organizing and
Implementing Activities
Several methods were used to involve residents in
organizing and implementing activities across the sites
in Plain Talk and CCYD. In some sites, residents
became involved in activity implementation very early
in the initiatives. In CCYD, this was particularly true in
the case of coaching sports, where a well-established
pattern of community adult volunteerism already existed.
With the exception of sports—and, to a lesser
extent, work-based learning opportunities—the sites
are still developing ways to involve adult residents in
implementing activities. One site has decided to focus
its efforts on drawing parents of youth into the activities,
in the belief that community parents must change
their level of involvement in youth’s lives in order to
achieve community change. Their efforts, however, are
just beginning.
In Plain Talk, sites first had to figure out how best to
use residents in activities. In the beginning, the sites
thought that residents could be trained as outreach
workers and lay health educators who would deliver
the Plain Talk message in their communities, and they
started to prepare groups of residents for these roles.
However, early efforts to train residents and supervise
their work consumed staff resources, so most of the
sites revised their plans. Two sites decided to focus
their energies on providing in-depth training to a small
group of residents (10 or fewer). Another site decided
to use residents primarily as outreach workers, not as
lay health educators. One site dropped plans to train
community residents as outreach workers or health
educators and concentrated on providing relatively
superficial information on parent-teen communication
to as many parents as possible, rather than focus
directly on the Plain Talk message of protecting sexually
active teens.
Nonetheless, resident involvement in outreach and
education remained a key strategy for creating community
consensus around the Plain Talk message of
protecting sexually active teens, and residents’ outreach
and education efforts substantially affected sites’
capacities to reach into the community and generate
interest in Plain Talk workshops and other events.
Because some of the communities were so leery of outsiders,
including social service providers, residents
proved invaluable in creating and nurturing links
between the initiative and the community. In addition,
they appeared to be more comfortable than profession-
24
al health educators from outside the community in
engaging other residents in discussions about morality
and health. They connected the work of Plain Talk to
local cultural mores, such as those stressing the importance
of knowledge and the importance of caring for
youth. In fact, the involved residents in the Plain Talk
communities felt that—because they were community
members—they had the responsibility and the right to
challenge other community members with the message
that they should be protecting sexually active youth.
Training adult residents to facilitate health education
workshops and other kinds of community education
events also enhanced the sites’ capacity to give workshops
to many people in a relatively short time. While
the training process was time-consuming and resource
intensive, using residents to give workshops compared
favorably in terms of cost to using professional staff. In
the sites that used resident facilitators, far more people
went to workshops than in the sites that did not—
even though these sites began their workshop series
later because of the time involved in training the resident
facilitators.
Three Challenges
Some challenges have emerged in sites’ efforts to
involve residents in activity implementation. First,
recruiting community members who can organize and
implement activities takes a concerted effort, and the
sites’ success in recruitment has been uneven. For
example, one Plain Talk site ultimately concluded that
the core group of adults it had recruited early in the
initiative was, to a large extent, not the group who
could be most useful for implementing activities. Over
time, the site was able to recruit a strong core of adult
residents, but the process took much longer than
expected. In another example, a CCYD site has been
very successful in recruiting coaches for sports but
much less successful in recruiting a core group of
adults to help with other activities.
A second challenge is building capacity among residents
so they are prepared to carry out the work. In
Plain Talk, the sites had to train people in health education,
anatomy and physiology, human sexuality, and
presentation skills. The initial training took months of
effort on the part of staff. Once trained in the basics of
giving presentations about sexuality and contraception,
residents required ongoing training because, during
presentations, they were often asked questions
that they could not answer. Staff also needed to monitor
and assess the quality and delivery of the information
provided by resident trainers, a task for which
they had little time.
In CCYD, the issues around training residents center
on understanding positive adult-youth interactions.
Among the adults who have volunteered their time to
the CCYD youth development efforts, some are
extremely skilled at building positive and supportive
relationships with youth, whereas others bring important
skills to the effort (organizational, artistic, etc.)
but sometimes lack knowledge about how to interact
effectively with adolescents. To the extent that sites
have confronted the challenge of poor adult-youth
interactions, they have tended to do so on a case-bycase
basis as problems emerge. However, as sites’
efforts develop and they begin to focus on quality
issues, they will need to assess the performance of
adults (both residents and staff) who interact with
youth to ensure that activities are positive experiences
for the youth. It may become necessary for the sites to
build capacity in this area.
A third challenge involves the question of how to
spend scarce resources. In many Plain Talk sites, residents
were paid stipends to participate in implementing
activities. Payment enhanced the commitment of
those residents, but it also tended to limit their numbers
since the funds available for stipends were limited.
It was not unusual for residents to tell the
researchers that they wondered why they should volunteer
their efforts to the initiative when other residents
were receiving stipends or, in some cases, had
been hired as paid staff.9
It is clear from observing both Plain Talk and CCYD
that involving residents in activity implementation—
either as volunteers who may or may not receive
stipends or as staff—has a positive effect on the possible
number of activities that can be implemented, the
number of people who can be included and on the
reach into the community. One Plain Talk site trained
four lay health educators, who then gave workshops to
literally hundreds of residents in the course of a year,
25
and who also spoke informally to adolescents and
adults about sexuality, contraception and STDs. The
extensive personal networks of the volunteers was an
important benefit to the site. In another Plain Talk site,
several residents who were trained as outreach workers
had extensive contacts among adolescents and
were able to refer them to the health clinic when necessary.
In CCYD, large-scale, ongoing activities, such as
sports or the provision of work opportunities for youth,
have benefitted enormously from the involvement of
community adults.
The value to the initiatives in having residents involved
in activity implementation suggests that the necessary
recruitment efforts and capacity building are probably
worthwhile. Whether sites should provide stipends to
volunteers depends to some degree on what resources
are available and whether it is in the sites’ interest to
have a few heavily involved and committed volunteers
or a large number of volunteers with more limited
commitment.
Adult Resident Participation in
Activities
Both Plain Talk and CCYD ultimately wanted to involve
large numbers of residents by having them participate
in activities. The staff at The Annie E. Casey
Foundation aimed to expose approximately 10 percent
of target area residents to Plain Talk activities. They
hoped that this would be enough people to create
community consensus about Plain Talk’s message—
that it is important to protect sexually active youth.
Although most of the Plain Talk sites did not achieve
the 10-percent level within their communities, two
involved approximately 800 to 1,000 adults and youth
in Plain Talk community education activities in 1996
and 1997.
In CCYD, youth are the focus of activity participation,
but having adults also participate is important to positively
connect community adults to youth—a key goal
of the initiative.
Mobilizing for Specific Actions
Several sites have drawn on residents to mobilize for
specific social actions. In Plain Talk, this took two
forms: a successful letter writing campaign in one site
to support the creation of a new health clinic and at
another site a successful march to city hall to request
that funds for health care be reinstated. In a CCYD
site, an organizing institution has worked with mixed
success to organize community residents around a
series of issues that concerned local citizens, such as
child safety and improving the schools’ responsiveness
to parents.
Mobilizing residents for social change has been done in
sites that have strong resident decision-making as well
as those that do not. It has worked best when the
action around which the community has organized is
closely related to the goals of the initiative. For example,
part of Plain Talk’s mission was to increase reproductive
health services for adolescents, and both the
letter writing campaign and the march to city hall were
related to this mission. Under those circumstances,
staff (who can provide important administrative support
for the organizing goals) and residents (who can
mobilize other residents) have worked well together.
Adults began to attend sports events at the local recreation
center in large numbers. Other community adults
became casually acquainted with activity coordinators.
Still others watched youth in sports or volunteered to
support teams. Site staff valued the casual participation
of community adults because they considered it
important to increasing the number and kinds of positive
social ties among community adults and youth.
In contrast, in the CCYD site in which community
organizing has been tried, the goals of the social
actions that have been undertaken are ultimately related
to improving the lives of community youth but are
not central to the goals of the local initiative staff or
resident council. While staff of the organizing institution
have relied on initiative participants to help implement
the actions, the social actions have not been fully
supported by either staff or the neighborhood council.
As a result, their success has been limited: some of the
actions were successful; others were less so. For
instance, on one block, community members successfully
lobbied a small business that sold liquor to pro-
26
hibit public drinking on its premises since the area was
heavily traveled by children going to and from school.
However, a “get out the vote” walk designed to
increase political participation in the community was
poorly attended (it also rained that day). Recent
actions with a local high school appear more promising
since there is strong support from CCYD participants.
Because community mobilization is generally shortlived
and the groups of residents involved in the
actions break up when the goals have been met, mobilizing
residents for social action is not a long-term
strategy for resident participation. Instead, it complements
other forms of participation and can occur in
sites that have strong community policymaking boards
as well as those that do not. In sites in which residents
have a strong board, we expect that the board must
support the action. The board may not only control
financial resources required for the mobilization, but
board members may also have extensive community
networks that can aid or impede the action. In sites
without such boards, staff may be able to draw on a
few key residents to help them organize actions. A
requirement, however, seems to be the existence of
strong prior relationships between site staff and at
least a few residents.
In both CCYD and Plain Talk, there was no doubt that
mobilizing residents for specific social actions could
produce results. This outcome is not surprising given
the sensitivity of local political and social entities in
the United States to well-organized and clearly directed
political pressure. However, successful mobilization
requires that the organizing body has much knowledge
of the community’s needs and social networks as well
as knowledge of successful organizing tactics. Given
the size of the staff in both CCYD and Plain Talk, it
was the exception rather than the rule that there were
people with enough commitment, time and skill to
organize an effective action. Sites generally tended to
use their funds for staff who could implement or
administer programs rather than to support community
organizers.
27
Interest in resident involvement as a key component in
community-based social interventions shows no signs of
abating. In fact, with the current emphasis on the use
of volunteers to solve serious societal problems, the
focus on the roles that residents can play to better their
communities may get even stronger. The experiences
thus far of the CCYD and Plain Talk initiatives have
much to tell the field about the promise and complexity
of involving residents in the complicated business of
community change. These “lessons” include learning
about strategies that appear useful for involving residents;
roles that residents may effectively take and
under what circumstances; the phases that appear to
be inevitable in the process of involving residents; and
the realities of working with residents and local institutions
to implement ideas generated by outside entities.
While the communities that participated in Plain Talk
and CCYD may not be representative of all poor communities
around the country, their relatively common
experiences in attempting to involve residents in community
change seem to imply a broader relevance to the
conclusions we have drawn. CCYD is still in operation,
and although Plain Talk has formally concluded, some
communities are continuing the work of the initiative.
Therefore, we expect that both of these initiatives will
continue to provide important lessons for the field.
1. Residents can play important roles in furthering
the goals of a community–change initiative,
although some roles appear easier to carry out
and more immediately viable than others.
In both CCYD and Plain Talk, the original designers—
P/PV and The Annie E. Casey Foundation—intended
that residents would play central roles in the initiatives
and believed that resident involvement was critical to
initiative success. The experience across all eight communities
indicates that residents can be central to local
Conclusion
initiative progress. Among the different sites, they
planned for the initiative and advised lead agencies;
helped to recruit additional residents to planning
groups; used their “insider status” and “moral authority”
to lend legitimacy to the initiative and its message;
helped to organize and implement activities, and participated
in activities themselves; served as outreach
workers and educators; and, in some instances, set policy
and made programmatic and budgetary decisions.
While the degree to which residents played these roles
varied across the sites, it seems that residents adopted
some roles more easily than others. Sites were generally
successful in involving residents in up-front planning
for the initiative. In CCYD, residents worked with the
lead agencies to produce the initial and subsequent
yearly plans that reflected the desires of the community;
and in Plain Talk, residents played the critically
important roles of carrying out the community mapping
and framing a locally acceptable Plain Talk message
about protecting sexually active teens. The sites
were also quite successful in engaging residents to
recruit other residents into the initiative. This “recruitment”
role seemed natural since the residents who initially
filled that role were usually those who were
already active in the community and had extensive
networks to tap.
We speculate that the success of involving residents in
early planning was partly because of the sites’ relatively
short, activity-oriented planning periods: residents
stayed focused and energized. In addition, the planning
period represented the first phase of the initiative,
when enthusiasm was high about the initiative’s
potential, and relationships and cooperation between
residents and agency staff were generally good—
before the hard work of implementation and struggles
over power and control began.
In both Plain Talk and CCYD, residents have also been
involved in helping to implement the local initiative—by
working to implement activities and in some cases by
participation on governing boards. Involving residents
with the implementation of activities seemed most beneficial
when there was a tradition of resident participation
to build on or where it was clear that resident
involvement would be crucial for effectively carrying
out the activity. In CCYD, for example, athletic and
work-learning activities were delivered by residents
28
with previous experience in those areas. In several
Plain Talk sites, residents played key roles as outreach
workers and lay health educators who disseminated the
Plain Talk message throughout their communities.
2. Involving residents in implementation is very different
from and far more difficult than involving
them in planning.
While it seems clear that using residents to deliver
activities can be important and sometimes even critical
to implementation, it can also involve significant time
and resources. As we have noted in this report, the
planning phase of both initiatives was characterized by
excitement and cooperation among all parties; but with
the start of implementation came burnout, particularly
on the part of residents, along with uncertainty over
roles, and distrust between residents and program
staff. All of this made the already difficult work of
implementation even more difficult. In Plain Talk, several
sites gave up on the idea of using residents as outreach
workers and lay health educators, and instead
hired outside professionals to deliver the Plain Talk
workshops to the community.
In addition, attracting residents who could effectively
deliver the activities also presented some challenges.
During the planning phase of both initiatives, time,
interest and commitment were the primary requirements
of residents for participation. However, involvement
in implementation required residents to either
have particular skills or be willing to take the time to
develop new skills. In Plain Talk, residents needed to
be trained to facilitate the health education workshops,
while in CCYD, residents needed training in how to
interact with youth in the “developmentally appropriate”
ways that were fundamental to the initiative.
While training did take place in Plain Talk, and was
essential for developing resident capacity to support
the initiative, it took more time and resources than
expected and needed to be reinforced periodically.
However, the two Plain Talk sites that were most committed
to investing time and resources in training residents
to implement activities had the most success in
achieving the Plain Talk goals. While those sites began
their community health education workshops later
than the other sites—because they were taking the
time to train residents to serve as facilitators of those
workshops—they ultimately attracted more people
from the community to attend the workshops; and the
content of those sessions, more than in the other sites,
clearly addressed the central Plain Talk issue of protecting
sexually active teens.
3. Resident involvement in governance seems to be
the most complex and difficult form of involvement
to achieve.
In CCYD, in particular, resident involvement in governance
was interpreted by the sites as meaning resident
leadership in setting policy, allocating funds and making
critical decisions about the direction of the initiative.
While the presence of a resident-led governance
board or committee gave the lead agencies an identifiable
group of residents with which to partner and
implement initiative plans, it also presented difficult
challenges related to control and to the use of initiative
resources, including time, money and technical
assistance. There was more emphasis on this type of
resident involvement in CCYD than in Plain Talk—
while all three of the CCYD sites have worked to
implement resident-dominated governance groups,
only one of the Plain Talk sites focused on this issue—
and the following discussion draws primarily on the
CCYD experience thus far.
As is always the case in initiatives that invite residents
to share in the decision-making, there was a significant
amount of trust and relationship building that had to
go on between the residents of the target neighborhoods
and their institutional partners, including the
lead agencies, other local agencies and the outside initiators
and funders. This was the case even though the
institutions involved clearly voiced their support for
resident leadership in the initiative. Some of the need
for trust building is caused by the general mistrust that
poor residents have for institutions that are mandated
to use their resources to serve the community but
have not solved problems that the community faces.
This situation was exacerbated in several of the CCYD
29
communities because residents had been involved in
past improvement efforts initiated by outsiders (and in
some instances supported by these same local agencies),
but those efforts had fallen short of residents’
expectations and left them disappointed and skeptical.
Given these factors, the power issues that arose in the
sites, particularly early in implementation—power
struggles that were costly in terms of the initiative’s
timeline and attention to basic goals—were probably
inevitable. Trust building continues to be an ongoing
process in the CCYD sites.
A related challenge in attempting to involve residents
in governance had to do with the need for helping
them develop the skills necessary for taking on governance
roles. Few residents in the CCYD initiative came
to the governance groups with previous experience in
policymaking or organizational budgeting. The initial
gap between the skills of the professionals and those of
the residents highlighted issues of power, distrust, and
the use of time and resources. CCYD site staff were
frustrated when residents pushed for authority and
control they did not yet have the skills to exercise; and
residents, in turn, were frustrated and distrustful when
agency staff used their skills and resources to unilaterally
make critical decisions in order to push the initiative
along.
Both the local lead agencies and the project’s initiator
lacked experience in working with resident-dominated
governance groups, which inevitably added to the difficulties.
There was a great deal of uncertainty about
how and when it was appropriate to provide the
groups with direction and when it was best to let them
find their own way. As a result, the groups floundered
for a significant period—again causing frustration and
the loss of resident participants and time and
resources. Clearly, the technical assistance that was
eventually provided and proved beneficial should have
come earlier—probably beginning during the planning
period—to help the groups begin to grapple with the
governance issues they would face and to identify the
types of future technical assistance that would be most
useful for them.
It is still unclear whether the investment that the sites,
initiative designers and funders have made in resident
governance will ultimately pay off. This is something
we will continue to observe in CCYD. While some governance
groups are functioning better than others, the
groups remain very small, somewhat fragile and still
focused on attempting to establish their roles in the
initiative with lead agencies and the wider community.
At least one is seeking this legitimacy by exploring the
possibility of becoming a 501(c)(3) organization, and all
of the groups are being encouraged to strengthen their
relationships with local service delivery institutions in
order to increase their clout and stability. At this point,
however, only a small number of residents in each site
are involved in the governance groups, and the attention
paid to helping those groups function well has
detracted from concentrating on strategies for involving
residents in other meaningful ways in the initiative.
4. Lead agencies play a critical role in determining
the extent to which, and how, resident involvement
unfolds in local communities.
Although they varied in size and mission, the lead
agencies across both initiatives were generally established
institutions with solid connections in the community;
and while they shared a general commitment
to the involvement of residents in the initiatives, the
level and form of that commitment varied. These factors
were particularly important to the implementation
of resident involvement strategies in the sites.
The agencies’ connections in the communities allowed
them to use their pre-existing networks to recruit the
initial core group of residents who helped plan the initiatives
and who, at least theoretically, established a
base for ongoing resident involvement. The drawback
was that these initial residents were usually the people
already known to the lead agencies—either the “usual
suspects” who were used to getting involved in community
activities or people who lived within a geographic
area that was familiar to the agency. This kind
of first-stage recruitment was a logical and useful strategy.
It allowed the agencies to quickly develop a core
of residents with whom to begin working, and some of
30
these residents also had their own networks they could
tap to bring additional participants into the initiative.
However, the strategy also had limitations. It did not
help to promote broad involvement from the community
or attract people with a variety of perspectives.
Lead agencies found that they had to use additional
strategies and make extra efforts to involve the broader
base of residents that seems essential in a community-
wide change effort.
Once the initial planning for the initiative was over, the
lead agencies’ own institutional needs and resources
were critical in determining the role that residents
would continue to play. Agencies either helped residents
take on policymaking or activity-implementation
roles; supported their continued involvement in advisory
or other capacities; or stopped supporting the
groups altogether—in which case, the groups disbanded.
In Plain Talk, the lead agency that was most
focused on community empowerment was the only site
that involved residents in governance. In CCYD, all
three lead agencies saw resident-led governance
groups as a vehicle for helping them work more productively
with neighborhoods, and, thus, they supported
these groups’ ongoing development.
While it is very likely that the continued existence of
the CCYD resident governance groups will depend
heavily on lead agency support, the reality is that some
agencies have structural issues that work counter to
the very notion of effective resident governance. The
CCYD lead agencies range from a well-established
community-based organization to a unit of city government;
and in spite of their expressed intentions to
cede resources and decision-making power, it has
often been difficult for them to do so. In some
instances, the existence of resident-led governance
required those institutions to relinquish to residents
functions that were fundamental to their own operations,
such as budget monitoring, staff oversight and
contracting with other organizations for service delivery.
Thus, institutions’ good intentions sometimes
interfered with their own functioning, making it difficult
to follow through. In some cases, their efforts
were frowned upon or even prohibited by their boards
or other constituents. In other cases, when these agencies
wanted to cede authority to residents, it was difficult
for their bureaucracies to be responsive in a timely
and useful manner. One lead agency, for example,
was unable to provide the resident governance group
with understandable budget information about the
CCYD initiative because its system for tracking budgets
made it difficult to generate the information that
residents needed to make decisions.
5. Since at least three phases of resident involvement
seem inevitable in a community–change initiative,
better preparation for those phases could help to
alleviate some of the difficulties and facilitate the
ongoing process of implementing the initiative.
In two very different initiatives and among very different
sites, we observed three distinct phases in the
process of involving residents: an initial period of high
energy and cooperation between residents and staff, a
second phase characterized by tensions about roles and
responsibilities, and a third phase where some resolution
began to take place. Given their consistent manifestation
among the sites, these phases may be
inevitable. In fact, some of these phases may be repeated
over time in long-running initiatives—a possibility
we will be alert for in the continuing evolution of CCYD.
However inevitable these phases might be, designers of
community-change initiatives can prepare for them
and plan technical assistance strategies to intervene in
order to lessen the effects of the phases on initiative
timelines and resources and help prevent local implementation
from stalling. Initiative designers could, for
example, plan to take advantage of the good feelings
between residents and institutions early on in the initiative.
They could then begin to help residents clearly
determine how they want to be organized and involved
during the implementation phase, and identify the
technical assistance they will need to help them
achieve their goals.
31
6. The presence of an outside initiator of a local community-
change initiative creates pressures that
inevitably have an effect on resident involvement.
In both CCYD and Plain Talk, the designers (P/PV and
The Annie E. Casey Foundation) stressed that they
were providing communities with a framework and
that the sites had a great deal of freedom and autonomy
to implement the framework in accordance with
local plans. In CCYD, in particular, there has been a
great deal of emphasis on the decision-making power
of residents. However, the priorities and outside perspective
of the initiative designers have been a powerful
influence on the local events.
First, the frameworks themselves brought an outside
agenda and approach to the community. In Plain Talk,
the central message of protecting sexually active teens
was controversial in several sites; and in CCYD, while
residents agreed with the overall goals of the initiative,
the approaches laid out in the design were not always
a perfect fit with the desires and values of the residents.
However, the initiators’ role as creator of the
design—and in some cases, as technical assistance
provider, funder and evaluator—gave them significant
leverage in resolving these issues with local residents
and institutions.
In addition, communities faced externally imposed
timelines for accomplishing tasks and reaching milestones.
These timelines had both positive and negative
effects. In both initiatives, the relatively short planning
periods, with concrete tasks that had to be completed,
helped contribute to the high energy and sense of
accomplishment that marked the first phase of the
sites’ efforts. The Annie E. Casey Foundation provided
ample technical assistance to the Plain Talk sites during
this period, which helped sites and residents stay
on track and deal efficiently with challenges that arose.
Later in the initiatives, however, the externally imposed
timelines and benchmarks tended to complicate sites’
efforts to involve residents in implementation. Lead
agencies’ accountability to outside funders inevitably
affected agencies’ relationships with residents. There
was a tension between the time and resources involved
in developing resident capacity and the necessity of
meeting funders’ benchmarks. In CCYD, lead agencies
at times made major decisions about the initiative that
the resident governance groups felt were their responsibility
to make. In Plain Talk, several sites decided to
use professional health educators instead of residents
to deliver the Plain Talk message in the community
because they felt they could not spend the time and
resources to train residents and still meet the requirements
of the funder’s timeline.
The CCYD initiative recently received funding to continue
operations through 2001, and we intend to continue
following the issue of resident involvement in the
project sites as well as in other community–change initiatives
around the country. Central to our ongoing
investigation will be the following questions: (1) Can
the developmental phases of resident involvement be
better managed with more experience and information?
Do the phases repeat themselves in long-term
efforts like CCYD? (2) Are there ways to lessen the
inevitable tensions between the goals of outside funders
and designers and the time and resources that
meaningful resident involvement appears to require?
(3) Ultimately, is there a significant and long-term payoff—
for the communities and for funders—as a result
of the time and resources they are investing in resident
involvement strategies?
32
Endnotes
1 CCYD is funded by a consortium including: The Ford
Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ewing Marion
Kauffman Foundation, U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, The Commonwealth Fund, Charles Stewart Mott
Foundation, Charles Hayden Foundation, Surdna Foundation,
The Pinkerton Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Altman
Foundation, The Clark Foundation and Merk Family Fund.
2 The three initial sites are in Austin, Texas; St. Petersburg,
Florida; and Savannah, Georgia. In 1997 and 1998, operations
began in three additional sites: Kansas City, Missouri; the
Lower East Side of New York City; and Staten Island, New
York.
3 P/PV was made particularly aware of this issue in the late
1980s after the initial positive impacts from its STEP project—
the Summer Training and Education Program—faded in
the face of participants’ unchanged social environment. STEP
was a research demonstration initiated in 1984 to test the
effects of a two-summer remediation, work and life skills
intervention on the lives of 14- and 15-year-olds from poor
urban families, who were already seriously behind academically.
The program had impressive impacts on youth during
the two years they were enrolled; but once they left STEP
and returned to their regular school and life routines, they
experienced the same school dropout, college entrance,
teenage pregnancy and employment rates as control group
youth who had not participated in STEP. See Gary Walker and
Frances Vilella-Velez. Anatomy of a Demonstration: The
Summer Training and Education Program (STEP) from
Pilot through Replication and Postprogram Impacts.
Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures, 1992.
4 The two CCYD sites that received significantly lower levels of
operational support—including technical assistance, direct
grants and research effort—did not develop strong governance
boards. We have not included accounts of those two
sites in this paper because we lack important information that
would allow us to compare and contrast them to the other
sites.
5 The lead agencies recognized that service providers would be
needed to support and implement some elements of the communities’
plans, and thus, two of the sites regularly kept local
agencies informed about the CCYD efforts during the planning
period.
6 The term governance board is widely used in community initiatives
to refer to advisory groups, policymaking groups, or
groups that are convened as a way of disseminating information
to the community. In this paper, we use the term to refer
exclusively to groups that have the authority to set policy,
allocate funds and make crucial governance decisions.
7 Plain Talk sites did not have as strong a commitment to resident
governance as the CCYD sites. In large part, this was a
function of the different emphasis put on resident governance
in the two initiatives. When the Plain Talk advisory groups
began to face difficulties, staff in many of the sites decided to
focus on ways to involve residents in activities or outreach
instead of governance. We discuss these roles in a later section.
8 Max Weber. “Bureaucracy,” in From Max Weber: Essays in
Sociology, pp. 196-244. 1946. Edited by H.H. Gerth and C.
Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press.
9 In all but one of the Plain Talk sites, residents were hired as
staff to facilitate community outreach and education.
Although most of the sites hired one or two residents, one of
the sites was fully staffed by residents. In addition, in three
Plain Talk sites, between five and 10 residents received
stipends to conduct regular outreach and education.
Malish & Pagonis

Public/Private Ventures
One Commerce Square
2005 Market Street, Suite 900
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tel: (215) 557-4400
Fax:(215) 557-4469
Url: http://www.ppv.org
Summer 1999


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