More About the Democratizing Development Program


Community-Centered and Resilient: Democratizing Development at the Towards a More Resilient Place Convening

On September 19-21, 2016, Neighborhood Funders Group and the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions hosted a three-day funders' convening on place-based philanthropy. This gathering in Aspen, Colorado, provided an in-depth exploration of best practices for philanthropy's role in improving the well-being of people and communities. For the full program, plenary videos, and more, please visit our event page here.

The Democratizing Development Program held a session during the convening, highlighting and lifting up on-the-ground solutions in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color:

Community-Centered and Resilient: Democratizing Development

Across the country, we are witnessing community residents creating a more equitable vision for urban development, one not driven by profit, speculation and the influx of new corporate capital, but centered on community needs. This type of “democratized” community-driven development is led by current residents holding public representatives, public agencies, and private investors accountable.

How are community organizing groups building resilience during the storm of gentrification, displacement, and scarcity of economic opportunity? How are communities working to have a direct role in creating and controlling truly sustainable development models?  What favorable policies and communications strategies are being used to address development without displacement and other economic opportunities? How are communities discussing the connections to police violence, gentrification, and development? How can community groups and funders work better together to address the need and funding gap to achieve community goals?

This session explored the challenges, solutions, and opportunities in stabilizing communities and advancing projects and policies that create just and more equitable cities. 


  • Jonathon Bix, Executive Director, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
  • Brandon King, Organizing Coordinator, Cooperative Jackson
  • Dawn Phillips, Program Director, Right to the City Coalition, Causa Justa :: Just Cause