Community Capacity Building

Community Examples

Identify and Cultivate Leadership

Rancho Cucamonga, CA
The City of Rancho Cucamonga has institutionalized its Healthy RC initiative within the city manager’s office with three facilitative outreach staff. Healthy RC has connected city leaders and officials to local, regional and national networks and provided capacity-building training and resources to stakeholders, including residents. It provides direct opportunities for open dialogue with city officials for low-income adult residents (via Campeones para la Comunidad) and youth (via Healthy RC Youth Leaders). Both groups have conducted assessments and directly engaged in healthy-policy change efforts, including the development of The Road Map for a Healthy Future in Rancho Cucamonga. For more information, please read the full story.

Desoto, Marshall and Tate Counties, MS
Facilitated by the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC) partnership in Northwest Mississippi developed leadership and capacity in Desoto, Marshall and Tate counties. It established diverse partnerships in each county, and provided timely and customized seminars, trainings and technical assistance for various types of constituencies as part of a regional learning network. HKHC also supported community members’ participation in local and regional health councils, the Mississippi Food Policy Council and in national initiatives such as Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties. Established leaders have become champions and won new policies and facilities. Read the full story.

Chattanooga, TN
In Chattanooga, Step ONE facilitated a healthy community partnership named Grow Healthy Together Chattanooga with the purpose of including and lifting the voices of more community members and leaders in the East and South Chattanooga communities. Strong facilitative leadership from staff and technical assistance from partners helped to establish and provide varied training for two resident-led Leadership Advisory Councils. These councils developed priorities in each of the targeted communities and achieved many policy and environmental changes. Please read the full story.

Improve the Quality of Relationships

Buffalo, NY
The Buffalo Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC) partnership has used a variety of methods to strengthen its relationships with city staff and community members. Examples include engaging them in direct experiences in the community; producing quality assessments and policy briefs that help them do their work; using targeted sessions and tours at policy summits; helping train community members to participate more effectively in city meetings and processes; offering youth and family sessions at public meetings; and sending elected officials to national conferences for inspiration, networking and fun. These relationships have boosted participation in the local Complete Streets coalition and food policy council and have improved policy implementation. Read the full story.

Omaha, NE
Live Well Omaha’s (LWO) relationship building with new partners brought vital sources of energy and diverse perspectives that enabled it to evolve as a collaborative. Underlying the strong organizational ties were trusting, reciprocal bonds among key individuals who worked closely together. Over time, LWO also developed mutually supportive relationships with funders and leveraged meaningful connections with peers outside Omaha to launch new projects and refine approaches to local challenges. Read the full story.

Knox County, TN
Knox County HKHC created opportunities for residents who emigrated from Burundi to share their eating traditions with African-American and Latino residents to build social ties and help address cultural misunderstandings in a neighborhood experiencing ethnic transition. It arranged access to a vacant gymnasium for the children of Guatemalan residents to address their concerns about safe places to play and build trust. When conflict threatened to strain relationships, they found a way to shift their focus in a productive way; build additional relationships, including with youth, at a local elementary school; and significantly advance their Safe Routes to School effort. Read the full story.

Stay Flexible and Continuously Adapt

Spartanburg, SC
The departure of a key champion in the City of Woodruff (Spartanburg County) and subsequent dynamics made it difficult to gain agreements from all property owners along a proposed and popular greenway project, forcing the return of an important grant. Some partners regrouped and found two other sources of funds to advance a nearly mile-long section of the greenway, connecting a park and school with trailheads and parking at each end. They are also introducing health issues and supports into the city’s new priority, a Main Street program. Read the full story.

Jefferson County, AL
Despite hard economic times, county bankruptcy and a state takeover of the public school system, the Health Action Partnership (HAP) in Jefferson County seized the opportunity generated by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant to hire new staff, restructure to formalize the roles of its members and create a new framework to increase its scope dramatically. After a tornado devastated communities throughout the county and the recovery effort strained leading partners’ resources, HAP incorporated livable-community principles into local construction projects and used a federal TIGER grant to advance projects from the trail system master plan. Read the full story.

Create Structure(s) and Multiple Paths to What You Value Most

Somerville, MA
Shape Up Somerville pursued greater engagement of immigrants and youth by creating structured initiatives with established community partners who serve these groups, and by supporting them with contracts to support their time and help build their capacity. In addition to accomplishing its engagement goals, this approach resulted in increased support for a mobile farmers’ market, created a health and civic engagement ESL curriculum, improved park design and established new systems within city government to contract with community-based organizations in the future. Read the full story.

Benton County, OR
Benton County’s Creciendo en Salud (CeS) initiative, which translates to “growing in health,” improved engagement of low-income and Latino residents by creating a Health Equity Alliance. The health department established a network of county-funded health navigators who provide leadership training and advocacy opportunities for disenfranchised residents. Their experience led to the Corvallis City Council’s Public Participation Task Force, which is revising the city’s current processes and structures into a more effective, inclusive, and efficient community engagement program. CeS also helped Corvallis Parks and Recreation to better reach low-income families. Read the full story.

Use Careful Assessment to Engage and Build Leadership

Denver, CO
Through a diverse array of assessment projects and deployment of 10 promotoras, Denver’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities partnership trained emerging resident leaders, built new networks of relationships, increased meeting attendance and participation, and unearthed new problem-solving methods. Efforts to support inclusive decision making and build relationships with agency partners secured powerful results in the city’s southwest neighborhoods, particularly in parks and urban agriculture. The partnership influenced timing, design and investment in plans, policies and capital projects. Read the full story.

Charleston, WV
Partners in the KEYS 4 HealthyKids (KEYS) initiative in Charleston conducted a variety of assessment activities that ultimately built a deeper understanding of health issues among community members and leaders, sparked a public dialogue about obesity as more than solely a medical concern, and developed new skills and confidence among youth. The KEYS Youth Council assessed city parks, developed recommendations for the city council’s parks and recreation committee, and influenced the Charleston Parks Department’s prioritization of park maintenance and capital improvements. Read the full story.

Share the Money and Opportunity

Milwaukee, WI
Led by United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee (UNCOM), the Milwaukee Childhood Obesity Prevention Project shared resources intentionally to build capacity and momentum toward its goals. It funded 10 demonstration projects in partnering agencies and invited partners to participate in listening sessions, recognition ceremonies and community-wide physical activity events. UNCOM shared grant funding with the Next Door Foundation and Neu-Life Community Development to support youth-centered capacity building and healthy eating initiatives. Read the full story.

Washington, DC
The Summit Health Institute for Research and Education (SHIRE) contracted with DC Hunger Solutions to advocate for increased funding for after-school meals and with Groundwork Anacostia River DC to advocate for funding of a Park Rangers pilot program. SHIRE supported partners to attend national Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities grantee meetings and provided scholarships for Ward 7 and 8 residents to participate in a local conference as part of its commitment to developing leaders. Read the full story.