Race, Gender and Justice in Community Development: Reflections by Nancy O. Andrews

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Today, with five years of hindsight, it’s fair to ask: What would we do differently? What would we add to our original vision? I can answer that without ambiguity: I would add racial and gender equity more thoroughly into our vision, our paradigm and our practice.


Nancy O. Andrews, President and CEO of the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), is out with a new piece, A Hole in Our Vision: Race, Gender and Justice in Community Development.

Five years ago, Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, published by LIIF and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, spurred a host of conversations and spawned new efforts to shape the future of community development. As we take stock of how things have changed and what we’ve learned in that time and the answer is: A lot. But as we ask ourselves what must still be done, the answer is: A lot more.

Ms. Andrews’ chapter appears in the newly released issue of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Community Development Investment Review. In it, she calls on the field to build a three-legged stool built on people, place and justice as the basis for the sector’s work. By talking about what was missed, we can move forward to advancing a more complete vision of building places of opportunity for all.

Other chapters in the Investment Review explore ideas and innovations that grew out of the initial What Works call for cross-sector approaches to addressing poverty.

  • The Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explain in their own words how and why they came together to fund the Strong, Prosperous, And Resilient Communities (SPARCC) initiative. SPARCC recognizes that our nation’s most significant challenges cannot be tackled in isolation, but must knit together racial equity, health and climate resiliency to create places where all people thrive.
  • Another chapter, authored by Citi Foundation President Brandee McHale takes a closer look at the Partners in Progress initiative, a two-year, $5 million pilot program that invested in 14 community-based organizations efforts to demonstrate how the Community Quarterback model can lead catalytic change. The Investment Review also includes six case studies exploring the opportunities and challenges of leading community-driven, multi-sector collaborations.

More ideas and the entire issue of Community Development Investment Review can be read here.