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A Community Builders Tool Kit

The "Community Builder's Tool Kit" is a result of Phase I of a study at Institute for Democratic Renewal, School of Politics and Economics, Claremont Graduate University. Phase I of the project consisted of an examination of the most effective sustained efforts by multi-cultural, interracial groups engaged in collective actions aimed at problem-solving and enrichment that create new or strengthen already existing social networks, institutions and assets resulting in new capacities for action and support, new quality of life in the community, and the renewing of democracy.

John Maguire, the project director, and two Claremont Graduate University's School of Politics and Economics research associates winnowed down to a manageable size a list of 502 sites that had been assembled from information obtained from The President's Initiative on Race; the Ford Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation; and The National Conference for Community and Justice as embodying "promising practices" in interracial, multicultural community building. Using an initial meeting of the project advisory committee in October 1998, the list was further pared down to 37 sites that merited a closer look. Just before the 1998 year-end holidays, the research assistants and Maguire conducted hour-long telephone interviews with directors of these 37 projects, finally settling on fourteen of these for site visits. Project study teams led by Dr. Maguire visited each of the fourteen projects for two to four days each. Some sites merited two visits.

As the field studies progressed, some trends and patterns began to emerge. First, no matter what their focus-jobs, housing, health, education-each project was in essence working on a response to the legacy of racism (where some groups assert privilege and others are oppressed) and to the worsening of economic disparity (the "haves" moving ever farther from the "have nots").

Second, people we met in the field repeatedly described their projects as "community building" efforts-deliberate, intentional, persistent attempts to move beyond racism and class divisions to virtually reinvent their communities as inclusive, respectful, cooperative, and proudly diverse partners in the larger society around them.

And third, it became apparent that these communities were doing the work of democracy. They were organizing individuals to create a collective demand for equitable economic, educational, employment and other opportunities; they were experimenting with governance structures that embody equitable representation and decision making; they were making use of the power that lies in multiple voices to take actions and to encourage others to take actions. They were making "majority rules" work for them. So these three key elements - acknowledging and undoing racism, building a sense of community, and doing the work of democracy - became the guideposts of the project's inquiry and remain the key theme or building blocks of the entire effort.

These fourteen projects were chosen for their variety, each tackling a different subject or challenge; for the different approaches used to address racial and cultural issues; for the geographic diversity, including cities and hamlets in every major region of the nation; and for the number and variety of races and groups included in each. Despite obstacles and inequalities that impede constructive work-structural poverty, racial and ethnic tensions, economic inequality, cultural and social disparities-community building can flourish based upon lessons learned from promising practices already in operation but too little known.

Phase I concluded this fall with the publication and widespread distribution of a practical "Tool Kit" describing how to establish and sustain racial, cultural cooperative activity, resulting from the selection of "best practices" sites, in-depth field work, and the capturing in this readily accessible handbook of the lessons learned. The do's and don'ts have been identified in the Tool Kit and can be taught and learned. "A Community Builder's Tool Kit: A Primer for Revitalizing Democracy from the Ground Up" is being nationally distributed and can be requested at no charge in any or all of the following languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. A book-length volume reflecting four years of intense, widespread and focused involvement with community builders is planned.

The 14 Project Partners
The Center for Third World Organizing
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
El Centro de la Raza
Metropolitan Human Rights Center (Portland, OR (they don't appear to have a website))
Multicultural Center of NW Arkansas (Springfield and Rogers, AR (they don't appear to have a website))
Multicultural Collaborative (Los Angeles (they don't appear to have a website))
Project Change (San Francisco, CA)
Project Change (Albuquerque, NM)
Project Change (El Paso, TX)
Project Change (Knoxville, TN)
Project Change (Valdosta, GA)
Samuel Fels Cluster Office (Philadelphia, PA)
San Francisco Organizing Project (San Francisco, CA (they don't appear to have a website))
Workforce Alliance (Blytheville, Arkansas (they don't appear to have a website))

These are the major Sponsoring & Helping Organizations
The Institute for Democratic Renewal (Claremont, CA)
Claremont Renewing Democracy Initiative (Claremont, CA)
The Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative (San Francisco, CA)
Center for Assessment and Policy Development (Bala Cynwyd, PA)
Southern Education Foundation
Study  Circles Center
Aspen Insitute Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives (especially see Evaluation of Comprehensive Community Initiatives)
The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond
Healing the Heart of Diversity
We Interrupt This Message
Chapin Hall Center for Children (U of Chicago)
Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD)
The Levi-Strauss Foundation
Benton Foundation
The President's 1998 Initiative on Race
National Conference for Community and Justice
Ford Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation

To obtain hard copies of the Tool Kit, in different languages, please visit The price is $1.50 per copy.

Email your comments to: John Maguire or Carole Coley.
"Renewing Democracy Through Interracial/Multicultural Community Building"
School of Politics & Economics - Institute for Democratic Renewal
McManus 225 - 170 East Tenth Street - Claremont, California 91711-6163
Tel: 909.607.1473 - Fax: 909.607.9221

Click here for contact information for the 14 Partners

For purposes of our search engine, the list of 14 partners is reproduced below as of 10/29/01.

Project Partners

Center for Third World Organizing
Mark Toney, Executive Director
1218 East 21st Street
Oakland, CA 94606
Phone: (510) 533-7583 - Fax: (510) 533-0923

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
John Barros, Executive Director
504 Dudley Street
Roxbury, MA 02119
Phone: (617) 442-9670 - Fax: (617) 427-8047

El Centro De La Raza
Roberto Maestas, Director
2524 16th Avenue, South
Seattle, WA 98144
Phone: (206) 329-9442 - Fax: (206) 726-1529

Metropolitan Human Rights Center
Amalia Alarc–n-Gaddie, Executive Director
1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Room 516
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (503) 823-5136
Fax: (503) 823-0119

Multicultural Center of NW Arkansas
Diana Shiell, Executive Director
614 East Emma, 231 Box 22
Springdale, AR 72765
Phone: (501) 927-1111 - Fax: (501) 927-0911

Multicultural Collaborative
Bong Hwan Kim, Executive Director
1010 South Flower Street, Suite 304
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone: (213) 748-2105 - Fax: (213) 748-3143

Project Change
Ms. Shirley Strong, Executive Director
Post Office Box 29919
San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone: (415) 561-4880 - Fax: (415) 561-4875

Project Change (Albuquerque)
Diana Dorn-Jones, Leadership Team
P. O. Box 25242
Albuquerque, NM 87125
Phone: (505) 574-8867 - Fax: (505) 764-9121

Project Change (El Paso)
Patricia S. Bylicki, Administrative Assistant
1918 Texas Avenue
El Paso, TX 79907
Phone: (915) 522-2311 - Fax: (915) 522-7921

Project Change (Knoxville)
Saudia Williams, Executive Director
3615 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37914
Phone: (423) 522-7111 - Fax: (423) 546-5986

Project Change (Valdosta)
Frank Morman, Executive Director
807 N. Patterson Street
Valdosta, GA 31601
Phone: (912) 245-3872 - Fax: (912) 245-3873

Samuel Fels Cluster Office
Jan Gillespie, Fels Cluster Leader
3000 St. Vincent Street
Philadelphia, PA 19149
Phone: (215) 335-5037 - Fax: (215) 335-5963

San Francisco Organizing Project
Bob Untiedt, Organizer
995 Market Street, Suite 1220
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 995-9898 - Fax: (415) 995-9899

Workforce Alliance
Sam Scruggs, Executive Director
c/o Mississippi County Arkansas
Economic Opportunity Comm.
Post Office Box 1289
Blytheville, AR 72316-1289
Phone: (870) 532-2348 - Fax: (870) 532-2625

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