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Essential Capacities for Equitable Communities

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An analysis of the organizational capacities that are uniquely required to build community power— including knowledge, resources, patterns of thinking and being.

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What Is Needed to Build Community Power? Essential Capacities for Equitable Communities

OVERVIEW An analysis of the organizational capacities that are uniquely required to build community power— including knowledge, resources, patterns of thinking and being.


Key questions

  1. What are the essential capacities for building power?
  2. What are the types and combinations of capacities required to transform community systems and conditions
  3. How are these capacities manifesting in local communities?


Key findings

  1. Among the capacities for building power are three core capacities: the capacity to organize communities, deepen equity, and cultivate leadership and leaders.
  2. The core capacities are reinforced by others, including the capacity to nurture and sustain networks; generate financial resources; change culture and narratives; carry out research, advocacy, and policy implementation, regulation, and law; and provide services and mutual aid.
  3. These capacities for building power are overlapping, interconnected, mutually reinforcing, and constantly changing. Capacities shape and spill into each other; as such, no single framework or list captures the multifaceted and complex ways community power-building organizations (CPBOs) embody these capacities.

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