From the Field

Universal Design Means More Livable Communities for Everyone

By Deb Bokamper, Owner of Ageless Design, and Vito Lucido, Independent Living Services Coordinator at Delta Center for Independent Living and Chair of the St. Charles County Housing Team While the United States is home to many fine housing developments, there […]

New Use Tax Revenue Should Support Affordable Housing

By Chris Willcox, CBN Practicum Student Housing is increasingly difficult to obtain for our nation’s poorest families. The federal government defines affordable housing as shelter that costs no more 30 percent of one’s income. In its 2017 Out of Reach […]

Across The Country, Some Neighborhoods Are Thriving And Some Struggling, But What About The Ones That Fall Somewhere In The Middle?

By Rep. Dwight Evans, U.S. Representative, Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District and Paul C. Brophy, Principal, Brophy & Reilly LLC This column was originally published in the Huffington Post. Researchers at Reinvestment Fund in Philadelphia report that 48 percent of city residents in […]

The Many Factors That Lead to Lifelong Health

By Robert Hughes, President and CEO, Missouri Foundation for Health This column was originally published on Missouri Foundation for Health’s website. I don’t think I’m biased when I say that we at the Missouri Foundation for Health have an exceptional organizational […]

How We Subsidize Spread-Out Places Via Utilities

By Richard Bose, Electrical Engineer and Vice President of St. Louis Strong This column was originally published on Take a look at your utility bills. Is there any charge related to the amount of infrastructure it takes to serve you? […]

Fighting for Community Development

By U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill Here in Missouri I’m proud to see the great work our citizens do to help one another and improve our communities. I see Missourians and their organizations ensuring our senior citizens remain an important part […]

Bike Share is Coming to St. Louis—But it Needs Community Input

By Liza Farr, Associate Project Manager, Economic Development at Bi-State Development Ever been stuck in traffic? Had trouble parking? Been too far away from your destination to take transit? If you’re thinking “yes” to at least one of these, I’ve […]

Generational Poverty: We Can Do Something About It

By Neal Richardson, Assistant Vice President, Assistant Director of Asset Management at U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation Like asthma, sickle cell, and diabetes, poverty has been passed down for generations in the African-American community. Unlike physical illnesses, we have failed […]

Food Access in St. Louis: We Need Better Policies

By Melissa Vatterott, Chair, St. Louis Food Policy Coalition (STLFPC) Over one-quarter of St. Louis City residents are food insecure: they face uncertain access to nutritious food. An even higher percentage face low food access, which means they lack grocery […]

Trees—Yes, Trees—Are Part Of Community Building

By Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO of Beyond Housing This column was originally published on Chris’s blog. When most folks think about community building, they think about housing, health, education, economic development, and jobs. Rarely do you hear anyone speak about […]

Public-Private Partnerships Make Good on Trump’s Housing Promises

By Vincent R. Bennett, President of McCormack Baron Salazar This column was originally published by The Hill. During his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump declared that “our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.” That […]

A Comprehensive Plan for the City of St. Louis: 70 Years is Too Long to Wait

By Robert Lewis, FAICP, CEcD, Principal at Development Strategies Public safety was a foremost topic of our St. Louis mayoral and aldermanic candidates in this spring’s elections. But there were also undercurrents about development and developer incentives in the Central […]

City Needs to Invest in Neighborhood Capacity, Not Just Bricks and Mortar

By Glenn Burleigh, Community Activist in the City of St. Louis Last week, City of St. Louis voters passed Proposition 1, which establishes a 1/2 cent Economic Development Sales Tax that is expected to raise $20 million annually. The tax’s […]

Our Communities Need Us to Fight Missouri State Senate Bill 285

By Kimberly McKinney, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis, and Sal Martinez, Executive Director of North Newstead Association This column is partially adapted from a letter that Kimberly McKinney sent out about Senate Bill 285 earlier this month. […]

Closing the City’s Growing Wealth Gap

By Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Director of the Racial Wealth Divide Project at the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), and Jason Purnell, Associate Professor at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University This column was originally published in The St. Louis […]

Where Do St. Louis City Mayoral Candidates Stand On Affordable Housing?

Candidate Responses from the February 22nd Mayoral Forum at the Sheldon Question: A fourth of African-American families in the city spend more than 50 percent of their monthly income on housing. The need for affordable housing in the city is […]

St. Louis City Mayoral Candidates on Community Development Issues

Select Candidate Responses from the February 22nd Mayoral Forum at the Sheldon On February 22nd, 2017, CBN partnered with nine regional initiatives to host a two-hour mayoral forum at the Sheldon. Transcribed here are select responses to forum questions that are […]

Let’s Get Rid of the Words “Property” and “Manager”

By Frankie Blackburn, co-founder of Trusted Space Partners This column was originally published in the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog. One of my first jobs as a young housing professional in the 1980s at a local public housing authority was to […]

Protecting the Missouri Historic Preservation Tax Credit Means Protecting Community Revitalization

By Bill Hart, Executive Director of the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation (Missouri Preservation) Through my work with the non-profit Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation, I am asked almost daily about funding possibilities for historic buildings. A few grants are […]

Aldermen Should Protect Current Language Of Board Bill 227

By Sal Martinez, CBN Board President (representing CBN’s Board of Directors) and Executive Director of North Newstead Association The Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis (CBN) recognizes that the City of St. Louis is facing a sizeable opportunity to […]

Wanted: Development Policies for a More Equitable St. Louis

By Andrew Arkills, Data Analyst and Community Leader In May of 2016, the City of St. Louis released a detailed report on tax incentives. Since then, we have seen few proposals for more equitable policies. For all the talk of applying racial […]

Measuring the Benefits of the City’s Tax Incentives

By Otis Williams, Executive Director of the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) This column was originally published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The City of St. Louis, under Mayor Francis Slay’s direction, commissioned an independent study of all incentives offered throughout […]

A Holistic, Community-Based Approach to Health: Addressing Toxic Stress and Trauma

By Heidi B. Miller, M.D Dr. Heidi Miller is a primary care physician and policy advocate who has focused her career on assuring high quality, trauma-informed, equitable access to healthcare for our most vulnerable patients. She trained at Yale University […]

Pooled Purchasing: Leveraging Economies Of Scale For Efficiency And Impact

By Constance Siu Constance Siu is Master of Social Work candidate at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis concentrating in Social and Economic Development (Domestic). Prior to attending the Brown School in 2015, she […]

All Low- and Moderate-Income Areas Are Not Created Equal

By Mike Eggleston This article was originally published in the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’s quarterly newsletter, Bridges. Mike is a Senior Community Development Specialist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In this role, he provides financial […]

Immigrants Can Help to Revitalize Inner Cities in the 21st Century

By Cyril D. Loum Cyril D. Loum is the Executive Director of Caring Ministries, Inc. (CMI). He has been actively involved in working with the development of the St. Louis community since the beginning of 2011, after he graduated with […]

Crystallizing A Multi-Faceted Approach To Community Development

By Sylvester Brown, Jr. This column was originally published on the author’s blog. Sylvester Brown, Jr. is a writer, community activist and the executive director of the Sweet Potato Project, a St. Louis-based program dedicated to teaching at-risk youth entrepreneurial […]

St. Louis Needs More Cross-Community Conversation

By Kevin McKinney Kevin McKinney is the Executive Director of the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO). He has eighteen years of experience in housing and urban development. Prior to joining SLACO, Kevin spent nine years as Mayor and […]

The REAL Rental Housing Issue

By Alan Mallach This column was originally published in the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog. Alan Mallach is a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress in Washington, D.C. A city planner, advocate and writer, he is nationally known for […]

Modern-Day Redlining in Communities of Color

By Elisabeth Risch and Jackie Hutchinson This column was originally published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on August 18th, 2016. To view the original article, click here. Elisabeth Risch is the Director of Research and Education at the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and […]

5 Reasons Why CDCs Should Communicate the Health Impact of Their Work

This column was originally published by the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) on June 5th, 2015. To view the original article, click here. By Kavya Sekar Kavya Sekar is Master of Public Policy Candidate at Duke University Sanford School of […]

Augmented Reality and the Future of Community Development

By Gary Newcomer Gary Newcomer is the newest addition to the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis (CBN). As a native of South St. Louis City, Gary has always had a passion for exploring and strengthening the rich fabric of neighborhoods […]

The Public Sector’s Role in Community Development

By Stephen Acree Stephen Acree has been with Rise Community Development (Rise) since 1999 and has been its President and Executive Director since late 2002. He brings over 25 years of experience in community development and considerable knowledge and experience […]

Our Responsibility to the Neighbors of North St. Louis City

By Claire Wolff Claire Wolff is the Director of Community Development at Grace Hill Settlement House and a board member at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and Perennial. She previously served as the Community Engagement Specialist at Old North […]

City Should Meet Legal Requirement to Fund Affordable Housing

By Dr. Molly Metzger Dr. Molly Metzger is an assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University and a board member at the Metro St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council. She received her B.A. in Women’s Studies from […]

A Turning Point in Community Development: Invest STL

By Mary McMurtrey Mary McMurtrey is the Director of Community Engagement for the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation. She previously served as President of the Gateway Center for Giving (formerly the Metropolitan Association for Philanthropy) for over six years. Prior […]

Achieving Equity Through School and Neighborhood Integration

By Christie Huck Christie Huck is Executive Director of City Garden Montessori Charter School. With a background in community organizing and social activism, Christie entered the education reform movement as a parent and community member concerned about education equity and […]

Pagedale Pride Grows Here: Importance of Neighborhood Branding

By Stephanie Co Stephanie Co serves as Special Assistant to the President/CEO at Beyond Housing and currently facilitates the Pagedale Marketing Team. She was worked in community development in St. Louis since 2010. She is a graduate of Washington University […]

“The Least of These”: Life-on-Life Community Development

By Dr. Terry M. Goodwin Dr. Terry M. Goodwin is the founder and Executive Director of Sun Ministries. He lives and works in the Hyde Park neighborhood of North St. Louis with his wife Suzette. Together they are leading a […]

Great Neighborhoods Are Needed to Attract Millennial Workers: Cortex and NGA Belong Together

By Dennis Lower Dennis Lower is president and CEO of Cortex. The Cortex Innovation Community is a 200-acre urban innovation district that is a 10-minute drive from the proposed location for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in St. Louis. Cortex is […]

Community Development in St. Louis: A Call for More Regional Collaboration

By Jenny Ryan, Jenny is the Community Development Specialist for the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis. She has a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Real Estate Development with a concentration in Community Development from Saint Louis University. […]

Rebuilding the Dream

By Melvin White Melvin White is the President and CEO of Beloved Streets of America. He is a graduate of Hazelwood East High School, a 4-year Veteran of the United States Air Force, EMT licensed, and 20-year United States Postal […]

It’s About Good Governance

By Chris Krehmeyer, President/CEO, Beyond Housing Can we please press the pause button on the rush to dismantle municipalities in the County?  Pause does not mean change should not occur.  It does not mean past practices of some municipalities are […]

NGA West in North STL is environmentally just

By John Hickey John Hickey is the Missouri Chapter Director for the Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental organization that works for a clean energy transition, public health, economic justice, and land preservation. This op-ed originally appeared in the St. Louis […]

Energy-Efficient Affordable Housing: An Opportunity We Must Not Miss

By Thomas Pickel Thomas Pickel is the Executive Director of DeSales Community Housing Corporation and President of the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis. A version of this op-ed originally appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In response to […]

Fulfilling grand plans for riverside development

By Mark G. Schulte Mark G. Schulte is a lawyer with Schulte Law Office LLC. He holds a degree in Urban Studies from Washington University and a Juris Doctor degree from St. Louis University School of Law. His efforts on […]

It’s Time to Steal the Indy Cultural Trail

By Alex Ihnen Alex is the owner and editor of He earned a B.A. in Journalism and Masters in Public Affairs at Indiana University and has studied in Adelaide, Australia and Perugia, Italy. Alex can be found on Twitter […]

Why child development accounts are smart

By Jason Q. Purnell and Michael Sherraden Jason Q. Purnell leads the For The Sake of All project and is an Assistant Professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.  Michael  Sherraden is a Distinguished University Professor at […]

The Leslie Knope Guide for New Mayors

This commentary originally appeared on the Community Progress Blog on November 4th. To view the original article, click here. By Kim S. Graziani Kim Graziani serves as Vice President and Director of National Technical Assistance for the Center for Community […]

Do our streets match our communities’ values?

By Marielle Brown, AICP Marielle is a member of the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Manager at Trailnet, where she manages and contributes to all aspects of the planning process, from outreach […]

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Facing the Dilemmas

By Paul Dribin For 30 years Paul Dribin worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in which he assumed leadership positions in the fields of Public Housing, Housing Management, Housing Development, and Section 8 housing. While working for […]

Community Development Needs to be Part of the Response to Ferguson

By Todd Swanstrom Todd Swanstrom is the Des Lee Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and co-author of Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-First Century. In Governor Jay Nixon’s words, the first […]

Fulfilling the Promise of the Fair Housing Act

By Will Jordan Will Jordan is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council (EHOC), which works to ensure equal access to housing for all people through education, counseling, investigation, and enforcement. EHOC was recognized […]

Viable Student Transfer Program, Aid to Troubled Home Districts Not Mutually Exclusive

D.J. Wilson is a former staff writer for the Riverfront Times, the Houston Press and the Houston Post. He currently freelances for St. Louis Magazine and His weekly radio show, Collateral Damage, was on KDHX from 2001 to 2015 […]

A New Stadium, A New Opportunity

By David Stiffler, Community Affairs Manager, Equifax Stadium financing is controversial. The idea of the public shouldering considerable financial burden to attract or retain a single owner or wealthy group of investors remains distasteful to many.  Adding to negative public […]

The Crime Rise in St. Louis: What We Know, Don’t Know, and Can Do to Stop it

By Richard Rosenfeld, Richard Rosenfeld is the Founders Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.  He is a Fellow and past President of the American Society of Criminology and currently serves on the […]

A Quiet Supreme Court Ruling Affirms that Home Matters

By Chris Krehmeyer, President/CEO, Beyond Housing The week of June 22nd had two blockbuster Supreme Court rulings that reverberated across the country.  During what will surely prove to be a historical week, the court affirmed the Affordable Care Act and […]

We Need New Sources of Funding for Community Development

By Todd Swanstrom, Des Lee Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy, University of Missouri St. Louis and Author of recently released Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-First Century (3rd edition); and Karl Guenther, Community Development Specialist, University of Missouri […]

Parks and Greenways Have the Power to Transform Communities

By Todd Antoine Todd Antoine, AICP is the Director for Planning at the Great Rivers Greenway District in St. Louis, Missouri. The primary focus of his work is to develop and implement The River Ring, a regional interconnected system of […]

Let’s Make Good Governance the Goal in Municipal Reform

By Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO of Beyond Housing As a region we have talked for many years about the number of municipalities in St. Louis County and how it just seems like too many. Ironically, one of the only […]

A Prescription for Adequate Housing and Comunity Development in Ferguson, St. Louis

By Jim Roos In 1971 Jim Roos created Neighborhood Enterprises, Inc. to manage lower cost rental housing. In 1990 he created Sanctuary In The Ordinary, a nonprofit corporation that own affordable rental housing and advocates for supportive public policies.   […]

Everyday Fragmentation: Why service providers need to work across boundaries to better serve our communities

By Paul Sorenson Paul Sorenson is the Director of Strategic Communications & Planning at Grace Hill Settlement House. He is on the organizing team for the Northside Service Provider Conference and works with Grace Hill on connecting families to resources […]

The Ferguson Moment: Putting our Foot on the Accelerator in Community and Economic Development

The following op-ed is an edited version of Hank Webber’s keynote address at the Community Builders Network Annual Awards Reception on March 19, 2015. By Hank Webber Hank Webber is Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration and Professor of Practice at […]

Sustainable Transportation? Not Without a Land Use Policy

By Scott Ogilvie, 24th Ward Alderman, City of St. Louis St. Louis has a transportation problem, but it may not be the one you think. The region doesn’t have enough people to continue paying for the transportation infrastructure we’ve already […]

More Recommendations for Improving Police-Community Relations

By Terrell Carter Terrell Carter is the Executive Director of the North Newstead Association in St. Louis, MO.  Prior to that, he served as a St. Louis City Police Officer for five years.  He is the author of the forthcoming […]

Low-Income Renters Need Energy Efficient Housing

By Dana Gray Dana Gray serves as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corp. She began her work in community development in 2005 with the Southwest Garden Neighborhood Association. Dana is an art consultant, location scout, […]

Community Development is a Good Investment Strategy

By Mary McMurtrey Mary McMurtrey is currently the Director of Community Engagement for the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation.  She previously served as President of the Gateway Center for Giving (formerly The Metropolitan Association for Philanthropy) for over six years.  […]

Four Recommendations for Improving Police-Community Relations

By Terrell Carter Terrell Carter is the Executive Director of the North Newstead Association in St. Louis, MO.  Prior to that, he served as a St. Louis City Police Officer for five years.  He is the author of the forthcoming […]

The Next Big Game Changer For St. Louis

By Eric Friedman Eric Friedman is a co-founder of the TOD BroadBand Fiber Collaborative, LLC, and the President of Housing and Community Solutions, Inc., a community, economic development and affordable housing developer, a champion, catalyst and collaborator. He also co-founded […]

If You Want to Build Strong Communities, Stop Talking About Diversity

By Natalie Clay Natalie Clay is a community development, and diversity & inclusion professional in St. Louis. She most recently served as the Education and Training Manager at Diversity Awareness Partnership where she supported organizations of all sizes build more […]

The Northside/Southside Metrolink Extension: Crossing the Delmar Divide

By Tom Shrout Tom Shrout serves on the Washington, DC based Boards of the Center for Transportation Excellence and the National Association of Public Transit Advocates. In 2010 he retired after 22 years as executive director of Citizens for Modern […]

It’s Time to Develop a Comprehensive Anti-Displacement Strategy for St. Louis

By Jennifer Allen Jennifer Allen is Trailnet’s Active Transportation Manger where she oversees the Neighborhood Greenways St. Louis project, helps coordinate activities for strategic partnerships, and assists with advocacy campaigns. Jennifer is an urban planner with a Master of Arts […]

The New North: A Proposal for Urban Sustainability

By James Holtzman James Holtzman graduated from KU in 1980 with degrees in Environmental Design and Architecture. Early in his career he worked with St. Louis firms specializing in adaptive reuse and historic infill. In 1987 he began Miracle Design/Build, […]

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: A Game Changer

By Charles Bryson, Director of the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency Charles Bryson, II, a native St. Louisan, has a passion for community service and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people. His extensive career in community […]

Community Builders: MOHTC Needs You!

By Christina Clagett, Organizer for Missouri Historic Revitalization Alliance The Missouri Historic Tax Credit, which some of us refer to lovingly as “MOHTC,” has done a world of good across the state. The benefits are numerous and many are easy […]

Moving Forward in Ferguson

By Hazel Erby, First District Councilwoman for St. Louis County Hazel Erby became the first African American woman to serve on the St. Louis County Council when she was elected in 2004.  She is currently serving her third, consecutive term. […]

Urban Homesteading in St. Louis

By Paul Dribin of Dribin Consulting For 30 years Paul Dribin worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in which he assumed leadership positions in the fields of Public Housing, Housing Management, Housing Development, and Section 8 housing.  […]

Collaboration: Promises and Pitfalls

By Dana M. Malkus, Attorney and Assistant Clinical Professor at the St. Louis University School of Law Dana M. Malkus is a lawyer and assistant clinical professor at Saint Louis University School of Law where she supervises students in the […]

We Need to Build a Stronger Community Economic Development System in St. Louis County

  By Todd Swanstrom, Des Lee Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy, University of Missouri St. Louis and Author of recently released Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-First Century (3rd edition); and Karl Guenther, Community Development Specialist, University of […]

Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation Exemplifies Benefits of Consolidation

By Sean Spencer, Executive Director of the Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation Over the last 5 years, Sean has facilitated the development of over 60 properties, cataloged vacant and abandoned properties, developed housing related community initiatives and promoted Tower […]

Building community … one butterfly at a time

By Catherine L. Werner, JD, LEED AP Sustainability Director, City of St. Louis     On Earth Day, April 22, 2014, City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay launched a new initiative to foster the connection between people and nature.  […]

Schools Remain Separate And Unequal: Not by Legal Mandate But by Conditions in Our Neighborhoods

 Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO, Beyond Housing       What progress can this country point to since the 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education? It gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement, and that, ironically, has had […]

We Need to Re-Think Closing Streets

By Richard Bose, an Electrical Engineer by profession. He earned a BA in Physics and Economics and an MSEE from Washington University in St. Louis.   St. Louis needs a more formalized process for opening and closing streets. Closed streets […]

Keeping Healthy Suburban Communities Out of the Poverty Trap

Laura Kinsell-Baer is a Senior Planner with St. Louis County government. Her background is in urban planning with a focus on forecasting as it relates to public policy, research, and urban data management and communication.     As Brooks Goedeker […]

Breaking the Zip Code Connection to Health

Jason Q. Purnell, PhD, MPH is an assistant professor in the Brown School at Washington University.  He is lead investigator on For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans.   Despite the exciting […]

Checks and Balances with Low Income Housing Tax Credits

By Stephen Acree, president and executive director of Rise (formerly RHCDA) and Chris Krehmeyer, president and CEO of Beyond Housing     The great omission in debates about Missouri’s low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program is the children, seniors and […]

Historic Preservation Means Economic Growth

By Andrew Weil Andrew Weil is the executive director of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis.     As the Missouri legislature debates the future of the state’s historic rehabilitation tax credit program, I would like to consider the meaning […]

Special Taxing District and the St. Louis Region

  By Brooks Goedeker, Executive Director, Park Central Development ( Mr. Goedeker is the gentleman in the center of the photo wearing a red polo shirt)   Neighborhoods in St. Louis and across America are struggling with the harsh reality of shrinking coffers, […]

Why We Need Workforce Housing in the Suburbs

Cheryl Sommer is a pastoral associate at a local Catholic Church and is chair of the Housing Taskforce for United Congregations of Metro-East.      I vividly remember my shock in 1980 when I learned about “sundown towns” close to […]

A Healthy Neighborhoods Approach in St. Louis

Sally J. Scott, Ph.D.Independent Consultant        Recently HUD commissioned a market value analysis of St. Louis neighborhoods, and City officials indicated that the data would help guide the allocation of federal housing and community development funds.  This is […]

OneSTL: For a Prosperous, Healthy, and Vibrant St. Louis Region

 By David Wilson, American Planning Association, Environment & Community Planning East-West Gateway Council of Governments     A new initiative seeks to “maintain, develop and enhance the unique places and communities in our region through investment that reflects local values, diversity […]

Community Building Organizations Should Support Medicaid Expansion in Missouri

 Terry Weiss, MD, FACR Member, Provider Services Advisory Board St. Louis Regional Health Commission, Co-founder and Past President, St. Vincent Greenway, Inc. Every decade since the Theodore Roosevelt administration (1901-1909) the federal government has made an effort to reform the U.S. […]

The Case for Participatory Budgeting in St. Louis

By Zach Chasnoff is a community organizer Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) working for economic and social justice in the City of St. Louis.        We are living in exciting times. Vibrant public discourse about the transparency […]

Measuring CDFIs Impact…and Then Telling Everyone You Know

     By Colleen Kirby, Asset Manager, Compliance, St. Louis Equity Fund, INC       Leaders in community development have called Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) the “next big thing” in community development (CD) finance. They say that what […]

City of St. Louis Consolidated Plan: An Opportunity for Civic Engagment and Strengthening Our Community Development System

By Karl Guenther, Community Development Specialist, University of Missouri St. Louis   By November 2014 the City of St. Louis has to devise a new Consolidated Plan to guide its spending of federal block grant resources from the Department of […]

The Need for Neighborhood Schools

By Dr. Molly Metzger, Assistant Professor at the Brown School at Washington University   In 1996, the late sociologist Peter Marris wrote a short book called The Politics of Uncertainty.  In cities as in life, nothing endures but change.   He […]

The South County Connector: Can We Get a Better Return on Investment?

 By Matt Wetli, AICP Associate, Development Strategies         The proposed South County Connector project has generated a great deal of controversy recently in the St. Louis region, and with good reason.  Anytime a project involves spending $100 million […]

Seek Opportunity to Make Your Organization Irreplaceable

 By Paul Woodruff, Vice President, Community Development  for St. Louis  Community Credit Union         Recently, I had the chance to listen to a colleague from another community development credit union explain why his institution chose to serve […]

Could Transit Be a Catalyst for Community Building in St. Louis?

 By:  Lenora Fisher, Grants and Program Manager, Citizens for    Modern Transit.         Every region of the United States faces community revitalization challenges.  Many readers of the Community Builders Exchange lead these efforts in St. Louis.  As […]

Why St. Louis Needs a Stronger Network of Neighborhood Associations

By Nancy Thompson, AICP, Executive Director for SLACO         Strong neighborhoods with clearly defined boundaries and well-formed neighborhood associations are the foundation of any city that stays vital. Resilience in the face of changing housing preferences, ethnicities, […]

Pooling CDBG Funding in St. Louis County

By Adam Roberts, St. Louis County Planning Department, Division of Community Development         The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) established in 1974 is one of the longest active programs operated out of the Department of Housing and […]

The Regional/Local Dance

Based on an interview with Kimberley Burnett, a consultant in Denver, Colo., and a nonresident fellow with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.  This interview originally appeared in Shelterforce (Winter ‘12-‘13).       What are the challenges facing community development […]

A Case For Community Participatory Planning: Upfront Investing Yields Long-Term Benefits

A Case for Community Participatory Planning: Upfront Investment Yields Long-Term Benefits By Natalie Self, 24:1 Project Manager, Beyond Housing     Community engagement is often seen as one of those “tasks” that must be completed before building a large-scale development.  Beyond […]

It Aint What You Do. It Is The Way You Do It.

By Kay Gasen, Director, Community Partnership Project University of  Missouri-St. Louis   That’s the title of an old calypso song recorded by Ella Fitzgerald and Harry James in the 1930s, with some recent adaptations. But it could also be a […]

Stl Youth Jobs: A Community-Based Model for Youth Employment

By Margaret Eigsti, Program Associate for community-based programming at the Incarnate Word Foundation; Board member of Invest STL and Brown School of Social Work Alumni Board   Currently 187 St. Louis youth are finishing up summer job placements at small […]

Leveraging Collective Impact to Advance Comprehensive Community Change

By Jillian Guenther, Chief Community Building  Officer, Beyond Housing You may have noticed the rising interest in “Collective Impact” in the St. Louis region. Pioneered by STRIVE in Cincinnati, Collective Impact is the idea that no single organization can create […]

Open Letter to Governor Nixon on Anti-Foreclosure Mediation Bill

By Karen Tokarz, Charles Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law & Public Service Washington University School of Law In 2012, both St. Louis County and City passed ordinances giving homeowners facing foreclosure the opportunity of mediation by a neutral third […]

Sustainable Neighborhoods: The Soul of the City

By Catherine Werner,Sustainability Director for the City of St. Louis  Neighborhoods are the soul of the City of St. Louis. They shape and define the City. They drive opportunity and offer community participation at an approachable scale.  Each of the […]

HUD Announcement Opens Window of Opportunity for the City

By Antionette Cousins (right) Executive Director, Riverview West Florissant Development Corporation and President, CBN Board of Directors Tom Pickel (left), Executive Director, DeSales Community Housing Corporation and Vice President, CBN Board of Directors   On April 18th, the United States Department of Housing and […]

Inclusion Means Good Business

By Sal Martinez Over the past few years, the St. Louis construction marketplace has been flooded with calls, protests, meetings, disparity studies and other activities focused on minority participation in business contracts and construction jobs. Major entities such as the […]

The Metropolitan Saint Louis CRA Association

By David Noble,  Chairman of the Executive Board of Directors Metropolitan St Louis CRA Association The Metropolitan St Louis CRA Association was formed at the suggestion of the Federal Regulators: the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, the FDIC and […]

Putting Universities to Work for Community Development

In 2006, the Carnegie Foundation defined a new classification of university—the “engaged university”—and this classification recognized that higher education is no longer taking place just on a defined campus. It is a player in the larger community, and this is […]

Community Improvement District Inspires the Tower Grove Community

By Rachel Witt, Executive Director, South Grand Community Improvement District The South Grand Community Improvement District is a political subdivision of the state of Missouri, whose mission is to cultivate a robust and supportive business climate on South Grand in […]

Neighborhood Organizations: Critical Partners in Successful Neighborhood Revitalization

By Thomas Rhodenbaugh, Principal of Connecting Communities The St. Louis region has well-established neighborhoods, 79 in the city alone. Over the years many of these neighborhoods experienced decline, out-migration and abandonment. Today, neighborhoods with active, volunteer-led neighborhood organizations are experiencing […]

St. Louis and a New Definition of Civic Pride

Alex Ihnen is the founder and editor of and Chair of City to River. He lives with his wife and two children in University City. Shortly after moving to St. Louis in 2004, I was in Marco Island, Florida […]

Fair Access to Financial Services: Our Community Responsibility

By Elisabeth Risch Education and Research Coordinator Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council (EHOC) The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is an important tool that can help ensure equal access to financial services for communities that are typically underserved […]

Beyond Conventional Wisdom: The Case for Tax Credit

Jeff Smith is Executive Director of the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, and is also a professor in the urban policy graduate program at The New School in New York City  There are many things that everyone knows to be true. […]

Passion Blindness: The “Seven Deadly Sins” of Nonprofit Organizations

Yvonne Sparks, Senior Manager, Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis “But love is blind, and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit…” When William Shakespeare penned these famous words, he clearly did not have nonprofit organizations in […]

Property Management IS Community Development

Thomas Pickel, Executive Director of DeSales Community Housing Corporation and Co-Chair of the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis There is an ironic quote from former U. S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that I like to use to explain […]

PRI’s: The Great Idea Almost Nobody Uses

By: Dan SiseInstructor and Community Engagement Manager at the Nonprofit Management & Leadership Program at the University of Missouri – St. Louis  A Program Related Investment (or PRI) is an investment by a foundation or other “funder” that is meant to […]

Moving from Data to Action

Eleanor Tutt, Data Management Coordinator, Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance  Knowledge is power.  And luckily for those of us working in the community development field, data and information (key building blocks of knowledge) are increasingly easy to access.  Nationally, […]

Strategic Regional Planning in St. Louis: An Oxymoron or the Art of the Possible?

Joe Cavato: Former Director of Planning at St.Louis County; now principal at JAC Consulting, LLC , providing consulting services in real estate, community development, public policy, program administration and project finance. The landscape of regional planning efforts in St. Louis is […]

Vacancy and the Opportunity for Realizing Growth in Our Urban Core 

 Rick Bonasch is Director of Technical Assistance for the Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance and serves on the community engagement committee of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments Regional Plan for Sustainable Development    A 50-year trend of suburban […]

Competition, Cooperation, Collaboration:  Questions You Need to Answer Before Requesting Funding

Loura M. Gilbert, Vice President Community Development, Commerce Bank I cannot tell you how often I talk to a non-profit organization that has a great idea for a program or initiative in their service area.  Since they are usually asking for […]

It’s Time to Stop Wishing and Start Investing in St. Louis

By Katrina Sommer, Housing Programs Manager at the St. Louis County Office of Community Development Do you love living in the Central West End? Hanging out in the Grove? Taking a stroll down South Grand to grab dinner? Excited about […]

The 2010 Census: A Wake-Up Call for Community Development in St. Louis

By Brian Phillips, Executive Director for Washington University Medical Center The 2010 census results should have served as yet another wake-up call for all of the stakeholders in the city of St. Louis. Leading up to the release of the […]

The Arts Space Next Door

Roseann is Director of Community Art & Public Art Initiatives at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission (RAC). There is a little, one story salmon pink house in the middle of a residential block in Pagedale. It may not look […]