At the invitation of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Grassroots Grantmakers, the Clarkston Development Foundation (CDF) joined in a two-day national convening of community network building practitioners who, through their own work in their own communities, are serving as inventors of this new practice and, in some cases, new organizations.
In Miami, CDF joined 25 or so other colleagues from around the country for two days of exploration, exchange and discussion about the growing practice of building and leading community networks. The agenda for the gathering centered around the following objectives:
· To connect a promising group of leading local community network builders in a circle of peer learning and support;
· To identify successful strategies and lessons learned common among these community network building endeavors and to ultimately be able share those broadly with others who are experimenting with community network building approaches or focusing on new approaches to advancing resident-led change;
· To identify new tools and resources which might advance the field of community network building;
· To explore ways that grant makers can spot and more effectively support the work of community network builders and bring the practice of community network building into their own funding practice.
The conveners saw this as both an opportunity to capture actionable knowledge that can be disseminated now, and a beginning conversation on a path toward an ever expanding and robust national learning network of practitioners and resource partners. During the two days, we put forth four or five framing questions and using small and full group discussion formats to help to capture concrete lessons learned, as well as the nuanced edges of the group’s work.
Grassroots Grantmakers also brought in a graphic illustrator and a diarist to capture our time together in a format the group can all access and utilize in the months ahead.
CDF was honored to attend and learn from the conversations and experience of the wide array of organizations and individuals working to build community networks around the country.
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