Building Community Capacity: An Initial Inventory of Local Intermediary Organizations

by David Chavis

Apr 12, 2002
This report was prepared by the Association for the Study and Development of Community (ASDC) on behalf of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) in order to examine the role of intermediaries as support systems for community development organizations. This report is intended to take an initial view of these organizations and provide a preliminary view of their pervasiveness, services, and challenges. The following is a review of the available literature examining the structure and operation of community development intermediaries.
  • Local intermediaries play a critical role in the infrastructure to support local community initiatives. They provide several advantages to national intermediates because in general they are geographically closer, have more local accountability, and address a greater variety of content areas.
  • There is little evidence to show that national and local intermediaries work together except for the small number in this inventory that are subsidiaries of LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation).
  • Among the challenges facing local intermediaries are the need for community organizing capacity; greater guidance and accountability from community leaders; policy advocacy; enhancing overall capacity building strategies; staff training and development; and insufficient staffing.
  • Recommended next steps include to develop a database of local intermediaries; identify and evaluate promising strategies; create a national network of intermediaries; provide training and consultation skills to support the development and enhancement of local intermediaries; and link local and national intermediaries.
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