Meet our Newest Member

Our newest member is Rebecca Lujan Loveless. She works in the greater Orlando, FL area with the POLIS Institute. Check out her member page for more information.

Rebecca Lujan Loveless Members Page

What is Community Development? A Fishing Analogy…

(Originally published in the CFA Summer 2011 Newsletter)

Evidence of a community being transformed:

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AmeriCorps Update

Brianna Menning - Director of Community Based Learning – CFA

(Originally published in the CFA Summer 2011 Newsletter)

Brianna Menning

For the past six years, we have been fortunate to be able to implement asset based community development service through a national direct AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). With the passage of the Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009, the hope within CNCS was to increase the size of the AmeriCorps program, while also working more sectorally in specific designated target areas (education, veterans, environmental, economic opportunity, and health). This was going to be a bit of a challenge to the CFA program, as our work with ABCD is clearly not sectoral, and is instead an opportunity to work with a community, and letting them determine the focus. When Congress eventually passed a budget bill this past spring, they made significant cuts to the CNCS budget, and AmeriCorps in particular.

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From the Executive Director: Together, We Can…

Jay Van Groningen – Executive Director – CFA

Jay Van Groningen

(Originally published in the CFA Summer 2011 Newsletter)

God is teaching me a lot about collaboration these days.

In my neighborhood, which covers less than one square mile, there are more than nine congregations that meet weekly for worship. Our congregation is a dwindling remnant group of long-term members supplemented with a commuter group. At a time when we are really resource challenged, we have honestly asked if we are needed in the neighborhood. There is a resounding yes – even from the other churches, if and as long as, we will collaborate with them in demonstrating God’s active reign in this community.

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The Empowering Effect of With

by Kirk Reber - Director of Development & Communications – CFA

(Originally Published in the CFA Summer 2011 Newsletter)

Communities First Association desires to transform communities by providing training and support to their members (intermediaries) who in turn coach local churches and organizations. In order to see true change in a neighborhood, CFA understand that the ministry of the church must progress from being IN, TO, and FOR a community to being WITH a community.

To illustrate, imagine a church where all activities are by the members, for the members. The church is IN a neighborhood, but the neighbors see no tangible benefit of having the church there.

With no involvement, this church will never see sustainable change in their community.

Imagine now that the membership of this church begins to desire to connect with their neighbors. They dream, design, and implement activities TO and FOR their community. Interaction begins, but questions stir. Is this relationship equitable? Is it empowering? For whom? While the church may see benefits, are they seeing sustainable change?

CFA Cleveland Meeting: Strategic Planning

Andy Batten – Lighthouse INC

(Originally published in the CFA Summer 2011 Newsletter)

CFA Member, Andy Batten, with Heaven Train, Inc., hosted the Strategic Planning meeting held May 9-11, 2011 in Cleveland, OH. Seventeen member and staff participants gathered as member, Terri Larson facilitated Association strategic planning that included a historical overview of CFA, discussion of one year dreams such as plans for a should are team and member defined CFA standards, and the creation of three work groups. A site visit to Heaven Train, Inc. gave the group an opportunity to see local neighborhood transformation in practice.

Other presenters included Eric Geary (LLF Lexington, KY), Andy Batten (CFA member), Jonathan Reitz (Coachnet), Melinda Holsopple (Full Measure Fundraising), and Jay Van Groningen (CFA Executive Director).

Evaluation of the strategic plan and group updates will take place at CFA’s upcoming conference in Chicago, IL on October 23-26, 2011. This conference will be held in conjunction with the Leadership Foundation Institute.

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