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Theoretical Base

Understanding the underlying theory and assumptions

Articulation of what the social processes are

Models and descriptions of how social demonstration takes place

What human beings look like when living their full potential

Outline of archival materials from the ICA in Local Community Development in the 90’s and 00’s

  1. Jacobs Center for Non Profit Innovation 1996. We received a year of funding to review historical ICA work on Community Reformulation/Development and create and test a “Neighborhood Academy” for use in urban neighborhoods in the Southwest United States. This research was also based on the work of ICA staff Raul Jorquera and Angelica Rodriguez in the development of the Garfield Organization and community project in Central Phoenix. Several videos including TV news reports document this work. We also did a scan of then current approaches and initiatives in local development and included this research into our work. This research produced several innovations.
  2. An updated version of the “Program Chart” which dated from 1977 and merged with the Community Organization Model into the 15 tasks and principles of local development
  3. The inclusion of (what is now called) ToP group facilitation methods into the curriculum — seeing that the capacity to facilitate participation was seen as central
  4. A focus on developing out of the neighborhood a catalytic core group of local residents to care for the neighborhood. See “Stages in the formation of a community group”
  5. The resultant Neighborhood Academy (see Curriculum outline) was tested in San Diego and Adelante California and also in Arizona in neighborhoods in Phoenix and Somerton/San Luis (far southwestern Arizona). A key feature of the Neighborhood Academies was the development and implementation of some sort of neighborhood project as central to the journey. The neighborhood academies were “sponsored” with external funding and anchored with an agency in the community.
  6. Community Development Principles, 1997 (for printing)

This curriculum research also spurred a number of partnerships and relationships aimed at refocusing organizations (businesses, schools, government agencies, social service agencies) towards working collaboratively to support local, resident-driven community development.


NEIGHBORHOOD PARTNERS IN PHOENIX was inspired by a local CEO and originally “sponsored” by the Phoenix 40 — an organization of central Phoenix business leaders. Neighborhood Partners focused to develop collaborative relationships around local inner city elementary schools. Key players included local employers (significant businesses who were located within the school attendance boundary, the school itself, and also public sector and non profit agencies who were somehow stakeholders in the neighborhoods. These partnerships also struggled to engage local residents. ICA staff worked collaboratively to produce the manuals, training and procedures used by Neighborhood Partners in their work. —their manual, they also developed, based on wisdom generated in the IERD, a tool called the PDE or Partnership Documentation Event and also developed “Sharing Rallies” as a tool for building collaboration and a consciousness of being a part of a collegial movement across the city.


The Jacobs research grant also led to the development of the “Community Builders Learning Institute (CBLI) — a program aimed more or less at professional social workers and social work agencies to help them reorient from a service delivery focus to more of a collaborative community building approach. themselves. The CBLI was offered more or less free of charge to then ICA colleagues and ToP graduates in the Phoenix metropolitan area. A CBLI was funded by the United Way of San Antonio and offered there as a series of 8 one day intensives between May of 2002 and November of 2003.


Another result of the Jacobs relationship was their evolution from a family foundation to the “Jacobs Center for Non Profit Innovation” and their journey to integrate ToP methods and ICA community building approaches into a major project in San Diego. This was recently documented in Jennifer Vanica’s book Courageous Philanthropy. At one point the Mastering the Technology of Participation program was modified to train their key people into a Community Development MToP.


The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) chose ICA’s approaches to Community Development for inclusion in their internal operations — particularly enabling their local chapters to develop more of a participatory and local community development focus across the country. ICA staff worked in partnership with AARP staff to develop the “Charting Community Connections” program which has since been used with AARP people around the country.


A partnership with 7 national youth serving organizations committed to exploring the intersection of best practice in the professional fields of Youth Development and Community Development ended up in delineating the field of Community Youth Development which led to the development, testing and refinement of a new ICA program “Youth as Facilitative Leaders (YFL)” and as an offshoot the development and implementation of Project Based Learning (PBL) for alternative high school students in a partner organization in Phoenix.


Another offshoot to be mentioned — the Village Earth effort out of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. A former ICA staff family — Ed and Mimi Shinn — who were deeply involved in ICA Human Development Projects, the Human Development Training School in Maliwada and in the early replication efforts in Maharashtra. Ed took for his Doctoral work to analyze the challenges in wide scale local community development and come up with a model that could make such development somehow feasible if not economically productive for national governments to support. ICA worked with the leadership and staff of Village Earth to train them in ToP Group Facilitation methods and ToP Participatory Strategic planning and to integrate those into their training and operations.


Community Development tools and handouts developed, revised or refined in these efforts included: An Overview of Community Development, Community Development Day, Community Planning Options and Preparation, Community Structures and Organization, Cultural Development Day, Economic Development Day, Fund Raising planning, Gridding and Mapping of the Community, Journey of Community Development, Leadership/Core Development, Participatory Research and Appraisal Political Development Day, Resource and Asset Mapping, Sectors in Community Development, Sharing Approaches that Work, Social Development Day, Tasks and Principles of Community Development, and Youth Adult Partnerships


A new field of a later offshoot of this work was spearheaded by John Oyler


Jim Wiegel