|COMM-ORG Papers 2005||
Building Community Capacity:
An Initial Inventory of Local Intermediary Organizations
David Chavis, Project Director
Association for the Study and Development of Community
312 South Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877
phone: 301.519.0722 fax: 301.519.0724
W. K. Kellogg Foundation
One Michigan Avenue East
Battle Creek, Michigan 49017-4058
April 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. David Chavis served as the Project Director. Several other members of ASDC contributed to this monograph: Theresa Singleton (Research Associate), and Jessica Berry (Research Assistant), Melodye Watson (Research Assistant), and Ayshia Reed (Project Assistant). The ASDC would also like to recognize the leadership provided by Winnie Hernandez-Gallegos of WKKF and extend our appreciation for her support.
Community development research has focused largely on examining the organizations that produce services and products (e.g., community development corporations, social service agencies), assessing the outputs of these entities (e.g., number of housing units produced, child care slots created, persons trained for jobs) (Vidal 1992; Walker 1993). Additionally, there has been some research on the programs (e.g., technical assistance, and loan funds) that support community development work (Pinsky 2001). Kingsley, McNeely, and Gibson (1999) recognized the importance of non-governmental, locally based intermediaries for community building. They recommend that "high priority should be given to establishing or strengthening non-governmental locally based intermediaries to support community building and community interests in all metropolitan areas" (p.54). Very little research has been done to examine the intermediary organizations that provide support and resources to 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.
As Figure 1 shows, intermediaries are, at a minimum, a substantive link between two segments of society: organizations with resources (funders) and those organizations that are seeking resources (community organizations and initiatives). Intermediaries are those organizations that assemble resources from one segment of society (e.g., foundations, corporations, government, research organizations, etc.) and distribute these resources to community organizations for projects designed to build community capacity (Chavis, Florin, & Felix 1992; NCCED 1991).
Intermediaries are an important component of the enabling systems that support and promote the work of community organizations (Chavis et al. 1992). Enabling systems support sustained community problem solving and development (48) and intermediaries contribute to this goal by brokering services and resources for community organizations. Chavis (1990) identified over 600 intermediary support organizations and other technical assistance organizations in the United States. Figure 2 presents several examples of national intermediaries that operate to provide services and programs to local organizations.
Examples of National Community Development Intermediaries
Intermediary organizations typically function within specific programmatic areas. For example, there are education intermediaries (e.g., The Education Foundation) and workforce development intermediaries (e.g., New Ways to Work) that provide service to local organizations and agencies working in those specific issue areas. Community development intermediary organizations (CDIOs) are those intermediaries that act for, between, and among entities that have a stake and interest in the future well being of communities and individuals trapped in poverty (Liou & Stroh 1998). There are several types of CDIOs, including:
Chaskin et al. (2001) stated that intermediary organizations can play one or more of the following roles in a community:
To varying extents, intermediary organizations play each of these roles as they function to build community capacity. As they operate to bring resources to community organizations, CDIOs fulfill several needs, including:
As noted above, intermediaries operate between funders, knowledge generators, and community groups. Working in this capacity, intermediaries are an important link in community development work. Intermediaries provide a service to resource-seeking and grantmaking organizations by bringing these two sectors together. Intermediaries aid funders by identifying community groups to fund and providing the technical assistance that may be needed to the create positive community changes intended by the funders. Conversely, intermediaries broker those resources for grassroots organizations engaged in community building. In bringing together these two sectors, intermediaries create and sustain a central component of the community development system (Chavis et al. 1992). Intermediaries also playa key role in technology transfer processes. They take the knowledge generated by universities and other research organizations as well as the experiential knowledge generated by community level practitioners and turn them into useful and accessible services and products.
In addition to linking segments of the community, intermediaries also link levels of the community development support infrastructure. As noted by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (1998), intermediary non-governmental organizations (INGOs) act as a link between the local, regional, and national levels. Intermediaries provide community groups with relationships to external to their communities that can be used to leverage additional resources. The connection to the larger intermediary organization often provides the local grassroots organization with legitimacy in the larger community, particularly in their work with government and private funders (Charles Stewart Mott Foundation 1998). In addition to the networks they help to create, intermediary organizations also provide community groups with tangible benefits and have a potential impact on community empowerment.
The primary function of intermediary organizations is to distribute resources to community groups to improve their capacity to build communities. Most intermediaries provide some combination of the following types of resources (Chavis et al. 1992):
In addition to the services they provide, intermediaries are also viewed by many in the field of international development as a way to empower low-income communities and community organization movements. Intermediaries can empower low-income communities and organizations in that they can:
Intermediaries have gained favor, particularly in the international arena, as a solution for the problems facing low-income communities (Carroll 1992). The intermediary model has been viewed as an improvement over one-dimensional strategies that have sought to address comprehensive community development issues. Self-help and community-based development strategies have been limited in their ability to address the multi-layered needs of low-income communities. Intermediary organizations provide society with a mechanism to grow grassroots organizations and build the capacity of these groups to affect change. Intermediary institutions, which can work on multiple levels, have been viewed as a more comprehensive way to support community capacity building (Lee 1998).
Domestically, foundations and other grantmaking institutions have found intermediaries to be a useful and effective method of reaching local organizations and effecting grassroots change. The Mott Foundation (1998) had determined through its programs and grantmaking that intermediaries can help build connections between national foundations and local community groups, and also increase the power of these connections. Mott began to work closely with intermediaries to address community problems in the area of community education in the mid-1970s; this strategy has since been extended to all of the foundation s program areas. The foundation created a program where funding is provided to community foundations and intermediaries, who then re-grant these funds and provide technical assistance to local community groups. Chaskin et al. (2001) in their recent work on community capacity, also find local intermediaries to be an appropriate venue for identifying opportunities for targeting resources and providing technical assistance (e.g. consultation).
Several conflicts that could stress the intermediary model have been identified:
The international literature reflects additional concerns. Carroll (1992) suggests that the relationship between intermediaries and grant-seeking organizations can be one of dependence and control rather than empowerment. Some intermediaries can see themselves as advisers and teachers rather than as facilitators of community needs. Further, given the imbalance in power that exists between intermediaries and grassroots organizations, there is a potential for co-optation. An intermediary may come to dominate the interests of grassroots organizations as the intermediary represents a significant source of funding and support. Thus, an intermediary can potentially hamper and obstruct community empowerment (Story 1998).
Edwards and Hulme (1992) suggested that intermediaries may foster competition among grassroots organizations rather than cooperation and collaboration. Competition frustrates the relationship building that is needed to address the comprehensive needs of low-income communities and is counterproductive to the comprehensive needs of community development. Thus, intermediaries can play a role in weakening community movements if they do not properly address this challenge
Several issues related to the evaluation of intermediary organizations and activities have been identified. Overall, evaluations of intermediary organizations have tended to focus on the funded projects rather than the organizations themselves (Nye & Glickman 2000). For example, the Mott Foundation has evaluated its Intermediary Support Organization (ISO) program to determine its success. The foundation acknowledges that intermediary success is larger than the outputs of the grantee organizations; however, much of the program assessment is a profile of the achievements of grantees, rather than a review of the capacity of the intermediary organizations. Efforts to assess the impact of CDPs have relied on subjective assessments, as well as benchmarking of individual CDC performance (Nye and Glickman 2000). Thus, evaluations of intermediary organizations have often been a summation of the output of their grantees. However, this may not capture the full impact of intermediaries on community development systems.
Carroll s 1992 study evaluated 20 intermediary organizations operating in Latin America using three sets of criteria:
A twenty-element rating system was developed to assess the work of international intermediaries and using data collected through field visits, Carroll found that these organizations rated highest in service delivery and they rated relatively lower for policy impact (wider impact) and group capacity building (participation and empowerment).
While Carroll s work makes significant contributions to our understanding of intermediary organizations, the author acknowledge that the rating system employed to assess the work of intermediaries was incomplete and did not take into consideration the complexity of contextual issues.
Similar to evaluations of comprehensive community initiatives (CCIs), the work of intermediary organizations is often complex as intermediaries operate through other organizations. Evaluations of intermediary organizations are hindered by many of the issues that impede the evaluation of other community development activities. For example, contextual issues are difficult to separate from the organizations and their impacts. As noted by Nye and Glickman (2000) assessing the impact of CDPs is difficult because measuring a CDC s capacity, and consequently, the impact of the intermediary, is really an assessment of the community development system. Despite these concerns and limitations comprehensive evaluation of intermediary activities is important on at least two levels; evaluations of intermediary activities would:
Intermediary organizations act as a link between organizations with resources (e.g. knowledge, funds, relations, etc.), and those seeking resources. In connecting these two sectors, intermediary organizations provide community groups with needed networks and resources to advance community building. For many working in social and economic community development, intermediaries provide a new, more comprehensive capacity building approach that addresses the multi-level needs of community development organizations.
While intermediary organizations provide funders and community organizations with needed resources and services, there are conflicts internal to the intermediary model that may limit this strategy of community development. Intermediary organizations operate between those with resources and those seeking resources. Consequently, there are tensions that exist relating to power, roles, and interests that intermediary organizations must address. The international development literature has also questioned the extent to which intermediary organizations breed dependence among grassroots organizations and frustrates the development of a community movement.
Evaluation of intermediary organizations has progressed beyond summaries of the outcomes of grantee organizations. While domestic research has focused on these outputs, international literature has made strides to understand the dynamics and broader implications of the work done by intermediaries. There are, however, several questions that remain.
The following studies sought to begin to answer these questions.
The inventory of local intermediaries was undertaken as a part of a larger effort to identify strategies to support the work of social and economic community development organizations. The purpose of the inventory was to:
The following report summarizes the findings of the intermediary survey and presents data and information regarding local intermediaries and the resources made available to local organizations.
A questionnaire (see Appendix A) was developed in order to identify local intermediaries and understand their capacity for supporting change in local communities. Questions were developed to reflect current lessons about organizational and community capacity. ASDC developed an organizational and community capacity lens, or way to look at capacity, that has six components. The lens was developed based on reports of research and practice to provide users with a practical way to think about community capacity. The six components of community capacity, as outlined by the lens are as follows:
ASDC used the capacity components to develop and refine questions for the questionnaire. In addition to identifying local intermediaries, the purpose of the survey was to illustrate their capacity to support the work of local social and economic community development organizations. The survey was designed to elicit information and feedback that would contribute to this knowledge. Questionnaire items addressed the following areas:
For the purposes of this research, the following definition of local intermediary was used:
Potential respondents were identified using a number of methods. ASDC invited nominations for inclusion into the inventory through multiple listserves and from noted experts in the field of community development. Recommendations were also solicited from national and local intermediaries. A number of potential organizations were also identified through an Internet search.
ASDC identified a total of 122 organizations as potential inventory participants. ASDC used the information available via the Internet to complete as much information as possible for the organizations identified for the survey. Respondents were asked to review this information and when necessary provide corrections or additional information. The questionnaire was distributed via fax and email in three separate rounds beginning in September 2001. Inventory questionnaires were faxed or emailed to contact persons and after several days a reminder phone call was placed asking the contact person to fill out and return the questionnaire. In several cases, the questionnaire was re-faxed to the organization after two weeks and additional calls were made to encourage a better response rate.
The questionnaire was created and data was analyzed using database software. A total of 121 questionnaire were faxed or e-mailed to key contact persons in each intermediary throughout September and October 2001. Telephone calls were placed to remind participants to respond three to five days after the faxed or e-mailed questionnaire. At least two reminder calls were made and additional questionnaires faxed to each organization during October 2001.
Questionnaires were completed by participants and faxed to ASDC. In addition, participants were given the option to have the questionnaire completed by telephone. Some questionnaires were completed by telephone when ASDC staff called to remind participants.
A total of 67 surveys were completed and returned to ASDC, an additional three organizations responded by indicating that their organization did not fit the intermediary description provided. This resulted in a response rate of 57% and a total of 51organizations that did not respond to the faxes or reminder telephone calls. ASDC has no information about whether these organizations are still in existence, and their reasons for not responding are unknown. Several additional organizations may have considered themselves to be ineligible given the definition that was provided.
Appendix B provides a list of the intermediaries that responded to the survey. The appendix also includes names of contact people for each intermediary, addresses, telephone numbers, web sites, and email addresses (if available). The following sections summarize the characteristics and capacities of the intermediaries that responded to the survey.
On average, the intermediaries participating in the survey have been in operation for 20.4 years. The oldest was established in 1882. The majority (67%) of the respondents report that their intermediaries are independent organizations; 33% of the participants are subsidiaries of other organizations. Of those that are subsidiaries:
Four intermediaries are subsidiaries of other types of organization.
The majority (68%) of respondents reported that the local intermediary was created through local activities, including community activism, community organizing, or the efforts of local organizations. Table 1 presents the activities and organizations that led to the creation of the intermediaries that responded to the survey.
Origins of Intermediaries (N=66)
Twenty-two percent reported that the intermediary originated from other sources, including
A Board of Directors or Advisory Committee led the majority (85%) of intermediaries that responded to the survey. As Figure 3 shows, local businesses, financial institutions, community members, and educational institutions were highly represented on the Boards of local intermediaries. The large number of financial and business representatives may be due to the inventory's emphasis on intermediaries that provide assistance in social and economic community development. Only half reported that community members were on their Boards or other advisory groups. Youth, national foundations and representatives of other nonprofit organizations tended to be the least represented groups on intermediary Boards of Directors. The average number of Board members was 19.
Types of Organizations Represented on Intermediary Boards of Directors:
Percent of intermediaries with following representation on their Boards (N=65)
Intermediaries reported that 62% of their direction and advice stems from focus groups and community advisory committees. Thirty five percent (35%) of intermediary direction comes from information gathered through meetings and community outreach efforts. The intermediaries reported that twenty-eight percent of their community feedback comes from surveys, interviews, and other evaluation methods.
The average number of staff members employed by intermediaries was12 full time employees and five part-time employees. On average the intermediaries surveyed had more than one office to serve multiple communities (average was 1.5 offices).
While national foundations were not well represented on their Boards of Directors, local intermediaries identified national foundations as a major source of funding. Followed by government and public agencies, and local foundations. As Figure 4 shows:
Intermediaries rely to a lesser extent on fees for service and in-kind contributions to support their operation, 24% and 11% respectively.
Funding Sources of Local Intermediaries:
Percent of Intermediaries with the following major sources of funding (N=65)
The average current annual budget for the respondents of the survey is $1,209,417.97 (range 0 to $8,400,000) in operating funds and $3,056,457.14 (range 0 to $45,000,000) in grant or loan funds.
Local intermediaries were somewhat cautious in their responses to questions posed about their funding. Table 2 presents data indicating that half of the respondents (50%) agree or strongly agree that the organization had established long-term sources of external funding; 46% agree or strongly agree that the intermediary has established self-funding strategies (e.g., fees for service).
Intermediary Funding Sources:
Percentage of respondents that agree or strongly agree (N=66)
The intermediaries that responded to the inventory worked in a wide range of social and economic community development areas. Over three-quarters of the respondents (77%) reported that the primary focus of the intermediary is community building and organizing. Intermediaries identified other, more specific, programmatic areas as well. Figure 5 presents the content areas of the local intermediaries included in the inventory.
Content Areas of Local Intermediaries:
Percent of intermediaries working content areas (N=65)
The majority (64%) of intermediaries responding to the survey provided services to local/city agencies. Forty-two percent of the intermediary respondents provided services to organizations in the county or region, 36% provided service statewide, and 20% also provided service nationally.
The local intermediaries responding to the survey provided services to a range of types of organizations. Table 3 presents the percentage of intermediaries that reported specific organizations as their target populations.
Population Served by Local Intermediaries:
Percentage of intermediaries that provide service to specific organizations (N=66)
The local intermediaries that responded to the survey provided a range of services to local organizations. The services provided by local intermediaries to support the work of local organizations are presented in Table 4.
Services Provided by Local Intermediaries:
Percentage of local intermediaries providing services (N=66)
Most of the intermediaries responding to the survey provided technical assistance (89%) and training (76%) to local social and economic community development organizations. Many of the respondents also provided organizational development support (68%), research and evaluation (67%), and publications (55%) for local organizations. However, fewer intermediaries reported providing fundraising (23%), technology capacity building (30%), or community organizing (35%) support to local organizations, even though community building and organizations was considered a content area by seventy-seven percent (77%). Further, only 30% of the respondents provide funding support to local organizations.
As noted above, ASDC developed the intermediary questionnaire based on the capacity lens. Intermediaries were asked specific questions about their organizations regarding the following:
Respondents were asked to rate their organizations activities and behaviors in these areas. The following sections summarize intermediary capacity as reported in the survey.
Survey respondents reported that their intermediaries engage in systemic learning; the organizations collected and used data to inform decision-making. Eighty-seven percent of the intermediaries reported that their organizations frequently or often engaged in evaluation of its efforts and other community initiatives and 87% reported that their organizations implement lessons learned from these evaluations. More than three-quarters (78%) of the intermediaries responding to the survey that they frequently or often collect data on the community and 80% use community data to make programmatic decisions (see Table 5).
Intermediary Use of Systemic Learning:
Percentage of intermediaries that use evaluation methods (N=66)
The majority of intermediaries identified in the inventory base their programs and decisions on information derived from research or best practices from other communities. Seventy-seven percent of the intermediaries included in the inventory used and recommend strategies that have been used successfully in other communities; 85% used and recommend strategies that have been reviewed or tested in previous research and evaluation.
The majority (72%) of intermediaries responding to the survey have staff members that are representative of the population served. While these staff members have participated in skill building workshops, many do not have access to needed resources. More than three-quarters (78%) of the intermediaries report that staff members participate in professional development and training opportunities. However, only 53% of the respondents felt that their staff has sufficient access to training, technical assistance, or consultants to meet needs. Additionally, 44% of the respondents disagree or strongly disagree that the intermediary has sufficient staff to meet organizational needs. Respondents report that their organizations successfully recruit and retain staff members; 82 percent agree or strongly agree that their intermediary successfully recruits and retains staff.
Local intermediaries frequently collaborated with a number of other organizations to support social and economic community development organizations. Figure 6 shows almost all (94%) respondents frequently or often collaborate with nonprofits, 81% frequently or often collaborate with government agencies, 56% frequently or often collaborate with universities, and 47% frequently or often collaborate with private institutions.
Percentage of intermediaries collaborating with other groups (N=66)
Twenty-six percent identified other organizations that they frequently or often collaborate with other types of organizations, including:
Survey respondents were asked to comment on the internal and external policies that affect their work. The majority (52%) of organizations that responded to the survey found that public policies are only sometimes supportive of their organizations work; 45% find that policies are frequently or often supportive of the intermediaries work.
Most of the intermediaries have internal policies and procedures that allowed them to address issues of economic and social justice, equality and nondiscrimination. As noted in Table 6, eighty-four percent of the respondents agree or strongly agree that their organization s policies and procedures allow the intermediary to address nondiscrimination, 79% agree or strongly that the organization can address economic or social justice issues, and 71% agree or strongly agree that policies and procedures support addressing issues of equality.
Intermediary Internal Policies:
Percentage of respondents that agree or strongly disagree (N=66)
By design, this study provides an understanding of the contributions and needs of local social and economic community development intermediaries. Given that many of the local intermediaries included in the inventory receive support from national intermediaries. National intermediaries are part of the infrastructure (or enabling system) for supporting community initiatives and provide significant resources. It is important to provide more understanding of their activities in order to understand how to support local intermediaries and their initiatives. The following section provides information regarding the resources and capacities of four national intermediaries:
The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). CSREES operates to:
Working with local partners, which included land-grant institutions, colleges of agriculture, schools of forestry, colleges of veterinary medicine, and colleges of human sciences, CRSEES provides a range of services to producers, families, communities, and customers. Through CSREES, local communities have access to:
The Enterprise Foundation was founded in 1982 to provide support to local organizations engaged in the development of affordable housing; Enterprise has since expanded its focus to include economic and social development. Enterprise uses its resources to work in the following areas:
The founding principle of the Enterprise Foundation is to bring capital to places that had never had access to capital before. Enterprise s primary strategy has been to create partnerships among local development organizations, community groups, local government, and other entities to build community capacity. In addition to facilitating these partnerships, Enterprise provides direct funding in the form of loan funds and equity financing and sustained technical assistance. Focusing on concentration cities (e.g., Miami, Columbus, Cleveland, Los Angeles), Enterprise provides capacity building and business planning through local offices. The Enterprise Foundation has a total of 18 concentration cities in which a significant amount of the foundation's financial and human resources are allocated to; seven of those cities are home to program offices. There is a network of 1,900 community-based organizations working with Enterprise to build local communities.
Since its inception in 1982, Enterprise has raised and invested $3.5 billion in loans, equity and grants to build 120,000 homes for low-income people. The organization has worked with local partners to place 35,000 people in jobs and helped support the creation of 2,000 child care slots. Enterprise had a total of $216 million in assets in 2000 and the organization had a loan portfolio of more than $29 million.
Founded by the Ford Foundation in 1979, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation was created to provide community development corporations with needed support to revitalize communities. LISC is the nation s largest nonprofit community development intermediary and it supports 43 local programs in cities and counties across the country. LISC raises funds to support the work of CDCs through three programs:
LISC operates a number of specialized programs to provide CDCs with financial and technical assistance support, including:
Since 1982, LISC has raised over $3 billion and has leveraged an additional $3.5 billion in public and private sector funds to support the work of local CDCs. LISC has helped 1,700 CDCs build or rehabilitate 100,000 affordable housing units and has supported the creation of commercial space. For Year 2000, LISC had $352 million in total assets, approximately $75 million in loans to CDCs, and over $7 million in recoverable grants.
Overall, the intermediaries included in the inventory have significant capacity to engage in supportive efforts to expand the work of local social and economic community development organizations. This inventory, while being a pilot study and admittedly limited in scope, has identified a vast resource for developing sustainable community capacity for social and economic community development as well as other goals. Some nationally recognized intermediaries chose not to participate. These intermediaries have been around for some time with an average age of over 20 years. While the major national intermediaries of LISC and Enterprise Foundation operate in 61 offices nationally, this inventory has determined that there are at least 122 of these independent local organizations across the country. Local intermediaries receive funding most often from national foundations. Yet, there is very little written or understood about their role, effectiveness, and potential.
Combined with national 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 the 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.
For national foundations, local intermediaries provide a great opportunity to advance and sustain the goals of their initiatives. From the few intermediaries that this issue was discussed with, we found that their national foundation funding was independent of any local initiatives supported by the local foundations. The degree to which national foundations do and could use local intermediaries for supporting their grantees and initiatives is worthy of further investigation. This can be a tremendous advance over the current practice of using national intermediaries and consultants or using local consultants, often as supplements to national providers. While the use of local consultants is an improvement, such capacity building practices does not establish a sustainable infrastructure that can continue to enhance community capacity. As foundation and other funders continue to address complex social issues such as social and economic community development capacity building infrastructure (or enabling system) must be embedded for the a long time within a community.
The local intermediaries in this inventory reported having a broad and established capacity to enhance the capacity of their communities to address social and economic community development. They to appear to have some need for:
Community organizing capacity. While 77 % focus on community building and organizing issues, only 35 percent provide that service. This reflects a frequently mentioned problem that we have found in our work- the lack of intensive community organizing training in many cities for those not affiliated with the major organizing networks (e.g. ACORN, IAF, PICO, etc).
Greater guidance and accountability from community leaders. As noted earlier 50% of the intermediaries have community members on their Boards and other advisory groups. Over half provided assistance regarding youth, but less than 10% have youth in advisory roles. It is unknown what impact this really has on the quality of the intermediary services, but these are basic ways to achieve such guidance. Other methods of inputs (e.g., meetings, surveys, etc. ) have not been used extensively.
Policy Advocacy. Only about two out of five intermediaries (39%) address policy issues in their communities, while more than half (55%) believed that local policies are not often supportive of their work.
Enhancing overall capacity building strategies. One of the strengths of local intermediaries are their multi-faceted approaches to capacity building. Almost one quarter provided fundraising services, less that half (44%) provide support networks, only about half (55%) provided publications, and about two-thirds provided organizational development, and evaluation and research services. Assistance is needed in helping them develop a larger toolbox for building community capacity.
Staff training and development. Almost half (47%) of the intermediaries participating in this inventory believed that their staff do not have sufficient access to training, technical assistance, or consultants to meet their needs. Intermediary staff not only need content areas knowledge (e.g. economic development, community organizing) but also the knowledge and skills on how to best transfer their content knowledge (e.g. adult education, facilitation, consultation skills)
Insufficient staffing. At least 44 % of the respondents believed that they had insufficient staff to meet their organizational needs. This may be due to financial limits or the inability to find people with sufficient expertise. This inventory was no able to determine he cause of this challenge.
This study is among the first domestically to examine local intermediaries as a critical component for building and enhancing community capacity for social and economic community development. While it is an initial and clearly incomplete inventory of local intermediaries nationally, this study suggests a great deal of potential. Local intermediaries have reported their longevity and ability to implement sustained efforts for social and economic community development efforts locally for a far longer time and possibility more comprehensively than typical national initiatives.
Local intermediaries can support and help sustain national initiatives implemented at the local level as well as generating local initiatives. A good deal of attention has been given to intermediaries that help local organization assess and use information on local conditions, such as the National Neighborhood Indicators Project. There does not seem to be an equivalent effort to develop the infrastructure to help community organizations use the information and take action to promote social and economic community development. In recognition of this potential, we make the following recommendations for the consideration by the philanthropic community:
Develop a database of local intermediaries. This inventory should be completed and a national scan should be undertaken.. Foundations and other funders considering local initiatives could use this database. The database could assist funders to engage these local intermediaries. It can also serve as the basis for implementing other recommendations presented here.
Identify and evaluate promising strategies. The more effective methods for building community capacity are not well established. Studies of local intermediary practices can help improve our understanding of how strategic combinations of services (e.g., consultation, training, incentive grants, peer networks, etc.) can be used to best support community initiatives.
Create a national network of intermediaries. Currently there is not a national network or clearinghouse specifically to address the needs of local intermediaries that are not affiliated with the Cooperative Extension Service or any of the other national intermediaries. The only exception is the 12 member Community Development Partnership Network (www.cdpn.org). Most of CDPN s members focus on supporting community development corporations. This network or one that could be established can foster learning, research, peer support, dissemination of innovation, and advancement of local intermediaries.
Provide training and consultation skills to support the development and enhancement of local intermediaries. Consultation and training for the development of local intermediaries can be conducted through new or existing networks such as CDPN , the National Community Building Network, or a national intermediary, Assistance is needed in establishing local intermediaries where there aren t any and there is local support. Staff training and other support can be provide to help enhance skills needed for community capacity building.
Link local and national intermediaries. A national conference is recommended to help develop a strategy to facilitate the improved strategic relationship for national and local intermediaries. Local and national intermediaries have can play complementary roles and assets. The focus should be how to more effectively work together in order to support community capacity building.
 Much of the literature presented in this review is from the international development field. Very little work has been done to evaluate the operation and structure of domestic intermediary organizations, specifically local intermediaries.
 There have been criticisms of intermediaries as mechanisms of empowerment. These issues are reviewed below in the potential conflicts and challenges section.
 Carroll (1992) uses the terms grassroots support organizations (GSO) and membership support organizations (MSO) to describe the work of intermediary support organizations. Intermediary has negative connotations in Latin America and in other parts of the world. A GSO is an organization that creates links between beneficiaries, government agencies, donors, and financial institutions to support the work of local groups in disadvantaged communities. MSO do similar work; however, these groups are accountable to its base membership (e.g., labor union). One primary distinction between the two being that GSO are outsiders and MSO are more typically insiders.
 The W.K Kellogg Foundation funded this work.
 ASDC distributed the survey to several intermediaries that had connections to other organizations. In several cases, the larger organization distributed the questionnaire to its member or affiliate organizations. Consequently, the questionnaire may have been distributed to more than 122 organizations.
 The intermediary survey was specifically targeted to intermediaries providing service to local communities. The definition used to identify intermediaries specifically stated that the intermediary had to provide services to local communities.
 Chavis, D.M., Florin, P., & Felix, M.R.J (1992).
 Several of the intermediaries included in the inventory are housed in local LISC offices. However, they are separate entities.
 Information regarding the Enterprise Foundation was gathered through a review of the organization s web site and from the publication Doing Social Change for a Living: Impressions of Community and Family Strengthening Strategies from Career Activists with Lessons for the Next Generation of Change Agents.
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Inventory of Community Development Intermediary Organizations
Organization name: ____________________________________________________1. ORIGINS:
3. CONTENT AREAS:
Your organization provides assistance to groups PRIMARILY working in which of the following content areas? (check all that apply)
Are these services provided free of charge? Yes No5. POPULATION SERVED:
What is the geographic scope of your organization s work? (check all that apply and please specify the area)
Is your organization an independent organization?
Does your organization have an independent Board of Directors or Advisory Committee?
Which of the following are represented on your board/committee?
Aside from board/committee representation, how else do (or how do you) you receive direction or advise from the community?
How many staff members are employed by your organization? ____ Full-time____ Part-time
Does your organization have local offices within the community?
What is your organization s current annual budget? operating
Which of the following provide a major percentage (greater than 10%) of your organization s funding? (Check all that apply)
8. CONTACT INFORMATION:
What is the contact information for the Executive Director or other chief executive officer?
Name _______________________________ Title ________________________________
City _______________________________ State ____ Zip______________________
Telephone ____________________________ Fax ________________________________
E-mail ____________________________ General
Website ____________________________ Email ________________________________
We would like to learn
more about your organization s capacities.