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Book Chapter

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Nonprofit institutions play an integral role in community economic development (CED) in the United States. These entities initiate and implement most CED activities, and the CED movement would be significantly weakened without their existence. This chapter briefly explores the historical context of various nonprofit organizations in assisting low- and moderate-income communities across the United States, the ways in which modern-day nonprofit organizations are effecting change in their communities, and the challenges to their effectiveness.

The first section of this chapter discusses community development corporations (CDCs), neighborhood-based organizations that are the primary instruments used to drive and implement revitalization in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The second section examines national nonprofit intermediaries, organizations created to support CDCs, such as the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (USC), Enterprise Community Partners, formerly known as Enterprise Foundation (Enterprise), and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation now doing business as NeighborWorks America. These organizations, which emerged in the CED field in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, have been essential in supporting CDCs and ensuring the success and continued progress of many CED projects. Local and regional nonprofit intermediaries also support the work of CDCs, but an in-depth discussion of these organizations is beyond the scope of this chapter. The third section of this chapter addresses national nonprofit CED organizations and the ways in which they strengthen the CED movement. Finally, the chapter considers current trends and opportunities for nonprofits in CED such as social capital, social enterprises, and for-profit charities.


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