Another great year at the Community Leadership Institute!

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I’m returning home from Louisville today full of inspiration from this year’s class, TA providers, staff and the wider group that NeighborWorks® America invited to the 2015 CLI.  Wow!

We kicked off this year’s Institute with dinner and introductions on Thursday night.  The three ROC Association Directors – Liz, Colleen, and Natividad – and I welcomed the 26 ROC leaders who travelled from Washington, Montana, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.

We also had three 2015 candidates for ROC Association in the group – Kim and Brenda from the New England region and Marjory from the East, Midwest and South region.    

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Also joining us at dinner was Paul Weech, the new CEO of NeighborWorks America.  Given he had 1,000 CLI guests, it was a truly a privilege he joined us for dinner and introductions.

He shared what he said were six reasons why NeighborWorks America and ROC USA are kindred spirits.  I’ll paraphrase his remarks here because they were spot on and because it will give insight into ROC USA’s reputation and role:

  1. NeighborWorks supports strong nonprofits that have strong entrepreneurial leadership.  ROC USA stands out on both accounts in the nonprofit sector.
  2. Both organizations from our very beginnings have been committed to the role that resident leaders must play in shaping their own futures.
  3. Our missions are aligned: It’s about affordable housing and strong communities.  I have long thought that manufactured housing is a big piece of the solution.  I’m pleased we’re associated with a group that’s making it happen.
  4. We’re both committed to rural communities – more than 200 of NeighborWorks’ network affiliates do some rural work.
  5. We both share a commitment to social enterprise.  In an era of shrinking public subsidies, nonprofits are being called on to pursue their missions with increased business acumen.  It’s about increasing earned revenues and leveraging private capital to serve nonprofit missions.
  6. Finally, NeighborWorks and ROC USA believe in the power of networks.  At their core, networks create trust and allow people to support one another and help one another solve problems.  At the next level of functionality, networks become a way to share best practices and innovation.  At their very best, they build economy of scale.  I see all of those components in ROC USA’s work and vision.

All in all, a truly fun and inspiring weekend that manages to be exhausting while recharging my batteries all at the same time. Can’t wait for next year in Columbus!

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