Regional + City Planning professors Dr. C. Aujean Lee and Dr. John C. Harris, and graduate student Joseph Laws have published a report titled “A Local Nonprofit’s Role in Community Development,” which summarizes findings on a year-long research project to understand the opportunities and constraints of delivering community development services through a nonprofit.  

The report, produced as part of a larger research project exploring the role of nonprofits in community development systems in U.S. cities, was funded through a Faculty Investment Program (FIP) grant from the University of Oklahoma.  

The project team conducted more than 40 interviews with nonprofit professionals, city staff, and residents to understand the work of the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma, an Oklahoma City based nonprofit that provides training and support to neighborhoods and residents.  

The report presents findings from this research that are applicable to community development and planning actors in Oklahoma City and beyond. Nonprofits and municipal governments form important partnerships that are essential to improving everyday for residents.  

Based on their findings, Dr. Lee, Dr. Harris, and Joseph Laws crafted three recommendations to improve the delivery of community development in Oklahoma City. These recommendations included conducting mutual goal setting to support community development, partner with the City to develop new approaches to grassroots community development, and develop metrics that capture community development in a holistic way for contracted services. The recommendations also include suggesting to use an equity lens to address historic legacies of race-based disinvestments and discrimination in the region.  

You can find the full report below.