Community development practitioners and researchers are fully aware of the multifaceted nature of the development process and the many diverse groups involved in the various steps. In the beginning, successful development requires a project(s) that meets a need within the community and has local support. The project must be sold to local leaders and managed in a way that is accepted by constituents to gain their involvement. To succeed, a project must also be financed adequately with appropriate incentives provided to investors and other agencies involved. Finally, documenting outcomes and their contributions to the local area is important to build support for a sustainable local development process.
The articles presented in this volume of COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT touch on most of these issues and provide interesting examples of successful, new, or unusual approaches. In this regard, both development practitioners and scholars should find the discussions of interest, and perhaps they offer some thought-provoking ideas for future activities.
Long-term funding is necessary for sustainable local community and economic development initiatives. In the article, "Wealth Transfer: A Philanthropic Opportunity for Community Development Practitioners," Mark Edelman and Sandra Charvat Burke start this volume off with a discussion of community foundations in Iowa as a way to capture a portion of the impending transfer of wealth for local community development projects. These foundations can serve many purposes, but they have been used in supporting local projects designed to improve quality of life and community development even in relatively small communities.
Not every resident in the community supports community development or economic expansion, and the next article, "Jobs Now, Later, or ... Never? An Exploration of Resistance to Economic Change in Communities," by Scott Loveridge, Janet Bokemeier, and Peter Kakela, presents the findings from a survey of residents in Michigan regarding attitudes about in-coming businesses. Respondents clearly differ in attitude about economic development with some relatively surprising findings.
Diversity in a community is usually considered a desirable outcome from a development process, but it also can make the process more difficult when various ethnic groups have opposing attitudes and positions. The findings of a project in the Mississippi Delta region described in an article by Jerry Robinson, Jr., and Brent Hales, "Models and Methods for Creating Sustainable Community-Based Development Organizations in Diverse Communities," suggest that certain development approaches can make major differences in outcomes of a development project. This article suggests that it is possible to bring diverse groups together for a common purpose(s) to achieve significant results.
Many, if not most, community developers would agree that telecommunications are essential to the future of local development and that community leaders should place high priority on building capacity on this issue. A project involving five communities in four states, described in the next article, "Leading Community Innovation: Organizing Successful Rural Telecommunications Self-Development Projects," by Ann Hollifield, Joe Donnermeyer, Gwen Wolford, and Robert Agunga, finds that the ways in which the telecommunications initiatives are formulated--and which institutions are involved-make a substantial difference in ultimate outcomes. …