Former city planning director Liz Blume joins CBI

Blume to oversee partnership between University and United Way that transforms area communities | January 29, 2003

Former City of Cincinnati planning director Elizabeth Blume is joining the Community Building Institute as associate director on Feb. 3. CBI is a partnership between the University and the United Way & Community Chest of Greater Cincinnati that supports community-based organizations in transforming their communities at the neighborhood level. Blume’s hiring begins an expansion of the 8-year-old institute’s efforts. “I am thrilled to be joining the CBI staff,” says Blume. “This is a great opportunity to continue the work that is so important to me in Cincinnati and to be associated with Xavier, United Way and (CBI Director) Byron White. I think CBI will be doing great things.” Blume’s responsibilities include planning and directing consulting projects in partnership with other CBI team members, supervising CBI-hired consultants and participating in the direct delivery of services at the grassroots level. She will also be available to Xavier faculty and students, as well as United Way staff and volunteers, as a resource in the areas of community planning and administration. Blume resigned her post with the city in December as the Cincinnati City Council prepared to eliminate the city’s planning department as a cost-cutting measure. While in the position, Blume gained credibility for her attention to neighborhoods and her high regard for community-based leadership. One of her department’s most recent accomplishments was leading several factions in Over-the-Rhine through a process that led to the Over-the-Rhine Plan, a comprehensive blueprint for the neighborhood. The process was highly praised by community participants. Before her 1999 appointment as Cincinnati’s planning director, Blume ran the department of planning and community development in Dayton, Ohio. Her career in planning began in 1982 as an intern in Cincinnati's department of neighborhood housing. “With Blume’s addition, CBI and its highly skilled team is positioned to support the more aggressive community revitalization agendas of both United Way and Xavier,” says United Way president Robert C. Reifsnyder. “United Way is very excited to be a lead partner in an organization that will assist neighborhoods to achieve sustainable, positive change and improve the lives of the people who live and work in them.” “CBI supports Xavier’s strategic initiative to become more engaged in our community and also reinforces our Jesuit mission of forming men and women for others,” says Michael Graham, S.J., president of the University. “It’s very exciting to see these goals taking shape through CBI. This Xavier-United Way partnership is attracting talented people like Liz, whose work will positively impact people and the places they call home.” Established in 1994 by Xavier and United Way, CBI promotes and facilities collaborative action among residents, community-based organizations and institutions that leads to citizen-led, comprehensive, asset-based community revitalization. It provides hands-on consulting, training and information to community-based organizations to increase their capacity to lead. Over the past eight years, CBI has served about 30 communities and neighborhoods throughout Greater Cincinnati, including Kentucky, Indiana and Clermont County, assisting some 170 community leaders in asset-based community development (ABCD). ABCD is a strategy for community revitalization that identifies and mobilizes the assets and strengths of a community for its long-term development. CBI is directed by White, who joined Xavier in June as part of the University’s increased focus on community engagement. White also directs the University's Community Building Collaborative, a network of programs and initiatives, including CBI, that encourage community involvement by the University and civic engagement throughout the Cincinnati region. CBI’s staff also includes senior consultant Steve Driehaus and program director Trina Jackson. Driehaus, the 31st District state representative, previously served as the organization’s director. “We are very excited to have Liz on our team,” says White. “The experience and leadership she brings greatly strengthens our ability to make a positive difference in the Greater Cincinnati community.”