Community Building Institute

Current Projects

The Community Building Institute wants to know what types of community development trainings you're looking for to achieve success in neighborhoods. Please complete our short survey and help design a training that meets the needs of community stakeholders such as yourself.

Dearborn County Community Implementation Strategy

CBI is working with the United Way of Greater Cincinnati - Dearborn and Ohio Counties to create an implementation strategy to move three Big Ideas forward in Dearborn County: (1) Developing Leadership; (2) A Ready Workforce; and (3) Substance Abuse and Prevention. The strategies will identify how opportunities and assets can be used to confront the biggest challenges facing Dearborn County. Specific action steps developed during the project will identify the actions needed to achieve the Big Ideas, and the roles and responsibilities of the United Way and its partners. The three Big Ideas were identified through individual and group interviews of more than 40 stakeholders in non-profits, schools and libraries, local governments, philanthropy, economic development, health, criminal justice, business, and media.

Following 40+ community interviews and a large public meeting, smaller strategy teams are now meeting to flesh out actions for each of three Big Ideas to move Dearborn County forward: (1) Developing Leadership; (2) A Ready Workforce; and (3) Substance Abuse and Prevention. Strategy teams will use Issue Briefs developed by CBI to define the issue, identify relevant organizations, identify opportunities and assets that the community can use to take action, clarify the role of the United Way, and detail specific actions and partners. Full recommendations will be completed and reported out to the community this winter. More about Dearborn's Big Ideas.


Creative Placemaking

Valerie Daley and Chris Schadler, with support from Margy Waller, completed an initial evaluation report in the spring of 2016 of creative placemaking efforts in two Cincinnati communities: Price Hill and Walnut Hills. As part of the evaluation, we interviewed more than 30 artists, residents, community development professions, and stakeholders to create a baseline understanding of how creative placemaking is contributing to social, physical, and economic impacts in the two communities. In September, the CBI team shared lessons learned with community stakeholders from both communities.

The evaluation is part of a pilot initiative for creative placemaking. LISC Cincinnati received one of five grants through a national competition in 2015. The CBI team attended a convening of other pilot sites throughout the country to discuss evaluation findings in Providence, RI in June. The evaluation of creative placemaking is a constantly evolving field and CBI is thankful to be a part of the learning community that seek to understand how arts and culture can positively impact social, economic, and physical redevelopment efforts in communities.


King Studios

More about our current work. King Studios website.

More about King Records.


Place Matters


Youth Engagement - Aiken in Africa!

Youth Engagement at CBI from Community Building Institute on Vimeo.

The Youth Leadership and Engagement Academy was supported this year by CBI, PNC, and The Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning. With the help of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, we connected with nearly one-hundred students for three separate sessions on leadership and civic engagement. Volunteers from St. Vincent DePaul, Cincinnati Youth Light House Services, and Public Allies played a tremendous role in making this year's Academy even more impactful.

Motivated by their participation in the Youth Leadership and Engagement Series, Aiken High School students created a Leadership Team made up of sophomores, juniors and seniors. Sandy Horine, a Counselor at Aiken returned from Sierra Leone in February 2014 and told the Leadership Team about a village she visited that needed a School as the closest school is 3 miles away and the preschool and elementary schools are not safe to walk to. Only 41% of the people in Sierra Leone are literate. The Team decided to champion this project and raise $4,400 before Christmas 2014. They started out with a Change for Change project collecting change from students. They also did an out of uniform day fundraiser. Next year they are going to sell "shares" to students, so students can share in the ownership and building of the school. The $4,400 is for supplies to build the school which will be built by the village. It will be given through a foundation that is helping schools in Sierra Leone. This school will allow students to go through the 6th grade and then graduate and go to the secondary school 3 miles away. Because education is the key out of poverty - the Leadership Team has selected this project to make a change - to make a difference. Aiken students are hoping to continue the partnership after the school is built - by helping with supplies and maybe even becoming pen-pals with some of the students. They would also love to visit someday after the school is completed.


The Neighborhood Asset-mapping Tool (NAT)

The Neighborhood Asset-mapping tool is an online resource to connect residents to one another and encourage civic engagement. Residents are using NAT to create a profile of their neighborhood that focuses solely on community strengths, to share those resources with the broader community, and learn more about the great things happening in surrounding neighborhoods. There's over 300 entries in this data-base, but some neighborhoods still aren't represented. NAT is growing and we hope you'll use this resource to connect with your neighbors and learn more about assets in other communities. Click here to access NATor go to You can also add this link to your home page.


Creative Culture and Quality Of Life

It would benefit urban neighborhoods if there were a better understanding of the real impact of the "gritty arts" on a community's vitality, identity, health and overall quality of life. In Cincinnati the music scene plays an important role in providing a higher quality of life within its urban neighborhoods. It does so by developing a unique sense of place, offering cultural amenities, creating a foundation for economic development and oddly enough providing the unique service of public safety.