Community Building Institute

What We Do

The Community Building Institute approaches each project as a new opportunity to learn alongside communities and stakeholders, and to grow in our understanding of the region's people and places. We have a set of skills that we bring to each project, but we work first with a community to establish a shared clarity around a project's purpose and the best way to accomplish it. We work throughout Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeast Indiana.

Community Engagement and Planning

Working with communities to build and strengthen the networks of people and organizations needed to get things done is the starting point for much of what we do. We work hard to find the voices in community that too often go unheard, and connect them to the civic infrastructure of the larger community. Quality of life plans, appreciative inquiry, interviews, neighborhood planning, social entrepreneurship, visioning and aligning are all methods we use to develop strategies to address problems and create positive change. Our approach centers on getting diverse groups of community members together in ways that are comfortable for them, creating space for them to articulate what they care about, and connecting them to the institutions, organizations, and resources they need to make the positive change they want to see in their communities.

Trainings and Forums

CBI was founded 20 years ago to teach people about asset based community development. We have broadened our training and forum offerings over the years to respond to community needs. We are present in communities, working directly with people, and we gain insights into the kinds of training topics that would be helpful to enhance community work. We also bring forward topics that we see a need for, and work with our partners to collaborative on providing training opportunities. Our trainings often include local best practices as well as regional and national experts. We recognize that we are doing a lot of things well in this region and we like to shine a light on good local work.

Research, Analysis, and Evaluation

CBI works with partners to identify important questions facing our communities and the region. We use quantitative and qualitative analysis to deeply understand issues and we work with stakeholders to develop recommendations and strategies that can lead to better outcomes. Data analysis, mapping, and interviews are essential tools for understanding issues and their potential solutions. For example, CBI has worked with the Youth Commission of Cincinnati to understand how the entire community can better support our children, we have worked with the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority to understand what strategies might best help us overcome the housing instability associated with the 2008 foreclosure crisis, and we have worked with the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency to develop recommendations that can help better meet the immediate needs of people living in poverty while also helping them move out of poverty. CBI also provides ongoing evaluation support for Place Matters, Cincinnati's comprehensive community development initiative. We work with community lead organizations to better understand and share how the work they are doing is connected to community improvements. In recent years, we have worked with leads to understand how they are addressing poverty and how they approach equity.

Please see Our Work for examples of our reports and plans.