Community Building Institute

Who We Are

The Birth of CBI from Community Building Institute on Vimeo.


The Community Building Institute was established in 1995 as a partnership between Xavier University and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. We are a small but mighty staff of city planners, sociologists, and urban anthropologists. We are a partner to communities; learning and growing alongside of them as they lead positive community change-making efforts.

Our work is always community-led and asset-based. This means we believe it is important to see what is working well in communities, celebrate it, and lift it up. Too often we talk about what isn't working or what's wrong instead of learning from what is working and what's right. We value the insights, wisdom, and skills that communities bring to the table and believe these gifts can be used to address even the most pressing challenges. We believe that this approach of using assets and strengths to tackle challenges leads to more sustainable, positive change in communities.

We are constantly listening to and learning from communities. Our recent work reflects collective insights we have gained from communities over more than two decades on the issues of poverty, affordable housing, transportation, and education. We understand that everything that impacts families is connected and that too many of our families live with a great deal of fragility. We recognize the systems that perpetuate challenges for the families in our region, but believe that the solutions can be derived from within our communities. We are committed to using the insights and relationships that we have to help create solutions that are informed by and respond to the interconnectedness and complexity that our community's families face every day.

Mission Statement

The Community Building Institute engages, empowers, and energizes community residents, organizations and institutions to mobilize their collective talents and resources to improve communities based on a widely shared vision.