During the summer of 2016, BECDD organized several "kitchen cabinets" - 8 affinity groups of like-stakeholders - monthly meetings for candid discussions about the challenges and solutions to build Detroit's community development system.
The eight kitchen cabinets consisted of Practitioners, Funders, Academia, City Government, Capacity Builders, Civic Organizations, Grass Roots Organizations and Social Entrepreneurs. The Kitchen Cabinet Meetings were held from June thru September.
In the Kitchen Cabinet Meetings, the stakeholder groups with the most participation were Practitioners (19 CDOs, 21 people) followed by Academia (15 institutions, 18 people); Capacity Builders (14 organizations, 18 people); then Funders (12 institutions, 15 people), City Government (11 people, 4 separate departments), Grass Roots Organizations (9 groups, 9 people), and Social Entrepreneurs (7 businesses, 7 people). The Civic Institutions meeting had 18 participants/17 institutions).
103 organizations accepted our invitation; and 98 organizations actually engaged, with 117 individuals engaged representing those institutions; and more organizations have been requesting to participate in Phase Two.
A "General Themes" document was produced and presented to various stakeholders during August and September.
A key element of "system development" surfaced as a result of obvious unclarity on what community development means for Detroit. So an important step has been to clarify/define "what is community development in Detroit" and "what is the role of the CDO and the Grass Roots Organization in community development." A draft description/definition was compiled from all the feedback and was approved by consensus at the All Stakeholder Convening
A major theme that surfaced was the importance/gap related to the function of "Advocacy" (Voice for Neighborhoods, Advocacy for Community Development Industry.)
A second major theme that surfaced was the need to build trusting relationships among all stakeholders in community development.
A third theme was a call for a set of success measures - a common vision for where we should be headed together.