Section Highlights

The CLI is powerful because it reflects
our values so thoroughly.
-- CLI Participant

Stay Connected

Dorothy Richardson Awards for Resident Leadership

  • The Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership is an honor bestowed annually at the CLI in recognition of outstanding contributions by dedicated community leaders.

    Learn more here.

Community Leadership Institutes

Strengthening the voices and skills of community, resident and volunteer leaders

The Community Leadership Institute (CLI) is an invitation-only, three-day training event that aims to strengthen the voices and skills of community, resident and volunteer leaders. Participants from around the country, who attend in small teams from communities served by NeighborWorks Network organizations and their partners. 

The CLIs are a vehicle for learning and a forum for discussing community issues and sharing best practices and solutions to the problems faced by low- to moderate-income communities. A full range of courses is offered to equip participants with the knowledge they need to improve their communities in many ways. At the end of every CLI, each participating team creates an action plan so they can effectively bring the knowledge they gained at the CLI back to their communities and use it to affect positive change. Many CLI projects are eligible for $2,000 grants from NeighborWorks America.

Since 1995, NeighborWorks America has conducted 25 CLIs:

Sample CLI Project: Avenue Community Development Corporation, Houston, Texas


“Schools, businesses, artists, community organizations, and residents came together at “Sabor Del Northside” to celebrate the great things in the Northside. What began as a brainstorm from eight resident leaders became reality as more than 1,000 people flocked to Ketelsen Elementary for this vibrant community festival.

Even before the festival day, the “Sabor Del Northside” planning committee considered the event a success, because the planning process truly brought the community together. More than 50 organizations and businesses signed up to have booths at the festival to showcase their work.



Project GRAD hosted a student art show on the next block. Local bands signed up to play, and cheerleaders and dance groups eagerly asked to perform. Parent-teacher organizations sold tacos and drinks to support their schools. Lindale Civic Club brought out children’s games and prizes. Marshall Middle School created elaborate decorations. It seemed that the idea of a festival, located in the heart of the neighborhood, sparked the collective imagination of the community.

At the festival, it was clear that there is so much to celebrate in the Northside. The festival was also the groundbreaking for the new Ketelsen SPARK Park, a beautiful new community playground and park that will be built this summer.

The festival was funded by a $2,000 NeighborWorks America CLI grant, and including volunteer hours and in-kind donations, leveraged more than $43,000 in resources.”

Text and photos submitted by Avenue Community Development Corporation (Avenue CDC) in Houston, Texas.






















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