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Community Science is continuing our webinar series in response to the continued murder and overall treatment of African-Americans and too many others in the hands of our police; the health inequities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic; and the structural racism that exists in education and other systems. We are committing our personal and organizational resources to join with communities of color and others in addressing these injustices and no longer tolerating silence. Let's learn together how and to vigorously move forward in our pursuit of justice for all. If we are really in it together, let's prove it.

Click here for our webinars.

News & Info

Community Science Stands for Democracy, Justice, and a Beloved Community

Friends and Colleagues,

“Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to build what we call the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”

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Community Organizing After the Election: A Grassroots Perspective with Q&A

Four passionate and committed organizers working on different types of issues and campaigns and with diverse communities joined us on October 29 for a discussion about challenges and opportunities for community organizing in the wake of this year's election. Read the summary of the coversation ...


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Stronger Leaders, More Effective Action, Equitable Change

The widening of racial and economic inequities illuminated by the pandemic and incidents of police brutality have compelled funders to explicitly invest in diversity, equity, and inclusivity strategies.

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Measuring the Effect of Habitat for Humanity’s Quality-of-Life Approach on Neighborhoods

Community Science has worked closely with Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) to support the expansion of its neighborhood revitalization strategy and to deepen the field’s understanding of best practices for improving neighborhood quality of life. 

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Cross-Racial Civic Participation: Shifting Power to Support Policy and System Change

Philanthropy has long recognized the importance of engaging and working with communities to address inequities underlying persistent and growing disparities in physical and mental health, education, employment, entrepreneurship and other economic outcomes. Often these communities are defined geographically and/or by their racial, ethnic or socio-economic status. As the country becomes more diverse, there is growing understanding that similar system-level factors contribute to adverse outcomes faced by many disadvantaged communities, including communities of color and low-income white communities.  However, non-profit organizations serving these communities tend to work separately on these issues rather than together as partners with common goals.

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Voting Rights and Get out the Vote Efforts: Evaluation of the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative

Community Science is working with the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative (hereafter referred to as the “Collaborative”) to evaluate its joint initiative “Forging Racial Equity through Policy Advancement, Data-Informed Civic Engagement, and Message Development Initiative.” The Collaborative is composed of nine national racial justice organizations: Advancement Project, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS (hereafter referred to as the “Anchors”). In 2016, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation asked the Collaborative to design, develop, and implement an initiative it could collectively work on to develop and strengthen cross-racial collaboration to advance racial equity locally and nationally.

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Community Science Participates in its Biannual Day of Service

Community Science participated in its biannual day of service at Interfaith Works Clothing Center on November 5, 2019.

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Learnings from Evaluating Neighborhood Quality-of-Life Initiatives

Most neighborhood-focused change efforts are designed to improve residents’ overall quality of life. The assumption is that if we are able to improve neighborhood conditions such as housing quality and affordability, employment options, the quality of local schools, and the sense of community among residents, then residents’ lives will improve. 

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Are cultural adaptations of evidence-based programs sufficient to address disparities?

Despite decades of research, behavioral health disparities continue to negatively affect ethnic and racial minority populations, including immigrant populations. To reduce disparities, behavioral health programs need to be successful in reaching and influencing subcultural groups while also demonstrating effectiveness in improving targeted outcomes (Barrera et al., 2013).

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Project Spotlight Integrated Marketing Health Communication Project for the US Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Program Office

For the last three years, Community Science has been at the forefront of the battle against misinformation about the efficacy and safety of vaccines by assisting the US Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO), recently renamed as the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV AIDS Policy, to develop and disseminate communications that provide accurate, timely, transparent, and audience-appropriate information about vaccines.

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Using Culture as a Blunt Instrument to Counteract Antivaccine Misinformation Campaigns

This article discusses culture-based communication strategies that can be used to address the growing number of antivaccine misinformation campaigns that have contributed to a number of outbreaks in the United States and around the world.

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Building Community Capacity in Puerto Rico Through Food Sovereignty Advocacy

For almost two years now, media outlets have been acquainting the U.S. public with the conditions in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria made landfall in September 20, 2017.1 Less prominent in these accounts, however, are discussions about how, instead of creating the conditions reported, this disaster brought to the surface the limited capacity of the local government to tend to the needs of its constituents as well as the long-standing federal neglect of the affairs of the territory.2 As the scope of the crisis and unmet needs emerged, local residents and community organizers stepped up to fill this institutional vacuum.3 Food sovereignty advocates and organizations were key factors in these grassroots relief and reconstruction efforts. This article discusses how food sovereignty advocates in Puerto Rico mobilized a network of community stakeholders to respond to the hurricane crisis and how this context is shaping their efforts to promote a locally responsive food system. For this, the article describes the socioeconomic circumstances on the island before Maria’s landfall, how previous moments of crisis fostered attention to food system issues, and how agroecology and food sovereignty frameworks are informing current efforts to reconnect food consumption and agricultural production and to promote community participation in the food policy process.

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Spotlight On: Supporting Systems Change to Reduce Food Loss and Waste

Community Science completed a rapid assessment for one of the largest foundations in the United States of their initiative to support systems change to reduce food loss and waste. This initiative was designed to reshape how key actors and institutions within the system perceived the problem of interest, increase the priority and attention given to that problem, develop stronger networks among key players within the system, and encourage key players and institutions to take on a greater role in addressing the problem. The initiative focused on supporting a growing national movement to raise awareness and educate stakeholders about food waste, identify promising solutions, and implement food-waste prevention and intervention strategies.

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Community Science Participates in a Day of Service

Community Science participated in its biannual day of service at Cedar Ridge Farm on May 21, 2019. Cedar Ridge Farm is a nonprofit organization that grows over a ton of organic food, which is given to local groups that serve the hungry and homeless. Community Science staff spent the day tilling the soil, weeding, planting, and mowing the grass.

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Strategies for Increasing Equity in Central Business District Revitalization Efforts

Small and medium-size cities, including those in both urban and rural areas, have often pursued revitalizing their central business districts (CBDs). Cities pursue this work because thriving CBDs/downtowns can (1) create entrepreneurial business and job opportunities; (2) bring human and financial resources into the community, fostering additional investment opportunities; and (3) deepen or enhance residents’ sense of community and their perception of hope for the community’s future. While cities and other key stakeholders often pursue these efforts with the intention of improving the lives of all residents within the community, benefits tend to accumulate to property owners and other well-capitalized individuals and have limited direct benefit for those living in poverty. Without an intentional focus on equity, those renting in the district and those with fewer connections to information and decision-making are unlikely to benefit from any positive growth. There is a need to help communities understand how the benefits from their revitalization efforts will likely be distributed and to provide them with direction on possible strategies that can be used to better infuse equity principles into their efforts. This article provides guidance on achieving greater equity. We take core practices identified in the literature as contributing to downtown success and recommend ways that they can be adjusted to ensure a more equitable approach to revitalization (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014). This overlay demonstrates some of the ways that these practices can be adapted to create opportunities for all residents.

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Further Developing Leaders of Color: A Systems Approach to Equity

In recent years philanthropy has recognized leadership development as a key strategy in improving the participation of people of color and low-income individuals in the positions and spaces that determine policies, procedures, and practices intended to produce social change. Nonetheless, many leadership development programs reflect prevailing cultural values regarding individualism and assume that just selecting and developing the “right” individuals and providing them with specific knowledge and skills will naturally result in an increased individual capacity, strengthened organizations, an increased collective leadership capacity, and an improved ability to serve the community. This approach, however, does not address the structural and systemic barriers that constrain individual power or reflect the fact that collaborative approaches are needed to dismantle structural racism and advance equity. This article summarizes key principles about how to create the conditions and capacities needed to support leaders of color seeking to advance equity and social justice from our evaluations of leadership development programs.

Changing the behavior of individuals is necessary but not sufficient to achieve equity and social justice; it will not necessarily result in comprehensive systems interventions that address the underlying causes of structural racism and inequity. Community Science has evaluated a number of leadership development programs and found that for these programs to work, a number of key elements need to be emphasized beyond a focus on the individual development of traditional leadership skills.

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Recent Publications:

New Report from Community Science to Help City Governments Get Ready for Racial Equity Work

Community Science is proud to present one of our latest reports – lessons learned from a national initiative to help city governments get ready for racial equity work. The Racial Equity Here (REH) initiative, funded by Living Cities, engaged and supported a cohort of five U.S. cities committed to transforming policies and practices to address the inequities within their systems of government. The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) was funded by Living Cities to provide training and technical assistance to guide these cities over a two-year period as they worked toward their racial equity goals. The final report is based on the evaluation of the initiative. Community Science used the evaluation findings to report on lessons learned and offer recommendations to other cities interested in engaging in racial equity work.


The Steps-By-Step Guide to Evaluation: How to Become Savvy Evaluation Consumers (June 2018)

Community Science is proud to present The Step-By-Step Guide to Evaluation: How to Become Savvy Evaluation Consumers, which we developed for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This new guide is designed for people with little or no experience with formal evaluation to help them become more familiar with evaluation concepts and practices, partner better with independent evaluators, and use evaluation more effectively to continually learn from and improve their work.


Emerging Action Principles for Designing and Planning Community Change (March 2015)

Community Matters! Decades of scientific research have shown that being part of a supportive, inclusive and capable community promotes mental, physical, and social well-being more than any other factors known to the social and medical sciences. Our publication series, Community Matters: Action Principles, Frameworks, and Strategies, shares what science and practice have taught us about building and strengthening community. The first publication in this series, “Emerging Principles for Designing and Implementing Community Change,” has just been released.


Local Voices: On-the-Ground Perspectives on Driving Community Change in the Making Connections Sites (July 2014)

This report describes, from the perspective of local stakeholders, the experience of several sites involved in Making Connections — the Foundation’s signature community change initiative of the 2000s — in developing and enhancing the core capacities essential for articulating and pursuing a local community change agenda. The report describes the conditions in the communities when Making Connections began; the core capacities built during the decade-long initiative; the factors that contributed to capacity building; the evidence of improved outcomes for children, families and neighborhoods resulting from the enhanced change capacities; the continuing challenges of sustaining those capacities; and key takeaways from the experience.  


Addressing Health Disparities Through Organizational Change-Evaluation Report (April 2012)

In 2006, The Colorado Trust funded 14 organizations to improve their cultural competency in order to strengthen their capacity to reduce health disparities.  Community Science was engaged to evaluate the initiative, specifically assessing: 1) changes in cultural competency among grantees, 2) the influence of cultural competency changes on grantee interventions and short -term outcomes, 3) factors and conditions needed to bring about positive changes in organizational cultural competency, and 4) grantee progress and accomplishments over time.  


The Importance of Culture in Evaluation

The Importance of Culture in Evaluation, a publication funded by The Colorado Trust, provides insights to help guide the complex dynamics between evaluators, funders and stakeholders of different cultures. The report provides examples of where cross-cultural competency is critical in evaluation and recommends questions and strategies that an evaluator should consider when practicing this form of cultural competency.