Miami, Florida

Downtown Miami
Miami skyline

In the 2010 census, Miami had a population of approximately 399,500 residents. While judging by its population, Miami might be regarded as a mid-sized city, it forms the center of a much larger metropolitan region of more than 2.25-million, known as Miami-Dade County. The city's racial composition is 72.4% white, 19% African American, and the remainder Asian. Nearly 70% of Miami residents identify as Hispanic or Latino. Roughly 60 percent of Miami's population is foreign-born, giving Miami the highest concentration of foreign-born residents among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Cuba is one obvious source of immigrants, but immigrants come from all over the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Miami is widely regarded as the gateway city to Latin America in terms of trade and business. Yet Miami also suffers from some unique challenges. Although located right across the causeway from the resort town of Miami Beach, the city of Miami itself is one of the nation's poorest – ranking fifth in the most recent (2006) census survey. Not surprisingly, perhaps, this gap between rich and poor is reflected in census figures: Dade County has the tenth highest degree of income inequality among 244 ranked counties. The city's median household income ranked last among the 100 largest cities in the United States in 2000. The community development group Living Cities also reports that Miami has the fifth lowest home ownership rate and that only 16 percent of its adult residents have a bachelor's degree.

Faced with these formidable obstacles, community wealth building institutions in Miami have played a significant role. Miami has a productive group of community development corporations that in 2002 alone produced 450 units of housing. Some Miami-based CDCs have also branched out into commercial and community facilities development. Other community wealth building efforts are also growing. For instance, the Prosperity Campaign, an earned income tax credit outreach effort led by the Human Services Coalition of Dade County, generated an additional $62 million in revenue in the first year. The group estimates that due to the “multiplier” effect the money claimed through this program help generate $250 million in new spending for the local economy.

An overview of community wealth building efforts follows:

Anchor Institutions

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Since 1950, the Knight Foundation has given awarded grants in excess of $1 billion, including 556 grants in the Detroit area totaling more than $76 million. Among these are grants that address community development and neighborhood revitalization, education and job readiness for the city's workforce, and the city's development of a community wireless strategy. Knight also has committed $10 million to the multi-foundation Detroit “New Economy Initiative” fund. Read more about John S. and James L. Knight Foundation...

Miami 21

Launched by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz in 2005, Miami 21 aims to develop a comprehensive development plan for the City of Miami, in cooperation with the University of Miami and other anchor institutions. The plan is centered on a new zoning code emphasizing smart growth and mixed-use design. In addition, the effort aims to develop strategies in five other areas: economic development, transportation, parks and public space, arts & culture, and historic preservation. Read more about Miami 21...

The Miami Foundation

Founded in 1967, formerly the Dade Community Foundation, the Miami Foundation manages funds to support the emerging charitable needs of Miami-Dade County. The Foundation approaches its grantmaking with a focus on community building and aims to bring together diverse groups in Miami-Dade County to build a more cohesive community. The Foundation supports local nonprofit organizations with grants and technical assistance and makes grants in the broad program areas of education, health, human services, arts and culture, environment, community and economic development. Read more about The Miami Foundation...

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

BAME Community Development Corporation

Established in 1992, BAME is an affiliate of the Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church, the oldest Black Church in Miami. BAME has been at the forefront in providing housing and economic opportunities primarily in Miami's historic Overtown community. BAME has completed 545 affordable housing units. Its newest project is 175 affordable rental units in Tuscan View Apartments. Through its work, BAME aims to serve as an anchor institution in previously neglected neighborhoods. Read more about BAME Community Development Corporation...

Carrfour Supportive Housing

Carrfour Corporation is the non-profit, community based, supportive housing development organization established by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to combat homelessness. Carrfour serves the formerly homeless and those at risk of homelessness, including Miami-Dade's special needs and very low-income populations. Carrfour projects have not only proven to be real assets in assisting their residents in becoming self sufficient and productive; but have contributed to the vitality of the neighborhoods in which they are located as well. Read more about Carrfour Supportive Housing...

Little Haiti Housing Association, Inc.

Little Haiti Housing Association, Inc. (LHHA), a non-profit community development corporation serving the low-income residents of the Little Haiti community of Miami, has been committed to the improvement of the quality of life for its residents since its incorporation in 1987. Read more about Little Haiti Housing Association, Inc....

Miami Beach Community Development Corporation

Founded in 1981, the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation seeks to enhance the quality and diversity of community life and achieve neighborhood revitalization. They pursue and balance historic preservation and urban design, affordable housing and economic vitality and increasing job opportunity, and support for a diverse, eclectic and successful neighborhood social fabric. Read more about Miami Beach Community Development Corporation...

Miami-Dade Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc.

Organized in 1978, Miami-Dade Neighborhood Housing Services' homeownership resources are available countywide, including homebuyer education and counseling, and access to funds for first mortgages, second mortgages, and owner-occupied rehab loans. MDNHS is one of three partners in the 79th Street Corridor Initiative to revitalize the 79th Street commercial corridor. Read more about Miami-Dade Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc....

St. John Community Development Corporation

St. John Community Development Corporation, Inc. (SJCDC) is a not-for-profit community based organization founded in 1985 by the pastor and a group of concerned and dedicated members from St. John Institutional Missionary Baptist Church in Overtown. It was established to respond to the physical deterioration and social distress of Overtown, Miami-Dade County's poorest community and to take a lead role in its revitalization. Read more about St. John Community Development Corporation...

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

BAC Funding Corporation & Affiliates

BAC (originally known as the Business Assistance Center) extends commercial credit to African-American owned businesses through revolving credit lines and joint venture agreements. Formed in 1982 to encourage reinvestment in Miami's “Liberty City” neighborhood, to date BAC has disbursed over $40 million in loans or equity funds, making over 500 investments, of which 40 percent have been in Enterprise Zones. In 2005 alone, BAC disbursed $1.6 million, funding over fifty businesses, ten of which are owned by women. Read more about BAC Funding Corporation & Affiliates...

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Dade County Federal Credit Union

Founded in May 1939 through the efforts of ten county employees who used a cigar box to collect deposits, the member-owned financial cooperative grown to be a multi-million dollar, professionally managed financial institution. Today, Dade County Federal Credit Union has over 95,000 members and more than $500-million in assets. Read more about Dade County Federal Credit Union...

University Credit Union

Founded in 1947, University Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full service financial institution, owned by its members and operated exclusively for their benefit, with over $170 million in assets, over 22,500 members and 78 full time employees. Read more about University Credit Union...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Southern Gear & Machine

Southern Gear has been producing gears for aerospace and other industries since 1957. The company converted to employ ownership in 1987. From its beginnings as a small, one bay operation with just a few employees, the firm has grown to have 75 employee-owners. Read more about Southern Gear & Machine...

Individual Wealth Building

Miami-Dade Prosperity Campaign

Started in Miami in 2003, the Prosperity Campaign has rapidly expanded statewide, linking to existing outreach efforts and inspiring new campaigns, providing tax and benefit counseling to low-income Florida families to help them claim benefits and begin to build household savings and wealth. The money at stake is substantial. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit, for example, is a refundable tax credit of up to $4,300 for low-income working families and individuals; the average family receives nearly $2,000 — but many fail to claim the money they are owed. Read more about Miami-Dade Prosperity Campaign...

New State & Local Policies

Catalyst Miami

Catalyst Miami is a nonprofit organization aiming to develop and support individual leadership and strong organizations that work together to improve health, education, and economic opportunity in our community. In order to achieve their mission, they focus on three community building strategies: Read more about Catalyst Miami...

Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center

Founded in 1996, FIAC not only provides legal representation for immigrants , but also aims to influence policy decisions and challenge patterns and practices of abuse. In the eight years since its founding, FIAC has closed nearly 47,000 cases and has become a national trendsetter in the immigration field. Over the years, FIAC has grown from ten employees and a $400,000 budget to 38 employees with a $3.5 million budget. Read more about Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center...

Miami-Dade County Transit Joint Development

Miami recognized the importance of joint development as early as 1978, six years before the opening of its Metrorail transit system. Miami's first “joint development” project, known as the Datran, was a mixed-use project that included three office buildings, a hotel, and a shared-used parking garage. Miami has continued to pursue additional TOD projects since, including a mixed-use project at the Martin Luther King Plaza station, in which the transit agency partnered with a local community development corporation to develop a 5-story, 172,000 square-foot office building housing County agencies, including 13,500 square feet of ground floor retail.

The Miami Workers Center

The Miami Workers Center is based in the Liberty City area and was founded as a volunteer organization in 1999 by former union organizers. The Center helps working class people build grassroots organizations and develop their leadership capacity through aggressive community organizing campaigns and education programs. The Center also actively builds coalitions and enters alliances to amplify progressive power and win racial, community, social, and economic justice. Read more about The Miami Workers Center...

Unite for Dignity - NO LONGER EXISTS

Unite for Dignity was originally formed in 1997 out of the movement to organize nursing home workers, and in 2001 was converted into a non-profit organization to better represent immigrant workers and build stronger community ties. Unite for Dignity is an immigrant workers' rights organization dedicated to building new leaders to fight for improved conditions in workplaces and in immigrant communities in South Florida, creating positive change in issues confronting immigrant workers, their families and communities, such as healthcare and immigrant rights. Read more about Unite for Dignity - NO LONGER EXISTS...

University & Community Partnerships

Florida International University, Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy

The mission of the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy is to examining issues of concern to low- and moderate-income workers and their families in Southeast Florida. The site contains research reports on Florida's workers, their working conditions, low wage workers, working poverty, the effect of living wage laws and ordinances, and the like. Read more about Florida International University, Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy...

Knight Program in Community Building, University of Miami, School of Architecture

The Knight Program in Community Building aims to advance the knowledge and practice of effective community wealth building through interdisciplinary initiatives including fellowships, scholarships, conferences, charrettes, and publications. Led by Dean Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, co-founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the School of Architecture has achieved national distinction. Dean Plater-Zyberk has also been a leading participant in the “Miami 21” project, which seeks to implement “smart growth” principles citywide. Read more about Knight Program in Community Building, University of Miami, School of Architecture...

Miami-Dade College Center for Community Involvement

The Center for Community Involvement functions as a coordinator of Miami-Dade College's service-learning academic programs. It also serves as s volunteer clearinghouse for students, staff, and faculty who wish to get involved in community service, with full-service centers and outreach programs on three campuses. Read more about Miami-Dade College Center for Community Involvement ...

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

BAC Funding Corporation & Affiliates

BAC (originally known as the Business Assistance Center) extends commercial credit to African-American owned businesses through revolving credit lines and joint venture agreements. Formed in 1982 to encourage reinvestment in Miami's “Liberty City” neighborhood, to date BAC has disbursed over $40 million in loans or equity funds, making over 500 investments, of which 40 percent have been in Enterprise Zones. In 2005 alone, BAC disbursed $1.6 million, funding over fifty businesses, ten of which are owned by women. Read more about BAC Funding Corporation & Affiliates...

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

BAME Community Development Corporation

Established in 1992, BAME is an affiliate of the Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church, the oldest Black Church in Miami. BAME has been at the forefront in providing housing and economic opportunities primarily in Miami's historic Overtown community. BAME has completed 545 affordable housing units. Its newest project is 175 affordable rental units in Tuscan View Apartments. Through its work, BAME aims to serve as an anchor institution in previously neglected neighborhoods. Read more about BAME Community Development Corporation...

Carrfour Supportive Housing

Carrfour Corporation is the non-profit, community based, supportive housing development organization established by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to combat homelessness. Carrfour serves the formerly homeless and those at risk of homelessness, including Miami-Dade's special needs and very low-income populations. Carrfour projects have not only proven to be real assets in assisting their residents in becoming self sufficient and productive; but have contributed to the vitality of the neighborhoods in which they are located as well. Read more about Carrfour Supportive Housing...

Little Haiti Housing Association, Inc.

Little Haiti Housing Association, Inc. (LHHA), a non-profit community development corporation serving the low-income residents of the Little Haiti community of Miami, has been committed to the improvement of the quality of life for its residents since its incorporation in 1987. Read more about Little Haiti Housing Association, Inc....

Miami Beach Community Development Corporation

Founded in 1981, the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation seeks to enhance the quality and diversity of community life and achieve neighborhood revitalization. They pursue and balance historic preservation and urban design, affordable housing and economic vitality and increasing job opportunity, and support for a diverse, eclectic and successful neighborhood social fabric. Read more about Miami Beach Community Development Corporation...

Miami-Dade Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc.

Organized in 1978, Miami-Dade Neighborhood Housing Services' homeownership resources are available countywide, including homebuyer education and counseling, and access to funds for first mortgages, second mortgages, and owner-occupied rehab loans. MDNHS is one of three partners in the 79th Street Corridor Initiative to revitalize the 79th Street commercial corridor. Read more about Miami-Dade Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc....

St. John Community Development Corporation

St. John Community Development Corporation, Inc. (SJCDC) is a not-for-profit community based organization founded in 1985 by the pastor and a group of concerned and dedicated members from St. John Institutional Missionary Baptist Church in Overtown. It was established to respond to the physical deterioration and social distress of Overtown, Miami-Dade County's poorest community and to take a lead role in its revitalization. Read more about St. John Community Development Corporation...

New State & Local Policies

Catalyst Miami

Catalyst Miami is a nonprofit organization aiming to develop and support individual leadership and strong organizations that work together to improve health, education, and economic opportunity in our community. In order to achieve their mission, they focus on three community building strategies: Read more about Catalyst Miami...

Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center

Founded in 1996, FIAC not only provides legal representation for immigrants , but also aims to influence policy decisions and challenge patterns and practices of abuse. In the eight years since its founding, FIAC has closed nearly 47,000 cases and has become a national trendsetter in the immigration field. Over the years, FIAC has grown from ten employees and a $400,000 budget to 38 employees with a $3.5 million budget. Read more about Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center...

Miami-Dade County Transit Joint Development

Miami recognized the importance of joint development as early as 1978, six years before the opening of its Metrorail transit system. Miami's first “joint development” project, known as the Datran, was a mixed-use project that included three office buildings, a hotel, and a shared-used parking garage. Miami has continued to pursue additional TOD projects since, including a mixed-use project at the Martin Luther King Plaza station, in which the transit agency partnered with a local community development corporation to develop a 5-story, 172,000 square-foot office building housing County agencies, including 13,500 square feet of ground floor retail.

The Miami Workers Center

The Miami Workers Center is based in the Liberty City area and was founded as a volunteer organization in 1999 by former union organizers. The Center helps working class people build grassroots organizations and develop their leadership capacity through aggressive community organizing campaigns and education programs. The Center also actively builds coalitions and enters alliances to amplify progressive power and win racial, community, social, and economic justice. Read more about The Miami Workers Center...

Unite for Dignity - NO LONGER EXISTS

Unite for Dignity was originally formed in 1997 out of the movement to organize nursing home workers, and in 2001 was converted into a non-profit organization to better represent immigrant workers and build stronger community ties. Unite for Dignity is an immigrant workers' rights organization dedicated to building new leaders to fight for improved conditions in workplaces and in immigrant communities in South Florida, creating positive change in issues confronting immigrant workers, their families and communities, such as healthcare and immigrant rights. Read more about Unite for Dignity - NO LONGER EXISTS...

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Dade County Federal Credit Union

Founded in May 1939 through the efforts of ten county employees who used a cigar box to collect deposits, the member-owned financial cooperative grown to be a multi-million dollar, professionally managed financial institution. Today, Dade County Federal Credit Union has over 95,000 members and more than $500-million in assets. Read more about Dade County Federal Credit Union...

University Credit Union

Founded in 1947, University Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full service financial institution, owned by its members and operated exclusively for their benefit, with over $170 million in assets, over 22,500 members and 78 full time employees. Read more about University Credit Union...

University & Community Partnerships

Florida International University, Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy

The mission of the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy is to examining issues of concern to low- and moderate-income workers and their families in Southeast Florida. The site contains research reports on Florida's workers, their working conditions, low wage workers, working poverty, the effect of living wage laws and ordinances, and the like. Read more about Florida International University, Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy...

Knight Program in Community Building, University of Miami, School of Architecture

The Knight Program in Community Building aims to advance the knowledge and practice of effective community wealth building through interdisciplinary initiatives including fellowships, scholarships, conferences, charrettes, and publications. Led by Dean Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, co-founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the School of Architecture has achieved national distinction. Dean Plater-Zyberk has also been a leading participant in the “Miami 21” project, which seeks to implement “smart growth” principles citywide. Read more about Knight Program in Community Building, University of Miami, School of Architecture...

Miami-Dade College Center for Community Involvement

The Center for Community Involvement functions as a coordinator of Miami-Dade College's service-learning academic programs. It also serves as s volunteer clearinghouse for students, staff, and faculty who wish to get involved in community service, with full-service centers and outreach programs on three campuses. Read more about Miami-Dade College Center for Community Involvement ...

Anchor Institutions

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Since 1950, the Knight Foundation has given awarded grants in excess of $1 billion, including 556 grants in the Detroit area totaling more than $76 million. Among these are grants that address community development and neighborhood revitalization, education and job readiness for the city's workforce, and the city's development of a community wireless strategy. Knight also has committed $10 million to the multi-foundation Detroit “New Economy Initiative” fund. Read more about John S. and James L. Knight Foundation...

Miami 21

Launched by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz in 2005, Miami 21 aims to develop a comprehensive development plan for the City of Miami, in cooperation with the University of Miami and other anchor institutions. The plan is centered on a new zoning code emphasizing smart growth and mixed-use design. In addition, the effort aims to develop strategies in five other areas: economic development, transportation, parks and public space, arts & culture, and historic preservation. Read more about Miami 21...

The Miami Foundation

Founded in 1967, formerly the Dade Community Foundation, the Miami Foundation manages funds to support the emerging charitable needs of Miami-Dade County. The Foundation approaches its grantmaking with a focus on community building and aims to bring together diverse groups in Miami-Dade County to build a more cohesive community. The Foundation supports local nonprofit organizations with grants and technical assistance and makes grants in the broad program areas of education, health, human services, arts and culture, environment, community and economic development. Read more about The Miami Foundation...

Individual Wealth Building

Miami-Dade Prosperity Campaign

Started in Miami in 2003, the Prosperity Campaign has rapidly expanded statewide, linking to existing outreach efforts and inspiring new campaigns, providing tax and benefit counseling to low-income Florida families to help them claim benefits and begin to build household savings and wealth. The money at stake is substantial. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit, for example, is a refundable tax credit of up to $4,300 for low-income working families and individuals; the average family receives nearly $2,000 — but many fail to claim the money they are owed. Read more about Miami-Dade Prosperity Campaign...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Southern Gear & Machine

Southern Gear has been producing gears for aerospace and other industries since 1957. The company converted to employ ownership in 1987. From its beginnings as a small, one bay operation with just a few employees, the firm has grown to have 75 employee-owners. Read more about Southern Gear & Machine...