Community development corporations are non-profit, community-based organizations that anchor capital locally through the development of both residential and commercial property, ranging from affordable housing to shopping centers and even businesses. First formed in the 1960s, they have expanded rapidly in size and numbers since. An industry survey published in 2006 found that 4,600 CDCs promote community economic stability by developing over 86,000 units of affordable housing and 8.75 million square feet of commercial and industrial space a year.
No sector of the expanding community wealth-building economy is more celebrated for its success than community development corporations (CDCs). From humble beginnings, the CDC movement today has grown to an estimated 4,600 CDCs spread throughout all 50 states and in nearly every major city. Community development corporations are typically neighborhood-based, 501(c)3 non-profit corporations, with a board composed of at least one-third community residents, that promote the improvement of the physical and social infrastructures in neighborhoods with populations significantly below the area median income. Many CDCs perform a wide variety of roles, including housing, commercial, and retail development, as well as leading community planning, assisting with community improvement programs (improved lighting, streetscapes, and the like) and providing social services. In some cases, CDCs extend far beyond the bounds of a single community to cover an entire city, county, multi-county region, or even an entire state.
CDCs have strongly influenced many of the communities in which they work. A 2002 Urban Institute study of 23 cities found that CDCs had noticeably improved multiple neighborhoods in eight cities, one neighborhood in each of another eleven cities, with more limited “block-by-block” impacts in the remaining four cities. Basic industry statistics are below:
Community Development Corporations: Basic Statistics(Based on 2005 industry census)
|Number of community development corporations||4,600|
|Median CDC age||18 years|
|Median CDC staff size||10|
|CDCs that have completed non-residential projects||45%|
|Average annual housing production (1998-2005)||86,000 units|
|Avg. annual commercial space production (1998-2005)||8.75 mill. sq. ft.|
|Total CDC sector employment||199,000|
|Jobs created by CDC activity per year (1998-2005)||75,000|
|CDCs that have equity investments in business operations||17%|
|CDCs that operate one or more businesses||21%|
|CDCs that offer individual development accounts||22%|