Neighborhood Associates attempts to forge a new path in community engagement. Our vision is grounded in the asset-based community concepts of John McKnight, Emeritus Professor and co-founder of the effective and widely acclaimed Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University. We are also students of the work of Donald Anderson. Asset-based community development is focused on people seeing, identifying, and using the associations and strengths natural to one’s community. It begins with the belief that people are the greatest assets and partners in building community. We at NAC act as an ally by invitation within communities, supporting the values, skills, knowledge, and energy already present. As we work alongside neighborhood citizens, we assume a posture of learning, allowing our approach to evolve at each stage of our engagement. The end goal of all our collaborative efforts is to develop new workable and useful systems of human interaction, leading to greater self-determination, community action, justice, prosperity, and collective and individual responsibility.
Our work is conceived in a collaborative atmosphere that bears witness to our self-imposed dictum that people are the ultimate guiding force for all aspects of NAC work. Consequently, we have cultivated an intentional personal relationship with the men, women, and children who live, work, and play in the neighborhoods in which we work. From Baltimore to Louisville to San Francisco, we are working with people to nurture community-driven places where safe, beautiful green environments are the norm and community services are both given and received.
We try to live the phrase “better together.” We work together for the good of people, neighborhoods, and cities. Our work and the way in which we carry out our work makes us a more responsible and responsive organization.
Our efforts are guided by NAC’s eight core values, developed over the past 20 years. They are Civility, Livelihood, Education, Health, Housing, Green Living, Cultural Leadership, and Democracy.