Jackson County

Community Development

Community Development in the Kansas City area


  • Organizational Development

    Supports small, community-based groups and nonprofits and they develop their capacity to address important community issues. The program assists groups on a range of development topics including incorporation, planning, collaboration, financial management, marketing, and others.

    The organizational development and nonprofit development program is designed to support the development of small, community-based groups and nonprofits and they develop their capacity to address important community issues. The primary goal is to assist community-based organizations in more effectively achieving their goals and meeting their purpose and mission. The program includes research on the issues affecting organizational development and educational programs, projects and consulting activities with groups on a range of development topics including incorporation, planning, collaboration, financial management, marketing, and others.

    Communities address local issues through networks organizations and partnerships, both formal and informal. The ability of those groups to effectively identify and achieve their goals has a direct effect on the target community issues. As government dollars flow increasingly to the local level, communities will rely more on the ability of groups to address local needs. Few educational programs and resources exist to help groups understand and facilitate their special designation as nonprofits.

    Enabling Effective Local Government

    Provides assistance and training for local governments to improve government decision making and operations.

    This is a program in development to assist local governments to improve loca government decision making. The program assists with local government issues and provides local government officials with:

    • Education about local government
    • Individualized assistance, with a focus on low-resource or small entities
    • Reliable, authoritative information—research-based, government-based, experience-based.

    Increasing demands on local governments, by the state and federal governments and local citizens, coupled with state constitutional amendments that place restrictions on the ability of local governments to raise revenues via taxes are increasing local governments’ stress and limiting their ability to respond.

    Leadership Development

    Community leadership programs increase the capacity of individuals,organizations and communities to provide leadership and address community issues effectively.

    Community leadership programs increase the capacity of individuals, organizations and communities to address community problems effectively by mobilizing the range of community capital for common purposes of addressing community issues and needs. These programs are designed to develop community leaders in cohorts and to fit the needs and character of the locale. They engage the breadth of community leaders in planning and conducting programs and rely on past participants to provide leadership for future programming. These programs focus on building and applying community and leadership knowledge and skills for the development of the community.

    A number of concerns facing communities demand leadership in a contemporary arena of increasing complexity. Community organizations and political subdivisions such as cities, school districts, library boards and counties continually struggle to find qualified residents to serve as council, board and commission members. Understanding external forces that affect the community and its future are critical for leaders. These include the devolution of authority for action and service delivery to the community; the double bind created by trying to maintain quality with fewer resources; expectations for sharing power and
    responsibility; interdependence, diversity, collaboration, and communication; and displacement of the developmental paradigm with the globalization paradigm.

    Group Facilitation - Community Engagement

    Community Development provides non-partisan, third-party public discourse facilitation on behalf of local governments and other entities seeking public participation in decision making and policy development.

    Community Engagement may include:

    • Short-term engagement
    • Long-term engagement
    • Single topic engagement
    • Complex issue engagement
    • Public engagement
    • Targeted engagement
    • Issue forums
    • Uniquely designed engagements

    Building Inclusive Communities

    Building Inclusive communities assists people, organizations, and communities to expand the participation and breadth of voices while respecting differences and embracing the diversity that makes communities vibrant places to live, work, and play.

    Building Inclusive Communities is about helping people, organizations, and communities deal with the challenges presented by the dramatic changes occurring in society in productive ways that respect differences and embraces the diversity that make communities vibrant places to live, work, and play. The program seeks to help community leaders engage everyone with an interest in their community in addressing the issues that affect their development and develop the intercultural capacity of communities to deal with a changing population.

    Communities are undergoing tremendous changes and these changes are impacting their ability to fully participate in what is increasingly a more global society. Many new immigrants are moving into our communities that bring resources with them that can make the community stronger but the integration of these newcomers also presents challenges that most communities don’t’ know how to address. Existing groups of people in communities also are not able to fully participate in community life. Consequently, many people especially those with fewer resources, less education, and from a different culture are often left at a disadvantage in accessing public resources and are less able to participate in public decision-making.

    Diversity and Cultural Competency

    Community Development assists groups address diversity issues.

    Cultural Competency may include:

    • Inclusive communities
    • Perspectives appreciation
    • Intercultural communication
    • Policy & practice development

    Community Emergency Management

    Community Development Provides resources, personnel and educational programs and materials to support the mission of the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Partnership (established 1993) and assist communities and citizens in all areas of emergency management, including preparedness, response, and recovery.

    The Community Emergency Management Program provides a program of resources, personnel and educational programs and materials to support the mission of the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Partnership (established 1993) and develop the capability to assist communities and citizens in all areas of emergency management. The program, in partnership with the Fire Rescue Training Institute, provides educational programming and technical assistance to federal, state and local entities, professional and non-profit organizations, businesses and educational institutions.

    All aspects of community and personal life can be impacted by natural or man-made disasters. Regardless of size or impact, all disasters are local events, and approximately 1% of all disasters meet the requirements for the President to declare a disaster. Thus it falls upon local organizations and other organizations that can provide assistance from the outside to manage the majority of events that occur in communities. Nurturing community linkages before, during and after disasters has been shown by research to be critical to community viability. The focus is to build the knowledge and skills needed to develop and implement policies, plans, and procedures to protect life, property, business survivability, community sustainability and the environment through applications of sound emergency management principles in all phases of emergency management.


  • University of Missouri Extension - Jackson County Community Development hosts this group to encourage constructive and respectful dialog and networking among those engaged and affected by community development practice in the greater Kansas City area. This group is currently regulated and membership requests are reviewed and approved by the group administrator. This group may at some time in the future be converted to an open group. The group administrator reserves the right to deny group membership to anyone who, through his/her conduct or posts to this group, is not constructive, respectful of other members or otherwise detrimental to the health of the group.
  • The Community Capital Fund (CCF) invests in innovative and measurable community development that aligns with and strengthens the financial, human, and social capital of under-resourced neighborhoods in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area. CCF provides grants for neighborhood organizations and small businesses, learning opportunities for community leaders, and fiscal sponsorship for social ventures.
  • Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) is a nonprofit association of city and county governments and the metropolitan planning organization for the bistate Kansas City region. Governed by a Board of Directors made up of local elected officials, we serve nine counties and 119 cities. MARC provides a forum for the region to work together to advance social, economic and environmental progress.

    MARC is funded by federal, state and private grants, local contributions and earned income. A major portion of our budget is passed through to local governments and other agencies for programs and services.

  • The Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) is a global community of academics and practitioners that seeks to build an intellectual community around the ideas of human development and the capability approach, and relate these ideas to the policy arena.  The association promotes research within many disciplines, ranging from economics to philosophy, development studies, health, education, law, government, sociology, and more. Our members live in over 70 countries worldwide.
  • UMKC Institute for Human Development works with a multitude of partners to respond to needs at the local, state, and national level. IHD projects span the full range of the human condition and life cycle, from prevention to gerontology and address varying community needs, from urban mission to Latino community development in rural counties.
  • CCO - Communities Creating Opportunities exists to discover, develop and direct the power of people to build a better quality of life for their families. Working in over 100 congregations throughout the Kansas City metro, we work through our faith values to build community and empower local leaders.
  • Common ground is not so common these days. Where people used to be able to find solutions to daunting problems, now they resort to waving signs at one another. At Consensus, we’ve found that what often appears to be a people problem is really a process problem in disguise. Our community’s people – and we have talked with hundreds from one end of the political spectrum to the other – are hungry for the chance to deal with issues. They want to talk with people who have different ideas and different experiences. They are willing to listen and learn, and they want to have a voice. What’s missing is processes that make that possible.