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Celebrating 40 Years of Community Development in Massachusetts

Welcome to CEDAC’s new blog.

We plan to use this platform to share additional news, helpful information and perspectives on important topics. The launch of this blog coincides with a very special milestone for CEDAC – our 40th anniversary year – and we thought we’d take this opportunity to announce an exciting year-long effort to celebrate CEDAC past, present, and future.

Despite it feeling like yesterday to many, it has been 40 years since CEDAC was established. Sponsored by then state representative Mel King of Boston, the legislation that established CEDAC sought to strengthen the state’s economic development infrastructure as a result of the urban disinvestment process in the 1960s and 70s that impacted Massachusetts communities. Mel and community allies determined that successfully reshaping the state’s approach to economic development would require a new organization exclusively focused on providing specialized knowledge, capital assistance, and other capacity-building tools to accelerate the ability of non-profit community development corporations to move forward with their projects.

CEDAC was just that.

We began as a provider of technical assistance to these nascent community economic development efforts. Soon the focus turned to affordable housing development, and almost immediately our assistance expanded to providing access to capital in the form of very early-stage predevelopment financing that non-profit developers needed to turn their vision into a reality.

It’s important to note that Massachusetts did not always have the well-developed, savvy network of community development organizations that now exists. In addition to the evolution of the CDCs, we’ve seen the Commonwealth’s community development infrastructure grow to include other crucial organizations and important capital funding programs to meet the needs of communities and their residents.

We’ve evolved too.

In 1991, Children’s Investment Fund, which provides grants and loans to non-profit community-based child care providers to help them improve their facilities, became an affiliate of CEDAC. From 2003 to 2017, CEDAC founded and managed the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition (CWC), which provides professional development to the state’s workforce development community. CWC is now managed by the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Enhanced by these changes, CEDAC’s mission remains strong. As a unique community development financial institution, we continue to support the growth and effectiveness of the state’s non-profit community development sector. We are proud of the work that we do and proud to partner with community-based organizations across Massachusetts that strengthen their communities through three key building blocks of community development: housing, child care, and workforce development.

Over the next year, we will highlight the important work that CEDAC, our community partners, and others have done to promote community development in the past four decades in a variety of ways. This blog will periodically focus on developments and initiatives that are important to the community development sector in Massachusetts. Additionally, we will have additional exciting events to announce in the upcoming months. So please stay tuned!

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