WHAT IS A COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION? Community Development Corporations are typically non-profit companies that partner with communities to address poverty by attracting jobs and investment and otherwise increasing wealth in lower-income neighbourhoods. The tools used by CDCs to achieve their goals include: residential and commercial real estate development, business development, job training and neighbourhood beautification. Taken together, investments made using these tools can help stem the tide of economic decline and spark renewal in neighbourhoods where a concentration of poverty exists. Community Development Corporations strive to deliver projects that align with community needs and priorities. By adopting a specific geographical area of focus, CDCs are able to engage directly with residents and community organizations to understand each neighbourhood’s unique challenges and opportunities. Active, ongoing engagement and partnership with community members is important for project success and for ensuring project benefits accrue to community members.
A BIT OF HISTORY Over the years, the establishment of a Community Development Corporation has been consistently recognized as a potential tool for community economic development in our city. The first call for a Community Development Corporation came in 1976, when the Edmonton Social Planning Council outlined how a CDC could address the challenges of the inner city by creating employment opportunities, producing needed goods and services, increasing income, facilitating skills development and fostering individual growth. Twenty years later, the creation of a CDC was recommended in the Boyle Street/McCauley Area Redevelopment Plan. The founding of the Edmonton Community Development Company was a key recommendation in the End Poverty Edmonton Road Map approved by Council earlier in 2016. The proposal to develop the ECDC was prepared by a steering committee of community partners, including the Edmonton Community Foundation, Homeward Trust and the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, was approved as part of Edmonton City Council’s deliberations on 2016-2018 Supplemental Operating Budget Adjustment. A business plan was developed and financial support over a five year period was committed to by the City of Edmonton, and the Edmonton Community Foundation, Homeward Trust and the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. A national competition for the ECDC’s inaugural executive director commenced in the early Fall of 2017. The position was filled by Mark Holmgren, effective January 8, 2018.