Community Transformation- An introduction

We’ve mentioned before on the blog that beginning by naming the impact you want to make is essential to the work of social enterprise. Below is a chart we’ve been using for years to help folks think through (in an initial sense) how to get specific on the kinds of transformation effects they hope to have in a neighborhood. No one, of course, can effect all this change. But naming which of these your project seeks to engage, and studying the situation, understanding the nuance in your community and designing a solution that is tailored to address that is a critical step in the planning process. Next week, we are going to engage the strategic planning process so we wanted to refresh the blog with these transformation markers so that you can be thinking along these lines for that conversation.

Community Transformation Markers

A Starting Point for Evaluating your Impact


  1. Economic opportunity;for example…
    1. Job creation for un and under employed community members
    2. Increased access to employment opportunities within the larger community
    3. Increased access to options necessary to developing generational economic stability
      1. Stable housing
      2. Lending practices
      3. Accessible Investment/saving pathways
    4. Widening horizon of vocational competency/skill
    5. Demonstrated ‘pipeline’ of vocational development from youth through adulthood
  2. Economic development;for example…
    1. Increase in # of community owned businesses
    2. Demonstrated increase in community wealth markers
      1. Increase in tax base
      2. Owner occupied housing
      3. Poverty markers decreasing
    3. Business association increasingly strong and representative of entire community base
    4. Growth related to the development of a stable local economy
  3. Community flourishing;for example…
    1. Vibrant church presence/sustaining healthy spiritual environment for individuals and community
    2. Strengthening family structures
    3. Stemming trends of economic disinvestment (urban flight, etc)
    4. Healthy livable community
      1. Urban planning/design
      2. Community gathering spaces
      3. Safety
      4. Access to essential needs (healthy food, etc.)
      5. Increasingly flourishing schools
      6. Increased development in creativity and the arts
  4. Community resiliency;for example…
    1. Long term residents are honored, supported
    2. Quantitative and qualitative evidence of relational interdependence
    3. Neighborhood commitment to leadership development (both local and youth)
    4. Demonstrable ethos of belonging

About Adam Gustine

Adam Gustine leads CovEnterprises for Love Mercy Do Justice and the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is also the founder of Jubilee Ventures; an economic incubator in South Bend, IN. He and his wife, Ann, live in South Bend with their three kids.

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