Since the founding of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in 2011 to address the ongoing effects of the Global Recession of 2007 – 2009, many CGI America participants focused their Commitments to Action on place-based community development activities. Place-based interventions seek to build community-wide support and coordinated, targeted actions to address specific local areas of challenge, from public health and education concerns to poverty and economic development. Place-based activities were particularly encouraged during the Obama Administration through federal programs like Promise Zones, Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and Sustainable Communities. The U.S. is now at 4–6 years of implementation of this new wave of place-based community development activities, and at an ideal moment in time to measure the efficacy of these interventions and determine lessons learned for future community development interventions.
This Capstone project is concerned with the economic development-focused place-based initiatives launched by CGI America participants, specifically targeted to U.S. communities experiencing economic decline for multiple generations. The proposed focus areas include rural and urban communities, specifically the Reconnecting McDowell Initiative in West Virginia and Midwestern communities severely affected by the decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs, such as Evansville, Indiana (a federal Promise Zone) and Detroit, Michigan. The goal of this project is to determine how CGI can use its model to support, scale, or replicate successful place-based interventions in the United States.