Community is at the heart of dynamic urban revitalization.

Polis Institute offers cities, nonprofits, foundations, and stakeholders cores services to connect and collaborate with people in urban communities undergoing revitalization. From the planning stage to the implementation and evaluation of your projects, Polis Institute understands how to bring diverse constituencies together for lasting improvements.

Community Engagement

At Polis Institute we know that the path to racial and economic equity begins with community engagement. For more than a decade we have been a leader in engaging residents of historically disinvested urban communities. Our community engagement strategies include in-person and digital activities that capture the heart of community interest. With more than 3,000 community conversations, events, surveys, pop-ups, and outreach actions to our name, we know how to inspire participation across the full spectrum of communities.

Community Capacity Building

Community capacity building means strengthening a community’s ability to identify and address its own needs and challenges. Polis Institute works alongside communities and the stakeholder invested in them to grow opportunities and realize genuine change. Capacity building involves developing the skills, knowledge, and resources of individuals and organizations within the community so that they can work together more effectively to achieve shared goals.

Some examples of community capacity-building activities include:

  1. Skills training: Providing training to community members in areas such as leadership, communication, and project management, to help them develop the skills they need to initiate and implement community projects. Providing training to municipalities, foundations, and nonprofits to elevate their cultural competency and amplify their ability to continually partner effectively with community residents.
  2. Resource mobilization: Helping community members and stakeholders identify and access resources such as funding, volunteers, and other support services to facilitate community development activities.
  3. Partnership Networks: Facilitating connections and collaborations between community members, organizations, and stakeholders to build partnerships and share resources. Partnership networks are the backbone of strong communities. Polis Institute helps identify and formalize partnership networks in communities for long-term action.
  4. Education and awareness-raising: Providing education and awareness-raising activities to build community understanding of key issues, and to encourage participation and engagement in community development initiatives. Polis offers communities workshops and learning experiences on topics including Asset Based Community Development, Economic Development 101, and Keys to Revitalization (including topics on real estate development and urban planning), Community Story Keeping (giving community clear guidance on how to capture and tell their important histories).

Community Planning

Community planning is a collaborative process that involves members of a community working together to develop a shared vision for their future and to create a plan to achieve that vision. Polis helps municipalities and stakeholders in identifying community-based priorities & goals and then developing actionable strategies for community revitalization. The result is Strategic Community Plans also known as a Comprehensive Community Plan.

Great community planning involves business owners, community organizations, local government officials, and other dedicated partners. The process may involve public meetings, surveys, and innovative engagement to gather input from the community. Polis Institute brings people from the community and across sectors together to speak into the best possible plan and to create actionable strategies.

The final result of Polis Institute’s community planning is the plan itself. We give partners accessible comprehensive plans with clear-cut strategies for action. Along the way, Polis Institute empowers communities to build their capacity for taking the next steps in making brighter futures and achieving plan goals.


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