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BGS Featured in National Civic League Newsletter

Updated: May 7

This month, Beyond Growth Strategies was featured in the National Civic League's newsletter, and it prompted me to reflect on my last five and a half years at the organization. I started working at the League as a Robert H. Rawson, Jr. Fellow in September 2018. My primary responsibility was to conduct research and write articles for the National Civic Review and Promising Practices database on any topic related to civic engagement. Since my primary interest was local economic development, I chose to research how cities can use equitable development strategies to address problems like concentrated poverty and blight without causing gentrification or displacement.

The article I published at the end of my fellowship, "We Need To Change How We Think About Gentrification," became the most-read article in the National Civic Review since the journal went digital in 2016. (I also published a case study of Seattle's equitable development efforts, and you can read that here.) In December 2019, I was promoted to Senior Fellow at the League. Since then, I've written four more articles for the National Civic Review, conducted a study on equitable "age-friendly" planning for the League, and won funding for and completed a project called "Enhancing the Equity and Inclusiveness of Age-friendly Initiatives."

I was first attracted to the National Civic League because of its history. It was founded in 1894 as the National Municipal League by civic leaders that included Theodore Roosevelt and Louis Brandeis to address "incompetence, inefficiency, patronage, and corruption in local governments" and provide "inspiration and new models for governing and managing the nation's cities." In other words, the founding of the League was part of the Progressive Era's larger effort to professionalize the administration of and address corruption in local government.

Over time, the League's mission changed to "advance civic engagement to create equitable, thriving communities." Its commitment to this mission can be seen in everything from its research and publications, to its technical assistance program, to its yearly All-America City awards that celebrates civic engagement efforts in communities across the country.

I am honored to continue my affiliation with the National Civic League. The partnership strengthens my commitment to equity, and it continuously reminds me to keep local communities at the center of my equitable development work.

To my colleagues at the League: thank you for featuring my work in this month's newsletter, and I look forward to the collaboration ahead!

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