Skip to content


CDCLP Program

How the Program Works

The first Cohort of CDCLP will launch in September 2021. Each Cohort will consist of 12 sessions over 10 months that will address issues and best practices that CDC leaders are facing. Participants will hear first-hand from professionals who have experience in the community development sector in Cleveland while simultaneously engaging in experiential activities that involve critical issues facing CDCs and neighborhoods in Cleveland. The 2021-2022 curriculum topics and dates are listed below. Sessions will be held at Trinity Commons from 8:30am-5:00pm.


Session 1

September 23, 2021
CDCLP Orientation

The initial CDCLP session introduces participants to the program, the current state of the Cleveland CDC industry, and what they will experience over the next year. Participants will clearly understand the purpose of the CDCLP, why they were selected, what is expected of them, and how success is defined throughout the program and after they graduate. Participants will also meet their coaches and participate in facilitated discussions to begin building camaraderie among the group.

Session 2

October 21, 2021
Leading CDCs: Management vs. Leadership

This session draws the important distinction between leadership and management and focuses on enlightening participants on the broad range of productive leadership skills necessary for organizational success. Participants will learn how to assess and improve their own leadership styles and the variables that make for a high performing CDC leader, from developing more impactful emotional intelligence, to improving communication, to cultivating a leadership culture and more.

Session 3

November 4, 2021
Governing CDCs: Building Better Boards

This session defines the function, role, and responsibilities of board members and highlights best practices, including regularly reviewing and updating a CDC’s code of regulations, composition, terms, committee structures, etc. Participants will understand the lines of responsibility and authority between board and staff members and how critical it is to develop collaborative and productive relationships with board leaders. This session will also address the recruitment of high performing board members, the need for annual executive director evaluations, and how to best engage board members in meetings.

Session 4

December 9, 2021
Creating the Best CDC Team

The best organizations operate as teams. CDCs are engaged in various activities with lean staff and limited resources. A major organizational force occurs when a team-oriented atmosphere is present, where individuals are engaged, committed, and selflessly working together as a team. This session will teach participants how CDC Directors can create their own neighborhood-based team that consistently produces effective and excellent work, enhancing their skills in building and maintaining a thriving team.

Session 5

January 6, 2022
Organizational Planning

This session highlights the importance and process for developing a vision, creating a strategic plan, and implementing an action plan with clear metrics and measurable outcomes. Participants will learn about best practices in these areas, how to engage and manage consultants to facilitate these processes, and strategies for collaborating with other organizations to achieve strategic success.

Session 6

January 27, 2022
Equitable Community Engagement - Co-Creating with the Community

This session addresses the need to engage and involve the community through quality, equitable organizing in all aspects of a CDC’s work, learning the best approaches to connect with neighborhood leaders through direct and consistent dialogue. This session will also seek to help CDC leaders in defining an equitable community approach, understanding key community engagement challenges, and developing relationship building skills for effective community engagement.

Session 7

February 17, 2022
Neighborhood Marketing, Communication, and Advocacy for Change

This session will deliver the necessary information on how to establish an inviting neighborhood brand identity and ways to identify, reach, and motivate key audiences through targeted marketing and communications. This session will also outline how to build trust in the community for the organization by delivering results for the constituents, how to communicate about progress and how to advocate for change in the community.

Session 8

March 17, 2022
Neighborhood Planning, Real Estate Development, and Mainstreet Development

This session will assist CDC leaders in understanding how to create a nexus between a CDC’s vision and the aspirations of neighborhood residents, businesses and institutions. This session will focus on how to engage residents and other stakeholders in developing a vision and plan for the physical development and growth of the neighborhood. Participants also learn about the real estate development process, economic development and different models in the CDC industry, including financing, property inventory, site control, property management, and more.

Session 9

April 14, 2022
Raising Funds for your CDC – Preparation, Sources, and Post Grant Relationships

This session will provide participants details about the different methods for diversifying revenues and how to build and sustain philanthropic relationships through a strong fundraising structure, from researching and prospecting donors, to making an ask for financial assistance, to completing compelling requests, to consistently and transparently reporting grant results.

Session 10

May 5, 2022
Managing the Finances of a CDC

This session will provide participants the necessary knowledge of nonprofit finance, from creating annual budgets, to managing revenues and expenses, to developing quarterly financial statements, to managing audits and more. Additionally, a deeper dive into CDBG funding will give participants the required information on its rules, regulations, and reporting requirements.

Session 11

May 19, 2022
Self-Care as a Leader

Leaders with high potential can fail or underperform because they have failed to learn how to balance the pressures of their professional and personal lives. This session will help CDC leaders learn how to maintain a healthy approach to their work.

Session 12

June 16, 2022
Sustaining the Community Movement

This session will address sustaining the learning of the program and its potential impact at the neighborhood level and Cleveland as a whole. The session will highlight the 35 years of engaged development and impact CDCs have in our communities and what is required for a CDC to provide sustainable, successful service to residents and the community. In Cleveland, some CDCs are renown for their ongoing success and others have a few good years followed by a few tough years. Participants will learn from successful, legacy CDC leaders about what it takes to maintain momentum and progress while setting the organization up to be sustainable for years to come.

The session will also outline the ongoing support for graduates and opportunities for future learning and engagement.

CDCLP Closing Event / Dinner with Board Presidents