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Our Approach

The Community Is The Expert.

Residents, community groups, and people who spend most of their time in the neighborhood have a much greater understanding of the neighborhood's strengths, challenges, opportunities, and threats. Therefore, NEH roots our work in community-identified needs, ideas, and priorities. We work alongside neighborhoods, relying heavily on their insight and guidance. 

Community Participation

Ensure that our takes place on the ladder rungs 6-8. 

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Further explanation of Arnstein's Ladder of Citizen Participation can be found here

Asset-Based Community Development

1. Everyone has assets and gifts, and neighborhoods have physical assets. 

2. Relationships build community. Discovering what people care about often leads to discovering other people's assets and gifts.

3. Identify gaps in assets. 

4. Seek out and forge external partnerships. (Associations, Insitutions)

5. Tap into the assets and gifts from organizations and other partners to fill resource gaps. 

6. Lend your assets and gifts to others. 


Neighborhoods are complex environments that include housing, businesses, people, parks, schools, organizations, nature, social networks, institutions, infrastructure, transportation, safety, arts, culture, history, and more. 

Be mindful and respectful of this complexity when working with neighborhoods.


Look for additional ways that the neighborhood can benefit from and shape a project. 

The neighborhood wins when groups and projects  support each other rather than compete for resources, participants, and success.

Projects and activities are stronger when supported by more than just the project team. 

Incremental Development

1. Find neighborhoods where people are invested and support their investment.

2. Take the next smallest step. Small-scale projects are adaptable, whereas larger-scale projects are more rigid and may take longer for the community to feel the positive impact. Both are needed, but small-scale projects often receive less attention and resources.


3. Look for the gaps. Identify areas where work is still needed to unify the neighborhood and strengthen the past and present projects.

4. Build local wealth. Prioritize community members from the neighborhood to ensure that wealth Is generated within the neighborhood, not outside the neighborhood. 

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