What We Do

The Community Development Advocates of Detroit plays a critical role in revitalizing Detroit neighborhoods by providing a variety of services and serve as an information network for its members.  Specifically, CDAD:

  1. Serves as a Citywide Advocacy Voice for Detroit Neighborhoods and Community Development Policies

For more than a decade, CDAD has served as the leading voice for Detroit’s community development industry.  With nearly 100 dues-paying members, CDAD advocates for public policies and resources that advance the work of nonprofit, community-based organizations in Detroit neighborhoods who engage in physical development, land use planning, community organizing, and other activities designed to stabilize and revitalize the quality of life in Detroit.  CDAD’s work has helped create innovative programs, including the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Revitalization, the Detroit Land Bank, and Department of Administrative Hearings.

More recently, CDAD has restructured its Public Policy Committee to incorporate the public policies that neighborhoods residents identify in their efforts to improve their communities.  The Public Policy agenda includes items identified by community residents engaged in CDAD’s Strategic Framework for community-based planning, as well as those that are developed by block clubs, neighborhood associations, and residents.

  1. Provides Strategic Framework Community-Based Planning Services

Over the past two years, CDAD has worked with a variety of neighborhood residents, community organizations, planning consultants, and technical assistance experts to pioneer a community-driven, participatory neighborhood planning and revitalization tool, known as the CDAD Strategic Framework.  This community-based planning tool has been piloted through the Lower Eastside Action Plan (LEAP) effort on the eastside and the Springwells Village work in Southwest Detroit.  CDAD’s Strategic Framework is unique in that it is fueled by community and residential input, it is data-driven, it explicitly accommodates resource constraints, and it is focused on implementation and sustainability beyond the mere creation of the plan.

CDAD has developed a Strategic Framework Process Guide that is available to help neighborhoods that are considering their own community planning initiative.  CDAD is currently in the planning phase with two additional neighborhoods to utilizing the complete Strategic Framework process (which requires professional data analysis and facilitation assistance and can take six months of community meetings).  CDAD is also developing a public policy agenda based on enabling implementation of Strategic Framework.  To do this, CDAD is working with communities who have utilized Strategic Framework to identify policy hurdles or changes needed to enable their plans to be fully realized.

CDAD’s Strategic Framework efforts are guided by an open Strategic Framework Committee with broad and diverse representation


  1. Advocates for Community Development Industry Reform

CDAD’s work has made it clear that revitalizing and stabilizing Detroit’s neighborhoods cannot be accomplished without retooling and rebuilding neighborhood institutions to carry out that mission.  Whether it is the Detroit Works Project, CDAD’s Strategic Framework, or other sustained strategies for tackling the challenges in Detroit’s neighborhoods, residents will need community-based organizations to help them take collective action.  Detroit needs to revamp its community development industry.

CDAD has worked with numerous government, nonprofit, philanthropic, and private sector partners, in addition to its members, to develop a blueprint for retooling the community development industry.  CDAD’s Industry Reform includes innovative means for facilitating collaboration and alliances among neighborhood and community development organizations, as well as realistic concepts for insuring that technical assistance, financial support, and training of community development organizations, volunteers, and staff can be implemented in Detroit.

CDAD is currently working with partners such as the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Detroit LISC), Data Driven Detroit, and the Michigan Nonprofit Association to develop an implementation structure to reform Detroit’s community development industry.

  1. Information Sharing and Access to Resources

CDAD strives to insure that its members have access to information, including important public policy news, but also the tools and resources they need to affect change in their neighborhoods.  Through bi-monthly membership meetings, regular electronic newsletters, and its partnerships with organizations like the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM), CDAD members enjoy access to information, technical assistance, training, and resources that are critical to tackling the challenges facing Detroit neighborhoods.