Nine Leadership Institute Delegations Reflect Nationwide Need for Vacant Properties Solutions (Press Release)

February 23, 2016


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Community Progress Leadership Institute

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Delegations from nine cities across three states and the District of Columbia have been selected to attend the 2016 Community Progress Leadership Institute, a program that equips practitioners with the leadership and technical skills to address significant blight and vacancy challenges. The Leadership Institute, a program of the national Center for Community Progress (Community Progress), will be held on the campus of Harvard University on March 15-18, 2016.

Delegations of up to six people from each of the following cities will participate: Richmond, Calif.; Fresno, Calif.; Oakland, Calif.; Erie, Pa.; Harrisburg, Pa.; York, Pa.; Danville, Va.; and Richmond, Va. In addition, California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia will each be represented by two representatives of statewide institutions, and Washington, D.C. will have an eight-person delegation. Cities were chosen through an invitation-only, competitive application process.

The cities range in population from just over 40,000 to nearly 700,000 and have citywide housing vacancy rates ranging between 8 and 19%. They represent both fast-growing cities like Washington, D.C., and Fresno, Calif., and smaller cities with declining populations like York, Pa., and Danville, Va. Each city demonstrated a strong leadership base and a commitment to developing new solutions for vacant, abandoned, and other problem properties.

Sessions will explore the following topics: understanding markets, legal barriers to revitalization, strategic code enforcement, land banking, rental regulation and licensing, access to capital to fund revitalization efforts, community engagement to support innovation reuse, and adaptive leadership.

“The diversity of the cities chosen for this year’s Leadership Institute reflect the fact that communities across the country continue to feel the fallout from the mortgage foreclosure crisis,” said Tamar Shapiro, president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. “By attending the Leadership Institute, however, these delegations commit to tackling the challenges of vacancy and abandonment head on, to help ensure that the housing recovery reaches every neighborhood.”

This year marks the fifth time a Community Progress Leadership Institute class has convened since 2010. Past graduates of the Leadership Institute have worked with legislators and other stakeholders to draft, advocate for, and pass state and local laws; streamlined systems to acquire and dispose of properties; improved data collection and use; deployed strategic local code enforcement operations; convened statewide leadership summits; and developed new systems that enable cross-agency and multi-stakeholder coordination on blight remediation.

About Center for Community Progress

Founded in 2010, the Center for Community Progress is the only national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization solely dedicated to building a future in which entrenched, systemic blight no longer exists in American communities. The mission of Community Progress is to ensure that communities have the vision, knowledge and systems to transform blighted, vacant and other problem properties into assets supporting neighborhood vitality. As a national leader on solutions for blight and vacancy, Community Progress serves as the leading resource for local, state and federal policies and best practices that address the full cycle of property revitalization, from blight prevention, through the acquisition and maintenance of problem properties, to their productive reuse. Major support for Community Progress is provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Ford Foundation.


Photo Gallery (All photos credit: Luke Telander for the Center for Community Progress)

Group at the 2015 Leadership Institute

Participants at the 2015 Leadership Institute


Group at 2015 Leadership Institute

Participants at the 2015 Leadership Institute


Frank Alexander at 2015 Leadership Institute

Frank Alexander speaking at the 2015 Leadership Institute


 Alan Mallach and Ian Beniston at Leadership Institute

Alan Mallach and Ian Beniston speaking at the 2015 Leadership Institute


Community Progress Leadership Institute Small Group 2
Small group at the 2014 Leadership Institute


Community Progress Leadership Institute Group
Participants at the 2014 Leadership Institute


Community Progress Leadership Institute Small Group
Small group at the 2014 Leadership Institute

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