Community Building Resources


Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Directory

To help the EBCI’s neighbors in Cherokee, Jackson, Haywood, Clay, Macon, Swain and Graham counties determine who they can call to identify and discuss collaboration opportunities for projects that may qualify for Cherokee Preservation Foundation funding, here is a directory of some EBCI tribal programs and departments. These departments and programs are included because their work has a relationship with the Cherokee Preservation Foundation’s four areas of focus: cultural preservation, economic development, creation of employment opportunities and environmental preservation.

Handmade in America

Handmade in America is a non-profit organization that promotes the craft of handmade objects as a means of sustainable economic development in depressed communities in Western North Carolina. Handmade in America’s mission is to celebrate the hand and the handmade, to nurture the creation of traditional and contemporary craft, to revere and protect our resources, and to preserve and enrich the spiritual, cultural, and community life of our region.

WNC Nonprofit Pathways

Western North Carolina Nonprofit Pathways links local nonprofit leaders with learning opportunities, resources and support to help them become more effective in serving the community. It is offered through a collaboration involving Cherokee Preservation Foundation, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Mission Healthcare Foundation, and United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County. These organizations came together out of concern about the increasing demands on nonprofits and a desire to play a role in building the capacity of community organizations so they can best carry out their missions.


Building Capacity in Non-Profit Organizations

Building Capacity in Non-profit Organizations defines capacity-building as the ability of non-profit organizations to fulfill their missions in an effective manner, and examine capacity-building as it relates to the overall quality of life in the communities non-profit organizations serve.

Center for Community Change

The Center for Community Change is one of the nation’s flagship non-profits working to build capacity and provide policy support in low-wealth communities.

Community Development Toolbox

The Laboratory for Community and Economic Development (LCED) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is using information technologies to expand the scope of community development practice. With the support of the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR), a package of online community development tools to enhance local development efforts is presented on the LCED homepage.

National Network for Collaboration

The National Network for Collaboration features a wealth of collaboration and changes resources on its Web site, including links to Collaboration Handbook— Creating, Sustaining and Enjoying the Journey; Assessing Your Collaboration — A Self Evaluation Tool; Collaborative Framework – Addressing Community Capacity; and Self Help Resources for Community Groups.

Planning Community-Wide Study Circle Programs

How to establish and run study circles – small-group discussions that help communities address their most pressing issues – are the focus of a step-by-step guide on the Civic Practices Network Web site. The guide includes:

  • How to build a coalition to sponsor and organize the discussions.
  • Selecting and/or writing discussion materials.
  • Recruiting and training discussion leaders.
  • Recruiting participants.
  • Publicizing the program.
  • Integrating the study circles into community problem solving.
  • Measuring the outcomes.

Rural Community Assistance Corporation

Rural Community Assistance Corporation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for rural communities and disadvantaged people through partnerships, technical assistance and access to resources. RCAC strives to help community-based organizations and rural governments increase their own capacity to implement solutions to their problems. The site provides information on financial assistance, housing programs, training and technical support, upcoming events, publications, and more.

Southern Rural Development Initiative

The Southern Rural Development Initiative is a bottom-up intermediary — a regional collaborative working together to dramatically increase the flow of philanthropic and development capital to the South’s rural communities.

Sustainable Measures

Sustainable Measures, put together by Hart Environmental Data, provides information about indicators of sustainable community: ways to measure how well a community is meeting the needs and expectations of its present and future members. The substance of this site is a list of several tools and areas of basic information necessary to develop an indicator appropriate to a particular task and situation. Some examples are: a list with examples that compare better indicators to poorer ones; a list of sustainable community projects in operation; and a search facility that can be accessed to search the organization’s database using key words. Some other very useful features offered are a one-day training course on sustainable community indicators that can be conducted online or by downloading the PDF files. The site also lists questions commonly asked about sustainable community indicators and follows these with helpful and concise answers. is a comprehensive source of technology information just for non-profit organizations. Help yourself to everything inside – tools and resources, a listing of donated and discounted products, and articles and news.

Your Field Guide to Community Building

This 100-page guide helps rural community leaders build the capacity of local citizens to take collective action for community improvement and provides practical information about how to create strong relationships and get things done. The guide may be ordered at