Our Values

The Community Building Initiative (CBI) was created to meet the St. Joseph Fund’s mission of “continually improving the health and quality of life of people in the communities we serve.” The CBI vision is to build the capacity of neighborhoods to act on their own behalf to address upstream conditions that perpetuate health, social, and economic disparities.

Rather than “treating” a specific problem or issue, CBI works with community members to cultivate an upstream point of view that focuses on the inequities that are at the root of persistent problems. Based on national evidence and learning from CBI communities’ experience, CBI has identified four pillars as key to building community power:

  • Community member/neighbor engagement
  • Neighborhood leaders/leadership development
  • Outside individual and organization partnerships
  • Influence with decision makers

Community Building Initiative embodies a fundamental commitment to advancing the greater good.

“Greater good” translates to the capacity of communities to improve local conditions by addressing systems and policies that drive institutional racism and perpetuate disparities. CBI values emphasize its community-centered approach:

  • Community member engagement is not the means for achieving strategic ends, but rather the reason for achieving these ends.
  • Empowered community members are the necessary condition for any effective change in a community’s conditions.
  • Community members must have the authority to define their own needs and community issues.
  • Effective action does not merely involve residents but is the product of empowered residents.
  • Those who can assist distressed communities have an obligation to do so, without a contrary organizational or personal agenda.

Distressed communities deserve the resources needed to improve their conditions.

CBI only supports strategic outcomes and processes that directly flow from its fundamental values. The support provided by the St. Joseph Fund is designed to make these values visible in our neighborhoods and communities.