How Nonprofits Can Start With Design to Build Strong Communities


Want to better your community but don’t know where to start? Enter It’s the Little Things: a weekly Strong Towns podcast that gives you the wisdom and encouragement you need to take the small yet powerful actions that can make your city or town stronger.

It’s the Little Things features Strong Towns Community Builder Jacob Moses in conversation with various guests who have taken action in their own places and in their own ways.

Take a moment to think about the nonprofit organizations in your community: I imagine a lot come to mind, right? My county, for example, has over 2,000 nonprofit organizations addressing various social issues.

Regarding neighborhood investment, cities need everyone to contribute—including nonprofit organizations. And local nonprofits have an important niche to fill. Their boards and members generally reside in the neighborhoods which they serve. Plus, they bring a perspective and skill set to neighborhood investment that complements investments from other sources.

That’s why, in this episode, we have Thor Erickson on the podcast: a longtime leader in the neighborhood and civic nonprofit sector who’s led place-based investments in neighborhoods around the world. As you’ll learn in this episode, Thor takes a design-first approach to neighborhood investment to ensure that any and all investment benefits the existing residents of the neighborhood.

(You can find one of my favorite design-focused projects of his here.)

In this episode, Thor shares how neighborhood-focused nonprofit organizations can use their missions and skill sets to build strong neighborhoods, including how to bring your unique perspective on neighborhood investment, how to partner with your local government, and how to get your community behind your mission.