Stanislaus Equity Partners (STEP) CDC was launched in early 2021 after the completion of a
feasibility study by CCEDA. STEP CDC has achieved significant progress in the first two years
of existence including completing several housing initiatives. Early 2023 is a good time for
STEP to undertake a strategic planning process to assess the various strategies, organizational
alignment and systems needed to keep up with the development projects, and the strategic
direction of the organization given the fact that the Founding CEO is planning on retiring in the
next 12 months. Robert Zdenek the consultant for the STEP Feasibility Study teamed up with
Wendy Ryan CEO of Kadabra to conduct the plan under the auspices of CCEDA. The
consultants did extensive research, interviewed a dozen leaders, convened four stakeholder
collaboration sessions and brought together the board and staff for a day-long meeting. The net
result is the approval of a number of major recommendations for the STEP Board to oversee
and the STEP staff to implement between 2023 and 2028. There are numerous charts and
references attached to the document. The STEP Strategic Plan is designed to be an active
strategic plan and every year STEP will review the strategic plan recommendations and actions
and make appropriate changes. A board strategic planning committee will oversee the
implementation and analysis of the progress on the plan. This strategic planning process
engaged dozens of stakeholders and leaders throughout Stanislaus County.
This feasibility report serves multiple purposes. It gives a comprehensive overview of the community insights surfaced through the Embers Project. Moreover, it highlights the difference between organizational models within a community development ecosystem. It also shares an array of key Stockton stakeholder interview themes and insights and draws connections between Stockton’s ecosystem potential and the community development ecosystems in similar cities. Most importantly, this report will serve as a tool to highlight unique community development models, so that community leaders and residents can plan for the creation of possible community development institutions and/or design projects to benefit from such institutions.
City Ministries Network: 2020
More than 4,000 community economic development organizations exist in the United States to provide place-based strategies, partnerships, and solutions to strengthen the economic vibrancy and quality and of life in low- and moderate-income communities. Community economic development differs from traditional economic development in that the focus is on making a community a better place to live and work, rather than just creating wealth for others from which much other economic development results. Borne out of inequity and/or crisis, community economic development (CED) provides targeted activities and programs that recognize each community has its own distinct economic, social, ecological, and cultural characteristics. By encouraging the use of local resources in community-driven ways that enhance economic opportunities while improving social conditions in a sustainable way, lives are changed.
City Ministry Networks seeks to make the underserved communities of Modesto a better place to live and work by providing
targeted activities and programs that recognize each community’s own economic, societal, and cultural characteristics.
CCEDA has recommended that CMN create an affiliated organization with an associated
board of directors, and its own staff. To do so CCEDA recommends that CMN first secure a 3- year operating grant from the Stanislaus Community Foundation to ensure the successful startup of the CMN CDC. CCEDA recommends that over time the new CDC seek 1/3 of its funds from foundations and private sources; 1/3 from public sector support; and the remaining third from earned income, i.e., loan referral fees. Finally, CCEDA recommends that the CMN CDC identify several relatively simple first projects in order to begin a successful track record.
While this project gets underway, America finds itself facing a pandemic unlike anything experienced on its shores in more than 100 years. It is uncertain when and to what extent the robust economic environ- ment that existed before the coronavirus pandemic will return. Given that residents of low and moderate-income communities in Modesto struggled with issues such as affordable housing, education, and job training, access to healthcare, homelessness, and supporting the creation of new business even during strong economic times, it is a virtual certainty that its low and moderate income communities will be even more negatively affected, and that community economic development will be even more greatly needed.