Cathy NeiderbergerPNC congratulates NACEDA on ten years of contributions to the community development field. We support the creation of this Talking Values: Soulful Conversations Within Community Economic Development because the conversations it is intended to stimulate will help frame the future of community economic development. Too often we are busy, busy, busy with immediate needs, deadlines, and reports. My colleagues and I at PNC hope you carve out time and are inspired by these pages to have meaningful conversations about the future of community development and some of the complicated issues that surround it. We ask you to allow yourself the space for conversation, inspiration, and debate. Without it, our challenges will linger without resolution. Our successes will be less fulfilling and under-recognized.

Of course we believe in the critical role NACEDA and its network plays in our shared mission to bring opportunities for prosperity in all communities. But these conversations go beyond the reach of NACEDA and PNC.

I posed a question to NACEDA Board Member and Publication Chair Joe McNeely early in the development of this publication, “What will my ten closest colleagues and I be able to do with this document in the next six months?” I am a practical person. As such, I find the Discussion Guide to be the lynchpin that connects these concepts to people and organizations that can benefit from them most. Without the guide, the creative ideas and passionate values brought forward lose accountability. Use the Guide as a bridge to bring questions to your networks.

How will a new generation of leaders change the field? How do we balance scale and accountability? Are we taking the right approach to achieve racial equity in low income places and communities of color? While I do not have the answers, the conversations this publication started have gotten me closer.

So I encourage you to make copies of your favorite essay. Prepare yourself with the Discussion Guide. Ask the board chair of your favorite local community organization to set aside 30 minutes at the start of your next board or committee meeting. Solicit honest opinions from your peers; offer your own. Then reflect on the values that come forward. Do the organizations you support align with those values? How? Why? Or why not?

I have had a 30-year career in this field and have encountered and supported many big ideas. A common thread running through the most transformative projects and programs is a community of individuals that asked the tough questions, drove impactful solutions to seemingly intractable disagreement, and had an accountable, proven process to meet shared goals.

We hope the people and ideas in these pages help you with that process.

Cathy Niederberger
Executive Vice President, Community Development Banking, PNC Bank

This publication was made possible by the generous support of PNC Bank

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