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Community Progress Leadership Institute

Developing leadership to restore vitality to America’s neighborhoods

"The Community Progress Leadership Institute was the finest program of this type that I have seen in over ten years in government...During the three days of intense workshops, we explored various approaches to community revitalization and creating long-term viability...I highly recommend the Community Progress Leadership Institute, as it is a great resource for all government officials who are trying to improve the quality of life for the community they serve."

Mayor Joseph E. Sinnott, City of Erie, Pennsylvania

The Community Progress Leadership Institute equips leaders to transform the status quo. This rigorous, four-day training is a profound, immersive experience. Participants consistently attest that it is unlike any other "professional development" event. Participating delegations leave with an expanded understanding of how to overhaul the systems that keep properties stuck in decline - and with the networks to make it happen.


Revitalizing distressed neighborhoods requires envisioning the potential of problem properties. It requires having the wisdom to avoid the mistakes of the past and the courage to pursue new ideas. It requires a commitment to creating communities of opportunity. The Leadership Institute exists to nurture this kind of leadership and make change possible.


Structure and Topics

The Leadership Institute helps teams understand the interconnected causes of problem properties, assess and reform systems that contribute to vacancy, strengthen working relationships, develop an action plan, and grow in their ability to lead profound change. Each annual Leadership Institute cohort is, by design, limited in size. Teams are chosen through a competitive application process.


The low participant-to-faculty ratio creates the opportunity for tailored attention. Through a mix of classroom sessions and team planning, our faculty of top experts guide participants through sessions on these and other topics:


  • Neighborhood markets: Understanding the conditions that shape revitalization opportunities and constraints
  • Strategic code enforcement: Developing programs that respond to the varying needs and priorities of different neighborhoods
  • Property tax systems: Reforming tax policies so that they contribute to neighborhood stabilization
  • Land banking: Examining how to use this tool to eliminate properties' liabilities so they can return to productive use
  • Land reuse: Exploring how to identify, fund, and implement realistic options
  • Access to capital: Identifying means of financing property rehab, purchase, and development in communities with little lending activity


Focus on Teams 

The Leadership Institute fosters strong ties among participants. When leaders from multiple sectors within a city, and multiple cities within a state, work in tandem on common challenges, they amplify the positive impact of their efforts. The Leadership Institute brings together teams from several cities within a given state to catalyze this process.


In most cases, team members have either never met or spent little time together prior to the Leadership Institute, despite working on similar challenges in top leadership positions in the same city or state. The Leadership Institute dismantles longstanding silos and forges powerful new connections.


After the Leadership Institute

Graduates of past Leadership Institutes have passed state and local laws that enable them to more effectively fight vacancy and abandonment, including land bank-enabling laws in three states and statewide code enforcement and tax foreclosure reform in a fourth. They have implemented land banking and code enforcement programs based on best practices; broken down agency and sector silos by developing new cross-sector programs; hosted a statewide knowledge- sharing summit; and developed lasting, productive relationships with peers.


Past Leadership Institute Cities 

Check out the interactive map below to see cities that participated in the Leadership Institute. 


View Past CPLI Cities in a full screen map

For more information about the Leadership Institute, please email cpli@communityprogress.net