Investing in Community-Led Infrastructure & Solutions


Honoring Community Leadership

Communities First offers the following principles through which the Biden Administration and its philanthropic, investment, and capacity building partners can direct federal and investment resources to community-led solutions that address structural inequity and strengthen community self-determination.
The following principles honor the past, present, and future leadership of frontline communities by investing in community infrastructure supporting community-driven solutions.

These principles guide us toward tomorrow’s solution pathways, starting with communities first

1. Invest in People
Prioritize investing in the capacity of people and communities to lead and implement infrastructure solutions.
2. Proactive Collaboration
By moving proactively yet flexibly to facilitate thriving pathways in hardest hit communities, the Biden Administration concretizes its commitment to strong and prosperous communities. Proactive collaboration prioritizes the flow of resources to communities facing critical systemic challenges and obstacles.
3. Center Community Wisdom
Commit to centering communities’ local wisdom and expertise, honoring that communities themselves are best positioned to meet community needs. By centering community expertise, investments leverage frontline communities’ leadership plans, solutions, priorities, needs while preserving community culture and expression.
4. Honor Self-Determination
Federal investments prioritize community ownership and self-determination, supporting emergent community infrastructures that are equity-driven with wealth creation at the center. By honoring and supporting communities’ insistence on self-determination, cross-sector investments support community infrastructures to absorb the scale of capital needed for long-term success.
5. Practice Responsiveness & Accountability
Practice responsiveness and accountability to impacted communities by ensuring public sector funds and resources are supporting community infrastructures in service to community vision, pace and plans. Leveraging federal resources at the direction of community imperatives is key to successful community infrastructure collaborations.
6. Bridge Integrative Pathways
Federal investments in the community will require cross-sector and integrative pathways on part of the Biden Administration and a network of capacity builders, fiscal agents, investors, and government partners. In doing so, the Administration can heed its call to promote holistic outcomes across community health, safety, environmental sustainability, and civic engagement.
7. Repair Past Harm
Acknowledgement of damage and destruction past infrastructure funding has caused in communities of color and low wealth communities is an important step in ensuring that current and future funding does not repeat history and deepen inequities. Many of the challenges communities face today as a result of weaponized infrastructure can be reversed and healed with thoughtful infrastructure spending that puts community articulated needs and priorities first and that supports community led use of resources for wealth creation.

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