CED Case Study Lessons from the Field FY 2018

Case Studies of Community Economic Development Grantees

Publication Date: June 29, 2018

Welcome to CED Lessons from the Field, a collection of case studies of Community Economic Development Grantees. Read on to learn more about themes that emerged across the grants and to browse the case study library. To learn more about this resource, go to the About the Lessons from the Field Resource page.

The case studies that follow summarize how community development corporations (CDCs) around the country employ grants from the Community Economic Development (CED) program. They demonstrate but a portion of the work done by CDCs using CED. From this quick summary of a diverse set of CED stories, a few lessons emerge. One is that CDCs can indeed work with the variety of forces involved in the local economy to help businesses—large and small—and help create jobs.

What contributed to make this happen?

Five themes seem to emerge over and over across these examples, and those themes can help inform the work of other CDCs and organizations that plan to emulate the economic development work undertaken by these organizations.


Projects are influenced by many factors, internal and external to the project itself, and the CDC has to be resilient and open to innovation.

Connections to the Community

While the temptation exists among all of our organizations to hunker down and do the work, it really pays in the long-run to make sure you are reaching out and creating partnerships that can    help the organization, its projects, and clients. You never know when you might need them.

Connect to the Local Economy

Study your environment to see where the real opportunities are—and make sure you know the opportunities and threats.

Use of Nontraditional Finance

Sometimes, when traditional financial vehicles are not available, an organization has to take the lead and provide other ways of providing financing for their communities.

Risk-Taking Leaders

Calculated risk is an important way of making economic progress in many of our communities. It is a way of demonstrating leadership. But risk has to be balanced by experience, data, and strong partnerships.

Read more about the lessons learned!


Feature Case Study: Neighborhood Businesses Aren't Always Small Businesses

Northwest Side CDC Visit disclaimer page in Milwaukee has programs to assist neighborhood businesses. It has developed revolving loan funds, provides technical help to businesses and entrepreneurs, and helps to develop commercial and mixed-use properties to benefit its community.However, its partnership with DRS Technologies led to a unique relationship with four major benefits for each stakeholder. Read the full case study.


Case Study Library
Pacific Gateway Center - Lemongrass Cafe

Celebrating Local Culture and Creating Job Opportunities
Honolulu, HI


Logo for the Community Economic Development Program

Restaurants can be Community Meeting Points
Park Hills, MO


Logo for the Community Economic Development Program

Helping to Create Businesses and Jobs on a Reservation
Kyle, SD


Providing Transportation Services and Jobs Hugo, OK


Enlivening the Main Street
San Antonio, TX


Building a Sustainable Economy
Wiscasset, ME



Building Jobs in Building Maintenance
Los Angeles, CA

Making an Asset Out of a White Elephant
Boston, MA

Logo for the Community Economic Development Program

Trying to Build a Business in the Clean Energy Field
Trenton, NJ

To learn more about this resource, go to the About the Lessons from the Field Resource page.

Current as of: