To create an equitable and just society by advancing the practice of community engagement.
All community members, especially those who have been historically oppressed and ignored, should be engaged in and have authorship of their lives and future. Community engagement is a life-long commitment to a set of values that places equity, inclusion and community at the center.
The Institute will honor, build, and grow what has come before and what is yet to come through broad engagement and co-creation with on-the-ground practitioners.
Since our beginning, Nexus has supported community engagement organizations by providing financial resources and capacity building assistance to deepen and expand their work. Over time we realized that our support wasn’t enough and that community engagement was not well-researched or recognized for its powerful potential to improve communities, and to foster long-term systemic change.
In 2008, Nexus began convening organizations to discuss these challenges and to identify solutions. In 2012, after years of meeting and sharing our experiences, Nexus created a platform to raise the visibility and demonstrate the value of community engagement. “Building the Field of Community Engagement” (BTF) brought together the collective voices of community engagement organizations to create and capture new knowledge about the field, assess its impact on transforming communities, and to build the case for integrating this work into other fields.
As the work developed, the call for us to deepen and expand this opportunity became stronger. More people, organizations and institutions were looking for ways to better understand this work and its transformative potential.
In 2015, to answer this call, Nexus began the development of the Community Engagement Institute. The Institute is a learning, practice, and leadership center designed for individuals, organizations and institutions from across the country to learn about equity-based community engagement.