What is a Community Development Corporation (CDC)?

A Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a group of community organizations operating in different fields on a specific territory, and which mission is to ensure the active participation of grassroots and community movements in the socioeconomic development of its collectivity.

CDCs are different for other such groups as they are local and multisectoral in nature. There are also no other kinds of groups that explicitly carry the mandate of working for the community and socioeconomic development of its collectivity in a global, alternative and inclusive perspective.

The mission of the Roussillon Community Development Corporation (CDC) is defined as:

  • Promoting community development in the Roussillon RCM, and the interests, concerns and contributions of community development groups.
  • Raising awareness within the population to improve individual quality of life by all appropriate means.
  • Involving all citizens in looking for solutions to issues in their community.
  • Uniting, through concerted and complementary actions, community organizations, their partners and collaborators, concerned with poverty, the political and environmental conditions, quality of life and development of their community.
  • Encouraging community development in a multisectoral perspective.
  • Promoting reflection, consultation and collaboration on all subjects related to social, sustainable and communal development.

CDCs carry their operations through ten areas of intervention. While complying to their frame of reference, CDCs are not uniform, as they reflect their own individual history. CDCs must adequately cater to the needs and dynamics of the environment they stem from. Their activities therefore are always in movement, changing in types and intensity depending on their specificity.

The order of presentation of the areas embodies the two essential elements of the work of a CDC: the first five areas present the crucial and unavoidable development work, while the bottom five illustrate the work in support to organizations and the community.

1 – Collaboration

As local and multisectoral groups, CDCs promote collaboration between independent community organizations through an associative life close to its members. The structuring action of the CDCs strengthen the community movement. Different types of activities can stimulate such collaboration: board of directors, AGM, special meetings, committees, social gatherings, thematic meetings, etc., while networking activities between members can foster a sense of belonging.

Therefore…
Collaboration within the community movement allows organizations to learn about each other, be recognized, but also share their analysis and develop a communal reading of the community, to then act with a stronger cohesion.

2 – Information

Through different means (memos, rounds of phone calls, emails, newsletter, website), CDCs facilitate and ensure the sharing of information on all sorts of local, regional and national issues related near or far to the community movement. They also turn to other groups that produce theses, statements, press releases, assessments, conferences, workshops, etc.

Therefore…
Being well informed is fundamental to being able to take action. CDCs can play an important and determining role in this aspect. The current multiplicity of information sources and overabundance can lead to disinformation and confusion. It is therefore crucial to ensure access to pertinent information that serves community action. This requires time: research, reading, rewriting, references.

3 – Consolidation and community development

CDCs work to create and maintain community organizations and networks. They act as incubators for new community projects and represent an innovative force within the collectivity.

Therefore…
CDCs have a stake in the consolidation and development as well as the renewal of the community movement, through an area-based intervention anchored in social change: Supporting funding consolidation; Integrating and guiding new members or staff; Participating in working groups; Supporting organizations through their beginnings; Supporting associative activities.

4 – Representation

CDCs represent their members in different community, socioeconomic and political contexts. Representation is, furthermore, prioritized amongst local and regional development organizations, as well as on the municipal level and within different round tables.

Therefore…
Despite the sometimes diverging interests of the partners and members of the CDCs, representation remains an essential action to position the social and community movement at the heart of the development of the collectivity, and position its social justice values as a choice of intervention.

5 – Partnerships

CDCs are regularly involved in local development projects with other political, institutional and socioeconomic actors of their territory. CDCs concretely work on an array of projects, depending on the priorities established by the concerned parties.

Therefore…
CDCs open the doors to a new form of partnership, creating an alignment between the social and economic aspects to stimulate the community. CDCs therefore present an alternative to the dominating model of the traditional idea of economic development.

6 – Support and members services

CDCs can provide all kinds of services to the community organizations of their territory, in accordance with the needs expressed and their capacity to cater to said needs. Services can for instance take the form of a community building, collective services (i.e.: photocopier, workstations, secretary services, etc.), collective insurance, group activities, mediation, management tools and policies, etc.

Therefore…
This area of intervention can take up a lot of space, as the needs of community organizations are often numerous. There is, however, a balance to be maintained and a meaning to be found in developing this area. Supporting members and providing them with services should aim to reinforce their development or consolidation, and in return facilitate their collaboration and participation in community development.

7 – Workshops and training

In this area of intervention, CDCs are involved on the following levels: identifying the needs, finding resources, organizing workshops and follow-ups. Workshops and training can be customized (i.e.: rights and responsibilities of administrators, volunteers’ management, associative and democratic life) or professional (i.e.: crisis intervention, finances management, human resources management).

Therefore…
Another form of training, which we call popular education, is presented through a cross-cutting approach on many levels. Popular education aims to simplify, inform and comprehend social issues, and to train and mobilize people to promote participation and action. It is a form of training that aims to create action through a problem-solving approach (social transformation). Popular education is a preferred tool to increase agency and the ability to intervene within the community.

8 – Support for social and solidarity economy

CDCs aim to foster the right conditions for the emergence of local projects that are innovative on both the economic and social levels. It is carried through guidance, animation, promotion and information on social economy.

Therefore…
Social and solidarity economy is recognized by the CDCs movement as a driving force for alternative, innovative and inclusive development. CDCs share the associative values and social purposes of this sector. It is therefore important for a CDC to know the organization (usually the CLD) that has the mandate to develop this sector on its territory and to associate with it. A CDC also benefits from partnering with the regional consultation body, called a regional hub, either directly or through its inter-CDC.

9 – Promotion

CDCs can organize promotional and visibility activities for community action. It must be known that CDCs represent a social, economic and political force that provides the community network with a power of influence over community development, therefore becoming a distinct sector of activity.

Therefore…
CDCs can contribute to promoting the social movement and raise awareness within opinion leaders, among others, regarding the exceptional contribution of the community involvement to developing and trying collective and flexible solutions to social issues (i.e.: producing promotional tools, using the media, organizing community days).

10 – Research

CDCs are involved in research activities and can manage research projects on specific social issues.

Therefore…
This area of intervention does not imply that CDCs must develop expertise in research. It more so aims to ensure that correct information is used to develop activities. Themes can vary: knowing the social needs of your community, documenting on specific needs (i.e.: families in situations of poverty), qualifying and quantifying the impact of community action within the collectivity, etc. Proper knowledge greatly contributes to giving credibility to your comments and convincing partners on the need to act!

The CDC covers the territory of the Roussillon RCM, including its eleven municipalities: Châteauguay, Léry, Mercier, Saint-Isidore, Saint-Constant, Saint-Mathieu, Delson, Sainte-Catherine, La Prairie, Candiac and Saint-Philippe. Three of these municipalities are classified as rural, i.e.: Saint-Isidore, Saint-Mathieu and Saint-Philippe. Nearly 200,000 people reside on this vast area of 371 km2.

Mandates and guidelines

It is through the involvement of its member organizations on different internal working committees and their active participation in meetings that the Roussillon CDC determines its mandates. In compliance with its mission, an annual action plan is drafted and adopted during each annual general meeting. The main guidelines that will establish the work of the CDC are therefore democratically defined and each member is invited to contribute.

Values

Members of the Roussillon CDC agree to share their different qualities and efforts to lead four values important to them. These values were collectively determined during the Members Meeting of October 28, 2014.

Solidarity, social justice, equality and respect will be the basis of each exchange between members.

Solidarity is a highly important value for the members of the Roussillon CDC. In order to reach the desired level of solidarity, members consider that their presence and participation are essential to the operations of the CDC. Their involvement facilitates collaborative work and reciprocity between organizations. Members want to get involved in their CDC by working with all the partners and by acting in solidarity with the decisions taken collectively. For the members of the Roussillon CDC, solidarity is also shown through the support and concrete involvement of the group towards organizations in needs. Members foster experience sharing, discussions and mutual aid between organizations to better answer the needs of the population. Finally, solidarity between members of the Roussillon CDC is expressed throughout supporting groups with revindications, who denounce social injustice and inequalities.

For all members, social justice is a fundamental value at the heart of the purpose of community groups. Fighting for social justice means tackling all forms of discrimination and promoting the defence of social, economic, and cultural rights. This implies sharing and discussing injustices in order to find collective solutions. Social justice is at the centre of each meeting of member organizations. Social justice is possible through the support, mutual guidance and participation in upcoming battles, and by implementing collective actions that go in that same direction.

Equality is an important value carried by each member. Inequality between men and women is an issue that touches all groups on different levels, most particularly in regards to economic disparity and violence. Fighting for equality means that the community values different age groups, and cultures, including the Mohawk community of Kahnawake. This value also tints the actions of the CDC and comes alive in the respect given to the different opinions of each member. Roles and responsibilities in relation to common achievements are shared within all members. Therefore, everyone is invited to contribute to the best of their abilities to collective work.

Respect is the foundation of each exchange between members of the Roussillon CDC. This value is shown through the ability to listen and the quality discussions within the collectivity. For all members, respect means recognizing the missions and limits of each individual and taking in consideration the opinions of others in order to foster rich and meaningful discussions.

With the four main values fuelling them, members of the Roussillon CDC are able to contribute to the development of their CDC coherently with the mission of the group.

Discover our team

Board of directors

Gina Philie

President (Vigile Verte)

Stéphane Moreau

Vice-President (Comité logement Rive-Sud)

Gabrielle Juneau

Treasurer (Quartier des Femmes)

Alexandre Domingue Poirier

Secretary (Maison des jeunes Sympholie de Delson)

– Co-opted member following Mrs. Isabelle Bergeron-Tremblay’s departure for parental leave. (Maison des jeunes Équinox)

Nathalie Latreille

Administrator (Centre de femmes L’Éclaircie)

Work team

Virginie Bernier

Coordinator
cdcroussillon@gmail.com

Caroline Gagner

Development Agent
cdcr.agentdev@gmail.com