by Rachel Silver & Melora Hiller
Here we are, 2016, a new year and a new organization with a new name! You have been our members, supporters, allies and partners when we were the National Community Land Trust Network and Cornerstone Partnership, and we hope you will continue to be our members, supporters, allies and partners as we launch our integrated work as Grounded Solutions Network. We know that people have emotional reactions to names and name changes. We know that our new name is going to take some getting used to. Here are a few thoughts about what this name means to us.
Grounded: This word is rich in meaning for us. On one level, it evokes the work we do around land, the heritage of Community Land Trusts and the importance of community land ownership. It highlights the importance of land use policy and our work supporting local policies that increase access to affordable homes and housing opportunity. On another level, it evokes our commitment to promoting and disseminating best practices based on the learnings of practitioners. Our technical assistance is not just based on theory; it is grounded in what works. On yet another level, it evokes the importance of where people live and our work to support programs grounded in their communities.
Solutions: We live in troubled times. During 2015, racially charged conflicts like those in Baltimore and Ferguson reinforced how polarized we are as a nation. People are recognizing how race, economics, and location shape life opportunities. Supporting economic integration, promoting mobility and housing choice, reversing disinvestment while preventing displacement, and promoting lasting affordability are key strategies in promoting equity and building including communities. Our work focuses on these solutions. We’re not saying that these are easy solutions, but we’re dedicated to building a better tomorrow.
Network: It was no coincidence that “Network” or “Partnership” was part of our name before and remains part of our name now. We are great believers in peer learning, in connecting people with others who share the same issues, in connecting peoples to the tools and resources that can help solve their problems. We also connect people to data (their own or that of programs nationally) and use this data to help answer big questions in user-friendly ways. We learn from you, and the solutions that we develop for individual programs, we then spread to the field. We look forward to strengthening and growing our network in 2016.
As you may imagine, merging two programs took a lot of planning and work. We are thrilled to be on the other side. We are especially thrilled that our talented and dedicated staff has stayed with us. We have an ambitious work program this year, and are ready to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty … as Grounded Solutions Network! Over the next two months we’ll be unveiling more about our new identity and our efforts to support the growth and preservation of communities nationwide. Please stay tuned!