‘Can you put down your mission and plug into mine?’ How place-based initiatives leverage collaborations with academic institutions to enhance their ABCD and CBR potential

Main Article Content

Sharon Watson
Stephanie Potochnick
Andrew Case
Jaylan Cole
Clysha Whitlow
Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
Victoria Scott
William McDonald, Jr.
Tiffany Capers
Hannah Beavers
Ryan Kilmer


Place-Based Initiatives (PBIs) involve efforts to mobilise and coordinate local resources, services and expertise across multiple organisations and sectors in order to strengthen the social, structural, physical and economic conditions of historically disinvested neighbourhoods. While promising, these initiatives have had some documented challenges, and some are leveraging partnerships with academic institutions to address those challenges. In this article, we explore perspectives of leaders and staff from three PBI organisations in Charlotte, NC to better understand the benefits of PBI-academic partnerships and the conditions under which they are most effective. Thematic analysis of 23 semi-structured interviews revealed that PBIs leverage partnerships with academic institutions to accomplish two key goals. First, these partnerships stimulate asset- based community development (ABCD) by connecting community organisations and neighbourhood residents with academic resources and by strengthening PBI service delivery. Second, some partnerships give rise to community-based research efforts that help address external accountability challenges and inform PBI programming. The findings also illuminated several pitfalls in academic-PBI partnerships, sometimes rooted in conflicting priorities and approaches of academic researchers and non-profit practitioners. Finally, insights delineate key recommendations for improving PBI-academic collaborations, including countering academic exploitation by plugging into PBIs’ mission and respecting PBI expertise.

Article Details

Research articles (Refereed)