For 35 years, Lawrence CommunityWorks has been working to build a better, stronger, more resilient city for Lawrence residents.
LCW had its beginnings in the 1980s struggle to build affordable housing in Lawrence, and has since built or renovated over 400 units of affordable housing for the people of Lawrence. Since an organizational rebirth in 1999, we have:
- Become a powerful vehicle for community revitalization efforts — attracting more than $120M in local, regional, and national public and private investment and catalyzing equitable, resident-led development projects.
- Expanded our membership from 0 to 5,000+ residents and stakeholders who have deeply shaped the organization we are today.
- Grown from a staff of three and a deficit budget of under $100,000 to a staff of nearly 50 and a $4M budget in 2021.
People, Places, and Systems
Our efforts are guided by a three-pronged approach to revitalization. At LCW, we believe in:
- Helping Lawrence residents of all ages become strong, successful, healthy, financially resilient, and civically engaged so they are recognized as the most powerful asset and drivers of change for themselves and the community.
- Creating spaces and environments that offer stability and opportunity, and provide a healthy, high quality of life for Lawrence residents so they can support their families, pursue their dreams, and thrive long-term.
- Working collaboratively across institutions and sectors to create systems-level change — from zoning reform to school improvement to policy advocacy to housing justice — that materialy affects the conditions of people’s lives and the resources available to residents.
For over 20 years, we have focused on building social capital among Lawrence residents (neighbors, parents, youth), fostering leadership skills and practices at multiple levels of the community, engaging residents in the design and governance of projects and programs, mobilizing people to volunteer and vote, and implementing collective action campaigns and deep collaborations to improve housing, municipal budgeting, economic development, and schools. During this time, we have been clear and significant contributors to a rising tide in Lawrence, where increased investment and physical renewal, local business growth, diverse and thoughtful leadership, improved school performance, and a spirit of cross-sector collaboration have been taking root and producing noticeable positive changes in the City, despite temporary setbacks from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.