PROJECTThe Grounding Values Study: Exploring the Community Development Sector’s Challenges and Accomplishments to Shape Its Future

Community-based development organizations, or CBDOs, serve the important missions of revitalizing, developing, empowering, and reinvesting in economically disadvantaged communities across the United States. For these nonprofits to best serve their communities, more information is needed about their financial capabilities, their accomplishments, the barriers they face, and the policy areas central to their work. 

Building this knowledge is critical for understanding the sector’s overall health and identifying where further supports could help bolster and sustain CBDO activities. To that end, the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations launched the Grounding Values study in 2021 in partnership with the Urban Institute to study CBDOs nationwide.

The research includes tax data analysis, a national census survey, and qualitative interviews around key themes. It is informed by a notable committee of national community development and affordable housing experts, advocates, and institutions. The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations and the Urban Institute will release Grounding Values study products through 2023, including reports, fact sheets, policy briefs, and public-use datasets.

The study’s first two phases are as follows:

  1. Understanding the Financial Health of CBDOs (published August 2022)
  2. Survey of Community-Based Development Organizations (to be published fall 2023)

Phase One Research: Understanding the Financial Health of CBDOs

Fact sheets

This project was corrected on September 30, 2022. Originally, we described our unit of analysis as 5,720 unique CBDOs filing taxes in 2018, but we actually analyzed the number of tax-filing records in 2018 filed by 5,603 unique CBDOs. Some CBDOs filed more than one tax statement in 2018 (e.g., for address updates, recent tax year amendments, or within-year amendments). Numbers throughout this project are based on the correct unit of analysis and have not changed. We keep the “organization” language throughout the products because it is easier to understand, but mentions of CBDOs in this study should be interpreted as CBDO tax filings in 2018. All publications under this project have been updated to reflect the correct unit of analysis. For detailed information, see the errata in the technical report at

Research Areas Neighborhoods, cities, and metros Nonprofits and philanthropy
Tags Housing affordability Community and economic development National Center for Charitable Statistics data Nonprofit data and statistics
Research Methods Quantitative data analysis