What Is Grounding Values In Research?

This multi-year research project examines the financial health, activities, production, and leadership of community development organizations throughout the United States. The results provide critical data to cultivate their effectiveness and advocate for funding and support. This public dataset is available to students and scholars for additional exploration. View the Grounding Values Advisory Committee.


  • Storied Communities, Community Stories Report & Webinar — We commissioned ThirdSpace Action Lab to create the Storied Communities, Community Stories report. Researchers from ThirdSpace partnered with resident storytellers in four communities in different regions of the country to examine how residents engage with their local community development organization.



  • Visited 2,225 websites for additional data — Researchers reviewed the websites of more than a third of the community-based development organizations nationwide to document their activities and supplement the financial health dataset.

  • Money Meets Community reports — The first four reports in the Money Meets Community series explore community development organizations’ activities, funding flows, geography and financial resources, and their financial health. Staff traveled to conferences across the U.S. to share the results.



  • Analyzed tax records of 5,720 organizations  — Researchers examined I-990 forms from community development nonprofits across the country.

  • Financial Health Report — The report found overall good financial health and financial growth overall. However, it found signs of distress in specific types of organizations.

  • 140 Financial Health Fact Sheets — The fact sheets detail the financial profiles of community development organizations across all regions of the country, all 50 states, and 84 metropolitan statistical areas, providing accessible data for advocacy and fundraising purposes.



  • Engaged 90 stakeholders in conversations — We talked with community development professionals, funders, and other stakeholders to determine the most impactful research for the future of our field.

  • Commissioned the Urban Institute to conduct research — We hired the Urban Institute, a highly-respected research institution renowned for its expertise in the community development field, to ensure robust and reliable data as the foundation of the Grounding Values in Research project.