MSU summit tackles community development challenges


— A disconnect exists between the need and importance to develop a conversation about the heart and soul of communities of color, according to Ron Hantz, president of the Network for Developing Conscious Communities (NDCC).


(Courtesy Photo)

Ron Hantz is the president of the Network for Developing Conscious Communities.

Hantz says that the NDCC wants to drive that conversation.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NDCC is hosting a summit at Morgan State University in Baltimore on Saturday, November 21, 2015, “Community Development Challenges in Communities of Color.” The summit starts at 7: 30 a.m.

Hantz says that minorities must have meaningful dialogue about effectively challenging institutional barriers that impede the economic, social and leadership development in their communities.

“Our ultimate goal should be to learn how to replicate best practices, how to develop indigenous leadership and how to build collaborative community based partnerships,” he said.

The summit will bring together community development practitioners, governmental agencies, neighborhood groups, college students, and non-profit organizations to discuss community development.

“In many urban communities and neighborhoods throughout America, we need to reexamine our approach and strategies to community development,” he said. “We need to create a movement based on having an intergenerational dialogue on what type of community development projects and programs are needed in communities of color to sustain conscious economic growth, social development and spiritual expansion.”

Hantz, who has more than 25 years of experience in the development of affordable housing, says the summit is the first of its kind in Baltimore to address the impact of race on community development.

“We want individuals to allow this summit to stand upon their steady shoulders,” he said. “It’s our families who sacrificed to make it possible for us to even desire success. And it’s our teachers, preachers and community leaders who beat the odds themselves to now serve as our shining examples.”

The outcome of the summit should result in a more informed debate on the critical issues facing leadership and resources in minority communities, Hantz said. “The expectation for this summit is to provide an intergenerational platform for creating a broader dialogue on what is needed to sustain development efforts within neighborhoods of color, explore models to train and attract college students of color as professional and building community based partnerships to create sustainable community programs and projects,”

Objectives of the summit include efforts to “enhance and maximize the professional capacity of African-American community development practitioners so that they can successfully operate and practice in their community,” Hantz said.

For more information about the summit, visit;