Engagement in federal and state policy is is a key strategy for CEI to achieve greater social impact than what it could do as a single development organization. Over the years, CEI has devoted increasing amounts of time and resources to appropriations policies that can retain, restore and expand resources for the community development industry.
In the mid-1980s, CEI joined with peers to advocate for federal programs important to community development. This coalition, led by Rapoza Associates of Washington, DC, has been responsible for legislative initiatives and continuation of funding amounting to well over $2 billion for the CDC/CDFI field. Maine has been fortunate to have important leaders in Congress, who have united on many community development legislative initiatives that we have advanced, including economic assistance for women entrepreneurs.
CEI works with legislators, peer organizations and other stakeholders to develop broader government support for model programs that we have pioneered, new initiatives and demonstration programs, and ongoing programs that support the economic and community development field as a whole. It also works with other interests in coalitions on regulatory issues that create a conducive policy environment for its work.
On the state level, CEI has regularly advocated for resources to support its work.
Research informs CEI’s practice and policy positions
Often CEI undertakes research as a first step to inform a policy direction and strategy as well as to guide its practice. This may be a synthesis of existing information, or new research undertaken inhouse or through an external contractor. CEI often works with government agencies to do the research. Click for examples of past reports and studies:
- CEI’s Policy Priorities for 2019-2020
- Voices from the Field: Conversations About Quality Jobs with Washington County Employers, March 2018
- Impact Investing and Community Development, June 2016
- Building Maine’s Economy: How Maine Can Embrace Immigrants and Strengthen the Workforce, March 2016.
CEI has also done research and writing on measuring the impact of its work to provide feedback to funders, policy makers, and its staff and board to inform future program and policy development. These studies include:
- Low-Income Longitudinal Study
- Evaluation of the Farms to the Future Program
- Measuring Impact in Practice: Reflections and Recommendations from Coastal Enterprises, Inc.’s Experience