Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date



As part of my professional practice for my master’s degree in Sociology-Applied Economic and Community Development, my main responsibility was to develop a community leadership group for a non-profit in Providence, Rhode Island. The agency, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, offers a variety of services to immigrants and incoming refugees. My role as a Community Advisory Board Coordinator involved establishing a community group while giving opportunities for leadership and client input on services received from the agency. Community boards serve an important role in any organization as they offer valuable input in creating high-quality services. However, organizing community groups involves strategic planning and methodology in order to achieve desired success. This paper documents the processes taken to establishing the group, the challenges, and the lessons learned. Specifically, this paper gathers a wide range of literature detailing effective strategies to organize communities followed by a narrative section outlining my experience attempting to establish a community advisory board. Further, I argue the main barriers preventing the establishment of the group: bureaucratic issues, lack of a cohesive group, and lack of collaboration among the agency and clients. The goal of this paper is not to critique the agency nor its projects, but rather to offer practical implications for the establishment of community advisory boards.

Included in

Sociology Commons