Build an Empowered Community in 5 steps

Building an empowered community is a deeply held passion and is considered inherently valuable to us here at Anna Blanch Rabe & Associates. So let’s get started: Build an Empowered Community in 5 steps.

Let’s start with the obvious question: what is an empowered community?

An Empowered Community


An empowered community is a community where every individual feels able and encouraged to contribute to the betterment, growth and strengthening of a community in which they feel ownership and, most importantly, belonging.

1. Coalition Building

Coalition building is one path to community empowerment. Bringing together individuals and leaders who represent a broad range of stakeholders and community sectors and seeking to find common ground on a particular topic or issue. Tom Wolff writes about community empowerment through coalition building:

Health and Human Service Coalitions aim to improve the community’s quality of life by: developing the community’s local planning capacity, increasing collaborative problem solving, promoting greater cooperation, developing an advocacy capacity of the community, and increasing information access.


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2. Community Skills and Knowledge Overview

In order to understand where the limits or gaps are in the services offered to your community, it is helpful to start by recognizing the skills, knowledge and expertise that people contribute, building on these and what has gone before. Ask Questions, and collect information. Do your best not to duplicate, but rather focus on ways to collaborate. How can you work together? Down the road you can look at things like Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), collaborative or network funding or grant applications, and joint strategic planning meetings.

Download the Building an Empowered Community: Practical Tips e-book for practical tips on how to build community skills and knowledge.

3. Seek Equality in your community

By challenging discrimination and oppressive practices within organizations, institutions and communities we demonstrate that every individual, family, business and organization has a place within our community. I do believe that equity is actually more fundamentally important than equality, and there are some attitudes of bigotry, xenophobia, racism, and sexism that I personally believe has no place in an empowered community.
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4. Build Participation as a cultural value

Participating is acculturated as a cultural value when empowered communities facilitate democratic involvement by people in the issues which affect their lives based on full citizenship, autonomy and shared power, skills, knowledge and experience. By engaging with your community in ways which increase people’s skills, knowledge and confidence, and instill in them a belief that they can make a difference you can create a legacy that lives long beyond you.

5. Be an advocate for Social Justice

Be an advocate, supporting others and amplifying the voices of those with less agency than you. By being an advocate for social justice, you are enabling people to claim their human rights, meet their own needs and have greater control over the decision-making processes which affect their lives. It doesn’t matter where on the political spectrum you sit, by being a person who facilitates and enables those in our community who often don’t have significant political agency – this includes children, the elderly, the disabled, and the disenfranchised – you are making sure our communities are self-supporting.

A final word on building an empowered community

Contributing to the growth and strength of an empowered community doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it the work of one individual, business, community organization, or entity. It is a rather abstract, nebulous even, concept. The fruit, as they say, bears witness to the existence and power of an empowered community.

Download the Building an Empowered Community: Practical Tips e-book for more.

To learn more about Anna Blanch Rabe & Associates and our content creation services for law firms and social impact businesses, and how we serve the non-profit community through communications consulting, please contact us.