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My name is Xavier de Souza Briggs. I'm a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the creator of The Community Problem-Solving Project @ MIT. Our aim is to make this website an easy-to-use, visually interesting, and always evolving resource.

Where did this come from? I launched the Project while teaching at Harvard in September 2003, as The Art and Science of Community Problem-Solving, and the Project moved with me to MIT in January 2005. Much of the material, including the "strategy tools" you can print, use, and share, draws on several sources: my ongoing research on collective problem-solving in democratic societies; my advising or consulting ("helper") roles with organizations and projects far and wide; my firsthand work experience in government, business, and the nonprofit sector; and the special educational and training material I have developed at Harvard, MIT, and elsewhere to work with hundreds of practitioners--people working in every sector and in a wide array of roles to promote the public interest--in almost every corner of the globe. I thank them all for inspiring me to make this resource a product of both thinking and doing, reflecting and acting.

This project was made possible by financial support and endless helpful advice from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Harvard University's Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. I particularly want to thank Ralph Smith and Miriam Shark (Casey), Julia Lopez and Darren Walker (Rockefeller), and Mark Moore and Shawn Bohen (Hauser) for their vital encouragement.

Beyond the funders, I thank the Friends of the Project, including the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives for Children and Families, CIVICUS, Community Empowerment and Social Inclusion Project (World Bank Institute), National Civic League, National Community Building Network, National Congress for Community and Economic Development, and PolicyLink. Plus MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning, for graciously hosting me as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Fellow during the year in which the website and first set of strategy tools were completed--and for later inviting me back to make MIT a wonderful home base for this work.

The site was designed by CitySoft, a creative, Boston-based internet business with a deep commitment to cities and social change. Many thanks go to Nick Gleason, Kelby Mendes, and Kamali Thornell at CitySoft for a job well done and for their great patience with me.

Some of the photos on this website were shot by me--in Brazil, India, South Africa, and the U.S.--but others were taken by the very talented Carol Highsmith (in cities across the U.S.) and donated by the Casey Foundation. My thanks to both.

Finally, I am very grateful to the many practitioners, researchers, and educators who have given generously of their time and hard-won wisdom to improve the material here. On the back cover of each strategy tool, you'll see their names. So few ideas belong to any one person or group. They are born of the hours of toil and invention, of both "inspiration and perspiration," through which we can all learn, grow, and become more effective in the world.

In the words of Miró, "I am not content with a place to sleep. What I want is a thousand places to dream." We hope this site helps you dream, learn, and act in ways that really make a difference.

Xavier de Souza Briggs
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.