The Center for Neighborhood Enterprise was founded by Robert L. Woodson, Sr., in 1981 to help residents of low-income neighborhoods address the problems of their communities. Originally known as the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, the name was streamlined in February, 2006, to Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.
CNE has headquarters in Washington, DC, but operates throughout the nation to help community and faith-based organizations with training, technical assistance, and linkages to sources of support. The Center chronicles and interprets their experiences to make recommendations for public policy and works to remove barriers that hamper their efforts to solve societal problems. CNE has provided training to more than 2600 leaders of grassroots organizations in 39 states.
The Center’s mission is to transform lives, schools, and troubled neighborhoods, from the inside out. Current programs are the Violence-Free Zone youth violence reduction program; Training and Technical Assistance for Community-Based Organizations; and Adult Financial Literacy.
The principles on which CNE was founded are:
1) Low-income individuals and neighborhood-based organizations should play a central role in the design and implementation of programs to address the problems of their communities;
2) An effective approach to societal problems must be driven by the same principles that function in the market economy, recognizing the importance of competition, entrepreneurship, cost efficiency, and an expectation of return on investment; and
3) Value-generating and faith-based initiatives are uniquely qualified to address problems of poverty that are related to behavior and life choices.