City Offers Community-Rooted Partners Development Course

colorful strands of yarn

The Department of Neighborhood Improvement Services (NIS) will host a series of FREE classes to educate community groups and organizations on the City of Durham’s contracting processes and to inform these organizations on how to become a formal Community-Rooted Partner for engaging Durham’s historically underserved neighborhoods and underrepresented communities.    

This course will provide simplified explanations, and equip community groups with tools so they are prepared to enter formal contracts with the City.  Community members and groups that complete this course will receive a certificate. Complete the short registration form via: if you or your community organization is interested in this opportunity.  NIS staff will contact you with more information. 

Registration will be open through Wednesday, September 23.  Classes will be held online once a week, beginning Thursday, September 24, and concluding on Thursday, October 29. Each class will be two hours long and include City and community speakers to cover these topic areas: 

  • How to respond to the City’s requests for proposals (RFPs);
  • The role of a Community-Rooted Partner; and
  • How to successfully navigate Community Engagement Consulting systems and processes as a community-rooted partner (Project Management and Storytelling).

Classes will be recorded for future reference. The NIS Community Engagement staff will also provide technical assistance, support, and guidance to course participants outside of these classes.   

If you have questions regarding registration or about this course, an informational session will be held on Thursday, September 17 from 4 pm to 6 pm via Zoom  *For more details on the City’s Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint, visit the NIS’ webpage or contact Equitable Community Engagement Strategist Laura Biediger with the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department by email at or by calling (919) 560-1647, ext. 34259. 


On August 6, 2018, City Council directed staff to “create an engagement plan that will allow the City to create a racial equity plan regarding the Belt Line.” This request was made in response to resident concerns about the equity of the engagement previously conducted for the Durham Belt Line Trail Master Plan. To guide this engagement plan and other future engagement efforts, the City’s Community Engagement Team began the development of this Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint.

During the 90-day period following the City Council directive, the Community Engagement Team met with community members and City staff to develop this Blueprint.  The process outlined in this document was refined and applied to create the Durham Belt Line Trail Equitable Engagement Plan. Portions of the Blueprint also informed the community engagement for the disposition of surplus property located at 103 S. Driver St.

The City consults with thousands of community members each year to gather feedback on multiple initiatives and projects. These efforts have informed and guided the development of numerous City initiatives, policies, and codes. It is essential that, as a community, the City can build on existing trust and address inequities at all levels. This Blueprint will expand on existing successes, and provide consistent, meaningful and equitable engagement opportunities.

The City is currently seeking community-rooted organizations to fund to conduct engagement in historically under-served communities and engage historically marginalized demographics.  See the RFP for additional information.  

Draft Documents are below. 

Draft Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint

Draft Belt Line Equitable Engagement Plan

Equitable Community Engagement Presentation

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