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Getting Smart Podcast

Apr 8, 2020

Join the Getting Smart team today as they explore community development with community expert, Lia McIntosh!


Lia McIntosh is a marketer, organizer, pastor, and most recently, a grant-maker. She leads the Education Fellows Program at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. The program’s goal is cultivating community leaders who are advocates for education. It’s a nine-month opportunity for 37 civic and faith leaders to learn and travel together.


In the last year, the Getting Smart team has had the opportunity to plan and facilitate several site visits with Ed Fellows and Lia. During this, they visited a remarkable corporation where they learned all about the ‘Lawndale miracle’ the transformation of a low-income community in West Chicago. It’s a great story of patient and persistent community development sparked by Wayne ‘Coach’ Gordon and the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation (LCDC). When Tom and Lia visited Coach in Lawndale they were fortunate enough to see what he’s building with the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). And in today’s podcast, you’ll hear snippets from Coach himself from that visit!


Be sure to tune in to hear all of Lia and Coach’s invaluable insights on community development!


Key Takeaways:

[:10] About today’s episode!

[1:14] Tom welcomes Lia McIntosh to the podcast.

[1:21] Did Lia grow up in Missouri?

[1:29] Why did Lia decide to study business?

[2:04] Did Lia grow up Methodist?

[2:17] How did Lia get an internship at Procter & Gamble?

[3:33] Lia shares how her internship led to a job opportunity after college.

[3:47] Did Lia enjoy her time at P&G? What did the experience teach her?

[4:28] Why did Lia choose to go to a seminary?

[6:06] Did Lia find that this experience was well-aligned with her personal values?

[7:24] Lia shares her perspective on what it is like to lead a church.

[9:08] Wayne ‘Coach’ Gordon speaks about CCDA and community development.

[9:53] Tom and Lia continue their discussion.

[10:20] Would Lia agree with the idea that you’re always “on” as a community leader?

[11:18] After a decade of serving several congregations, Lia decided to join the Kauffman Foundation. What originally drew her to the foundation?

[13:02] Does Lia feel that all of her prior experience has really prepared her for her role at Kauffman? And how would she describe the work that they do at Kauffman?

[14:29] Lia explains what the Education Fellows Program at the Kauffman Foundation is all about!

[16:49] How many Ed Fellows are there this year? And when does the program start and wrap up?

[17:15] Lia details what the Ed Fellows Program looks like and what they’re advocating for.

[18:22] Is the fellowship model scalable?

[18:55] Tom speaks about the schools he, Lia, and a group of Ed Fellows have visited together.

[20:01] Lia gives an overview of what she saw at Lawndale.

[21:21] Jessica shares an important resource: Getting Through on

[22:03] Tom provides some background about Lawndale and Lia gives her reflections.

[23:08] Lia gives her thoughts on one of the themes Coach talked about during their trip: loving in a holistic way.

[24:39] Tom speaks about Lawndale’s pastors’ commitment to community.

[25:34] Lia talks about another important theme in Lawndale’s community: empowerment.

[27:27] The role ownership played in Lawndale’s success.

[28:18] Coach shares his story of moving to Lawndale in 1975 and why he also believes in the importance of committing to place.

[29:56] Tom and Lia continue their discussion on the themes of ownership, empowerment, and commitment to place at Lawndale.

[31:15] Coach provides his thoughts on community.

[31:49] Tom and Lia discuss the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) Conference and why it is of importance to the Kauffman Foundation.

[34:02] Would Lia say that they are listening to community and being responsive to the needs of community in the Education Fellowship’s approach?

[35:20] Lia gives advice to other foundations that are trying to approach community development in a thoughtful way.

[36:44] Lia gives her closing thoughts on the importance of community during times of crisis.

[39:12] Tom thanks Lia for her community-building work and for joining the Getting Smart podcast!

[39:52] Jessica closes out the podcast by thanking Lia once again and thanking listeners for tuning in.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

The Kauffman Fellows Program

Lia McIntosh

Lawndale Christian Development Corporation

Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)

Wayne Coach Gordon


LEAP Innovations


Cristo Rey Network

William Julius Wilson


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