Built out of the organizing structure of churches, unions and block associations, CDCs were envisioned as a way for citizens to have direct control over their neighborhoods while leveraging the tools of government and business. Since 1967, the first CDC, now called the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, has constructed or renovated 2,200 housing units and helped bring more than $475 million in investments to central Brooklyn. Meanwhile, the East Los Angeles Community Union formed in 1968 and was also funded through the Kennedy-Javits legislation. It is now the largest CDC in the country: It builds homes, operates a family of businesses and supports college education for Latino students. Another original CDC, the Mississippi Action for Community Education, was led by a founding team of civil rights activists, including Fannie Lou Hamer, to develop affordable housing for Delta citizens.
Once the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development started providing incentives, CDCs