Hosted by Susan

Why do we love a place? Reflecting on this question provides a sense of what community development focuses on. In this interview, Elizabeth Druback-Celaya describes how community development seeks to understand the value of a place by seeing all the things that make it what it is. Being able to see, name and claim what is there creates the opportunity to lift up, celebrate and strengthen a place. And this matters to policy decisions and investments that impact people’s lives. Practicing community development with intentionality means being in relationship with people in community, uncovering what may have been hidden from view, and understanding why those things have been hidden, including the willingness to reckon with the reality that, when new solutions are needed, it may very well be because of past mistakes. As a person with wide ranging interests past and present, Elizabeth shares how she was guided to this field of work, what she’s satisfied to have been part of, and what she hopes will receive more attention. 

Elizabeth Druback-Celaya has twenty years of experience working in the community development field in the Hudson Valley and nationally. Her work is driven by an entrepreneurial mindset that thrives on innovation and testing new ideas, and a commitment to lifelong learning and exploration. She currently works with a national nonprofit organization advancing community development and affordable housing across the country. Prior to her current work, she was Director of Strategic Initiatives with Hudson River Housing, Inc., a nonprofit housing and community development organization based in Poughkeepsie, NY.