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Keeping Community at the Center

A Conversation with Shannon Smith Jones

Shannon Smith Jones has more than a decade of experience in community development, housing justice, and community engagement. Today, she’s the Executive Director of Hope Community. She’s also Chanda’s sister. Chanda and Shannon got together to discuss what it’s like to lead during COVID-19, the complexities and ripple effects of the pandemic, and how foundations should be using their power right now.

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About Our Guest

Shannon Smith Jones

Shannon Smith Jones is a visionary and strategic leader with a passion for valuing and dignifying the work of community members. Shannon serves as the Executive Director of Hope Community, a cutting-edge organization that values housing as a stabilizing force in community and demonstrated the value of community engagement long before it was an established practice in the field. She came to Hope Community with personal experience of how the model works, having been a former resident in Hope housing and a recipient of the organization’s SPEAC organizing and leadership training.

Shannon has more than 15 years of experience in community development, affordable housing development, community engagement, and housing justice. With her deep commitment to community voice and asset-based frameworks, she has quickly become a national leader in the anti-displacement field.

Before joining the Hope staff, Shannon worked at Urban Homeworks, establishing the housing organization’s earliest community engagement strategies. She serves on the board of directors of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Project for Pride and Living, and formerly served on the board of the Cleveland Neighborhood. She is an adjunct professor on neighborhood revitalization at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs.