MacArthur Fellows Program

Robert L. Woodson

Community Development Leader | Class of 1990

Community Development Leader
Washington, District of Columbia
53 at time of award
Published August 1, 1990

About Robert's Work

Robert Woodson is the founder and president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (NCNE).

Under his direction, NCNE has assisted neighborhood residents in organizing themselves to overcome such problems as inadequate housing, unemployment, crime, family conflicts, obstacles to small business development, and the influence of drugs on youth. NCNE is known for its success in empowering the poor to devise and implement their own solutions. Woodson is the author of many articles and several books, including The Triumphs of Joseph: How Community Healers are Reviving our Streets and Neighborhoods (1998), which describes the ability of community and faith-based programs to transform lives and revitalize blighted neighborhoods.


Prior to founding the NCNE in 1981, Woodson served as director of the Administration of Justice Division of the National Urban League (1971-73). He was director of the Neighborhood Revitalization Project (1973-76) and a fellow (1976-81) of the American Enterprise Institute. He also directed the Neighborhood Leadership Task Force on Grassroots Alternatives for Public Policy (1995), advising the 104th Congress on addressing issues of poverty in the United States.

Woodson received a B.S. (1962) from Cheyney State College and an M.S.W. (1965) from the University of Pennsylvania.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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