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Letters of Support for CAN DO!, 
Empowerment Resource Centers, etc.

July 19, 1996

Mr. Gregory Milliken 
Executive Director

United Way of Delaware County     
500 North Walnut Street
Muncie, Indiana 47305

Dear Mr. Milliken:

It is my pleasure to introduce to you the person who introduced me to community economic development and the work of the 2,500 Community Development Corporations (CDC's) in America. Charles Betterton, President and CEO of CENTER SPACE, the Center for Spiritual, Personal and Community Empowerment, asked me to send you this letter of introduction. It is my understanding that Charles has been invited by Beth Quarles of Future Choices and Henry Fuse of the Muncie Housing Authority to help create a combination Community Economic Development Resource Center and Center for Successful Living in downtown Muncie. Because I have know Mr. Betterton for years and am familiar with his many talents and accomplishments, I am pleased to provide the following information for your consideration.

Charles is a community economic development specialist with many years of successful experience at the national, state and local levels. I met him in 1991 just after I had assumed the Executive Director position for the United Way of Kankakee County, Illinois. Charles had left his position as Executive Director of the City's Community and Economic Development Department to establish an Illinois Community Economic Development Association with grants from the National Congress for Community Economic Development. 

Charles also established the Kankakee County CDC and developed a proposal to convert a vacant National Guard Armory building into a Community Economic Development Resource Center. At his invitation, I agreed to serve on the CDC Board of Directors, and I had the opportunity to work closely on the project which won an award from the Governor's Hometown Award Program for successfully mobilizing community resources in ways that fostered community unity and expanded educational opportunities for low and moderate income residents. During the past few years under Charles' guidance and direction, hundreds of thousands of dollars from public and private sources were generated to renovate and equip the Center and to design and deliver the educational programs now proposed for the Muncie CED Resource Center, which include Successful Life and Work Skills Classes and Micro-Enterprise Development (self-employment training). 

During the three years I served in Kankakee, I had many opportunities to work with Charles on various projects. For example, Charles, the State's Attorney and I were the initiators of a series of Town Summit meetings based on the Making the Grade Model which were designed to mobilize the community to assess and address the issues impacting youth and their success in life. I also participated in the Strategic Planning for the City of Kankakee's application for HUD designation as an Enterprise Community. Charles had been hired by the city to direct the process which the Mayor credits with enabling it to obtain millions of dollars in subsequent funding. 

I also had an opportunity to participate in one of the motivational development training programs Charles produced for the community featuring Brian Tracy, one of the world's top trainers. Charles has also successfully produced similar events with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Les Brown and Jim Rohn. His expertise in producing these types of events in ways that mobilize the community, enable residents to access top training resources while generating and keeping the revenues for community benefit, led to the founding of Kankakee River Valley CAN DO! Through CENTER SPACE, Charles is now seeking ways to help other communities develop similar programs, and I am working with him and two groups here to implement a CAN DO program for Oneida County

At my suggestion, Charles was invited to serve as the facilitator of the :March 1996 Provider Conference hosted by the Human Development Program and United Way of Utica. As a result of his introducing a community development approach, the scope of the conference was significantly expanded to include client and business leader participation in the conference. The highly positive response to Charles' contributions, (as presented in Corn Hill Speaks newspaper) such as introducing participants to the Three Round Method of Brainstorming, was documented in the conference proceedings and evidenced in the fact that various committees have been formed to proceed toward the higher vision Charles helped the community evolve and commit to bringing forth.

 In fact, there are three groups presently working on proposals to bring Charles back to Utica to help maintain progress toward related projects. These include a group which is beginning to plan for the conversion of a former school building into a community resource center and the two groups interested in Charles' CAN DO program

Charles has a demonstrated ability to successfully direct the evolution of a vision or concept into manifestation of the vision into reality, and he has generated millions of dollars from private and public sources including helping the United Way of Kankakee County obtain funding for building chambers of commerce and for non-profit organizations. He conducted strategic planning for the Area Wide Human Development Program while he was in Utica this past March. As a result, the committee now has a clear vision of our desired future and a strategy for moving toward our vision, and we have identified the goals and objectives required to accomplish our mission. 

When I read through the recently published Summary Report on A Forum On Community Economic Development sponsored by the United Way of America, I became even more aware of the benefits I have received from knowing and working with Charles. The report on the October 1995 Forum which considered how both the values and principles of community economic development relate to United Way's mission, includes the conclusion that: "Unless United Way and the human-service system begin to address the underlying economic status of families and neighborhoods, human services will have limited impact on the lives of low-income individuals." 

Charles's vision of CENTER SPACE and a network of Centers for Successful Living that foster self-help, empowerment and capacity building could have a significant impact by helping foster individual, organization and community development and empowerment in ways that address the root causes of the many problems facing our communities and country today. 

I would be glad to offer any further information that might assist you in appreciating the potential advantages of having Charles' expertise available to your community through the proposed community economic development activities. Please feel free to call me or write if I may be of any further service.

Working in partnership to serve the community,


Susie  Brown President 








The CAN DO! Empowerment Resource Center is a joint venture of three affiliated non-profit organizations: Ultimate Destiny University, CENTER SPACE (The Center for Personal, Spiritual And Community Empowerment) and the Center for Conscious Sustainable Living.


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