Jim Diers has a passion for participatory democracy. Since moving to Seattle in 1976, he put that passion to work for an Alinsky-style community organization, a community development corporation, a community foundation, and Group Health Cooperative. He was appointed the first director of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods in 1988 where he served under three mayors over the next 14 years. Currently, Jim works for the University of Washington where he teaches courses in community organizing and development and connects university resources with community initiatives. As a member of the faculty for the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, Jim delivers speeches and conducts workshops throughout North America and beyond.
Jim received a BA and an honorary doctorate from Grinnell College. His work in the Department of Neighborhoods was recognized with an Innovations Award from the Kennedy School of Government, a Full Inclusion Award from the American Association on Mental Retardation, and the Public Employee of the Year Award from the Municipal League of King County. Jim’s book, Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way, is available through the University of Washington Press. More information can be found on Jim’s website: www.neighborpower.org.