On Tuesday, March 28th, we lost a great leader and gained a star to watch over us.  Mel King passed away at the age of 94. For some of us, he was seen as the grandfather of Community Development. There is no greater leader than Mel King for our movement, from protecting displacement in the South End and organizing that led to the forming of Tent City, to working in coalition to define Community Development Corporations, Mel led with the voice of the community. He provided space for the community to participate in their future through organizing and building power. He created system change by forming agencies like CEDAC. He championed technology access and even contributed to culture by writing poetry. The Mel King Institute would not be here were it not for his vision, leadership, activism, and wisdom.


Community development leaders in Massachusetts formed the Mel King Institute in 2009 to ensure that the field stayed on the cutting edge of new information and had an entity to provide thought leadership. Its namesake, Mel King, is an important leader in the Commonwealth’s political activism and community organizing history.

In the mid to late 1970s, Mel led the effort to grow the emerging CDC field with financing and technical assistance. A believer in education, he also taught as a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and created its Community Fellows Program. Today Mel runs the South End Technology Center which he founded to improve community and youth access to technology. The Mel King Institute intends to keep this learning and growing alive.

Learn more about Mel and the origins of the Mel King Institute HERE


Watch Mayor Kim Janey dedicate the Melvin H. "Mel" King Square in the South End to our namesake.