Jim Diers has a passion for getting people engaged with their communities and in the decisions that affect their lives. Since moving to Seattle in 1976, he put that passion to work for a direct-action neighborhood association, a community development corporation, a community foundation, and the nation's largest health care 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 teaches courses in community organizing and development at the University of Washington and serves on the faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute. He travels internationally to deliver speeches, present workshops, and provide technical assistance to community associations, non-profit organizations, and government.
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 Developmental Disabilities, 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 in both English and Chinese editions.
Jim was the Pied Piper for the Seattle neighborhood movement which built a national and international reputation for its new approach to planning, giving real meaning to the slogan "Power to the People."
— Paul Schell, Former Mayor of Seattle
Jim was an innovator in bringing communities together and made a significant contribution to the foundation that makes Seattle special. His work with neighborhoods is passionate and progressive.
— Ed Murray, Mayor of Seattle
Few people in this country know as much about community building as Jim Diers.
— Fred Kent, President, Project for Public Spaces