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Dick V. Cook Papers

Identifier: R0162-DVC

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Scope and Contents

This collection documents Richard “Dick” V. [Victor] Cook’s work in community organizing through his career as an organizer, consultant, and professor of social work. The collection contains personal papers and research files related to community organizing, citizen participation, the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war movement, and nonviolence.

This collection also contains his writings and manuscripts, research, collected materials, ephemera, teaching-related materials, and community organizing training materials and tools. Specific subjects and activities documented in this collection include local community organizing in neighborhoods of Baltimore during the 1970s; non-profit management and leadership; Cook’s international work on strengthening the non-profit sector including his trips to El Salvador, and training for Budapest, Hungary, and Bulgaria, and his work with Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies; fundraising, fundraising training, and workplace fundraising; community-university partnerships; building organizations capacity; peace & nonviolent conflict resolution; and community action programs. The collection also documents many of Cook’s manuscript writings and published works such as “Activists' Guide For Organizing An Alternative Fund” and “Ten Steps to Community Organization,” and “Fundraising at the Workplace” among others.

Also present are articles, collected ephemera, newspaper clippings, and published works related to the history of Baltimore neighborhoods in, and around, the Greater Homewood area, including neighborhoods such as Harwood, Hoes’ Heights, Charles Village, Remington, Waverly, and Hampden. Also present is a small amount of small-press pamphlets related to 1960s culture and social issues, and community organizing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Cook’s work in non-profit fundraising, and the development of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Eastern Europe is also documented in the collection. The collection contains a significant amount of documents and research related to Cook’s work as a non-profit consultant during the 1980s. The collection also contains materials related to rural organizing in West Virginia and Maine, as well as, AFSC, the Highlander Center, and the Yakima Valley Farmworkers Project.

This collection also contains materials related to Cook’s work as a professor of social work and sociology at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and his work as the Director of the Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS) program at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

The materials of this collection are mainly textual including research articles, pamphlets, ephemera, periodicals, newspaper clippings, manuscript drafts, course documents, and community organizing training and planning materials. Other digital and audio-visual formats present include audio cassette tapes, audio open-reel magnetic tapes, VHS tapes, CD-ROMs, and 3.5 inch floppy discs.


  • 1962-2016


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. This collection contains audiovisual and digital materials that may need further processing or special equipment to allow use.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that they own copyright, the donor has assigned the copyright of this collection to the University Foundation. However, copyright in some items in this collection may be held by their respective creators.

Biographical Note

Richard V. “Dick” Cook is a community organizer, non-profit grassroots consultant, and Professor of Social Work in Baltimore. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1964, and he earned his Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland in 1972. Cook was the Director of Social Work Community Outreach Service at University of Maryland School of Social Work from 1995 to 2013. He served as the director of the Greater Homewood Association in the 1970s.

While Cook was a student at UC, Berkeley, he became interested in community organizing and Civil Rights activism and participated in Sather Gate lunches and Freedom Rides. After college, Cook worked for the Alameda County Welfare Department as a General Assistance Caseworker. In the 1960s he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Venezuela. Later in the 1960s, he organized around hunger issues in rural Maine, and helped build a health center in the Yakima Valley for the United Farm Workers Co-op. At the end of the 1960s he became involved in anti-Vietnam activities. He also studied nonviolence and direct action at Quaker College in Birmingham, England, and under George Lakey at Woodbrooke College.

A long-time Baltimore resident, Cook was involved in organizing efforts in the Greater Homewood neighborhood. After he received his Masters in Social Work in 1972, Cook joined the Greater Homewood Community Corporation as its Executive Director. Under his leadership, Greater Homewood Community Corporation grew to serve fifteen Baltimore neighborhoods, providing a voice for over 45,000 Baltimore residents.

In the 1970s, Cook became a private consultant on issues surrounding grassroots organizing and citizens involvement. His work involved training for the VISTA program in several mid-atlantic states. He remained involved locally and worked on projects related to Baltimore’s water quality, and other local health issues.

In 1981, Cook founded and served as the first Executive Director of the Neighborhoods Institute, which provided training and support to over fifty other grassroots organizations.

Later in the 1980s, Cook helped found Community Share, an independent fundraising foundation for activist organizations. He also returned to private consulting for grassroots organizations. Clientele included Families USA Foundation, Hands Across America, National Abortion Rights Action League, Enterprise Foundation, Campaign for Human Development. He also completed fundraising studies for these organizations; the Corporation for American Indian Development, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

Cook served as a board member for these organizations: National Alliance for Choice in Giving, Community Share USA, Community Share Baltimore, and was a member of the National Society of Fundraising Executives, Maryland Chapter. In 1987, he received a Fundraising/Development Certificate from the Goucher Center for Continuing Studies.

Cook has taught at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work, Goucher College, and the Community College of Baltimore. From 1995 until his retirement in 2013 Cook was the Director of its Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS) program at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Cook has published articles in many journals and magazines such as the “International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy,” “Journal of Community Practice,” “Social Policy Magazine,” and others. He has written and contributed to a number of training guides and other publications, some of which include: “Guide to Volunteer Phonathons” (1995) and “They Might Say Yes: How to Fund Raise for Energy Assistance Dollars” (1994). He was a contributing author for two books: “Building Neighborhood Organizations” by James Cunningham and Milton Kotler (1982), and “Strengthening Volunteer Initiatives” by Libby Leonard, Bill Ariano and Ellen Ryan (1981).

Information for this Biographical Note came in part from materials in the collection.


28.88 Linear feet (30 containers)


Richard V. "Dick" Cook was a community organizer, non-profit consultant, professor and director of the Social Work Community Outreach Service at the University of Maryland School of Social Work from 1995-2013, and director of the Greater Homewood Association in Baltimore during the 1970s. This collection documents Cook's work in community organizing, teaching, and non-profits. It contains his writings and manuscripts, research, collected materials, ephemera, teaching-related materials, and community organizing training materials and tools.


Collection is arranged in two series:

  • Community Organizing Files
  • Audiovisual Materials
Each series includes a folder inventory reflecting the original arrangement of the collection. No further arrangement has been completed. Born digital materials including CD-ROMs and 3.5 inch floppy disks are housed separately from textual materials due to their formats.

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the University of Baltimore Foundation and transferred from Dick Cook to Aiden Faust on July 11, 2017. Three additional accessions of material were transferred from the donor between August and October 2017.


Item weeded from this collection includes: one issue of the "City Paper" Vol. 17 No. 12, March 19-March 25, 1993.

Related Materials

A related collection at Special Collections and Archives is the Betty Garman Robinson Papers.

The Special Collections department of the University of Maryland Baltimore County Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery holds newspaper archives including "City Paper" materials.

Separated Materials

The community organizing and related books donated as a part of this collection have been separated and housed with the Pullen Collection.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Caleb Paul in 2019.

Finding aid for the Dick V. Cook Papers
Finding aid prepared by Caleb Paul and Laura Bell (2019).
July 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Baltimore Studies Archives Repository

H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, Room 104
1415 Maryland Avenue
Baltimore Maryland 21201 USA