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NRC Feature: Successful Collaboration to Revitalize New Jersey

The following post was written by Kendall Reingold, summer intern for the Alliance for Children and Families Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building.  She is an undergraduate student assisting with the planning of the 2014 Neighborhood Revitalization Conference. Continue to check the Building Neighborhoods blog for more NRC Features ahead of the July Conference.
We’ve all heard the tragic story: Camden, New Jersey, a metropolis overrun with crime; the poster child of postindustrial decline; the most dangerous city in America.  A case hackneyed by partisan arguments about violence, welfare, and industry, it sadly has not seen much in the way of solutions-based discussion, let alone viable action.  Until now, that is.
This year, the Alliance’s Neighborhood Revitalization Conference will feature a workshop entitled “A Shared Approach: Communicating, Collaborating, and Coordinating to Revitalize New Jersey Neighborhoods.”  Facilitated by Lois W. Greco of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation and Community Development Corporation, Bradley Harrington of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Meishka Mitchell of the Coopers Ferry Partnership, and Staci Berger of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, the workshop demonstrates that it really is possible for residents, local stakeholders, corporations, and funders to work together toward a shared agenda.
The combination of public and private funding and the collaborative approach to revitalization implemented by these organizations have created physical, social and human capital programs, catalyzing measurable improvements in twenty six low-income New Jersey communities.  For instance, in the initiative’s Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit program, every dollar invested leveraged over seven dollars in additional resources toward jobs and affordable housing.  The cooperative public/private approach to uplifting New Jersey’s neighborhoods received the 2013 HUD Secretary’s Award for Philanthropic-Public Partnerships.
The workshop, held on July 24, the first day of the Neighborhood Revitalization Conference, will use the case study of Camden to discuss the real costs and benefits of such a large-scale effort and to demonstrate how other neighborhoods can implement similar public/private initiatives.
Early bird registration for the Neighborhood Revitalization Conference is available online until June 24.  For the latest details about the conference and these presenters, stay tuned on Twitter.  Follow the Alliance’s Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building and keep up with conference news using the hashtag #NRC14.  You can also follow panelist Staci Berger for updates on her continued work toward a better New Jersey.

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Blog | by Dr. Radut