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Neighborhood Movement

Call for Presentations for Neighborhood Revitalization Conference 2014

The 2014 Neighborhood Revitalization Conference, to be held July 24-25 in Washington, DC, is now accepting workshop proposals. The Conference brings together stakeholders in comprehensive community building. In its fourth year, the conference will focus on the theme of leveraging federal, philanthropic and local investments to ensure success and sustainability. Senior administration officials, policymakers and others will provide updates on federal efforts, while thought leaders and practitioners will describe efforts in the field.
 
The conference will feature up to 20 workshops, lasting 90 minutes each. Areas of interest for workshop content include: Measuring that Matters, Frontiers of Knowledge, Engaging All Voices, Innovative Financing Approaches, and Partnering with Purpose. Other workshop content areas germane to the field of neighborhood revitalization will also be considered. Please see the full Call for Presentations to learn more about each focus area and to find out how to submit your workshop idea.
 
We are proud to announce that this year’s conference will feature a special skill-building component in the focus area of Engaging All Voices. These sessions will use an interactive, hands-on format to introduce practical tools and techniques, and will progress from beginner to intermediate to advanced levels of skill building. You are welcome to submit a workshop that fits in to this track.
 
The conference typically attracts approximately 350 participants that include nonprofit practitioners at all levels; academic and other thought leaders; government representatives from the local, regional, and federal levels; foundation representatives; and investors interested in the future of neighborhood revitalization work. All presentation ideas must be submitted by Friday, March 21.
 
We look forward to an exciting and informative conference full of diverse topics from presenters around the country! Send in your presentation ideas soon!

White House Announces Seven New SC2 Communities

Last week, the White House officially announced that seven new communities will participate in the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative. The seven communities to receive the SC2 designation this year are Brownsville, TX; Flint, MI; Gary, IN; Macon, GA; Rockford, IL; St. Louis, MO; and Rocky Mount, NC. SC2 is “an innovative and flexible program designed to strengthen local capacity, coordinate federal investments, and spark growth in economically distressed communities.” Cities participating in the initiative receive the assistance of federal inter-agency teams working alongside local government and organizations to address problems of persistent poverty.
 
The seven new cities will try to replicate the success seen in the first class of SC2 participants-- Chester, PA; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; and Youngstown, OH. Each of these seven pilot cities received help from a federal SC2 team beginning in 2012 to improve efficiency of services and better use hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding. Projects in SC2 cities focus on economic development, housing, transportation, public safety, and public health. SC2 is an integral piece of the Obama administration’s commitment to place-based neighborhood revitalization policy and creating “ladders of opportunity” for communities blighted by long-term poverty.
 
Ron Clewer, CEO of Alliance member organization the Rockford Housing Authority, expressed excitement about what the designation means for the people of Rockford: “Originally being placed on the list as a possible applicant comes with the challenge of recognizing your community's struggles and opportunities. Being named an SC2 City is a great opportunity for us (public and private leadership) to better align our organizations and programs for the greatest potential improvement for our community.”
 
A key feature of SC2 is creating strategic partnerships between private, non-profit, and government resources to find sustainable solutions tailored to the needs of a specific community. Every community is unique and there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to spur community and economic development. The administration is also committed to measuring the impacts of SC2 and other neighborhood revitalization initiatives. In April 2013, the White House released the first Annual Report on SC2. We encourage you to read the report on the first year of SC2, as well as project descriptions from the first class of SC2 designees and the newest class. This type of programming represents a new direction in federal policy and shows a welcome commitment to neighborhood revitalization at the Executive level.

Save the Date: 2014 Neighborhood Revitalization Conference July 23-25

We are pleased to announce that the 2014 Neighborhood Revitalization Conference is scheduled for July 23-25 in Washington, DC. This year’s Neighborhood Revitalization Conference, presented by the Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building at the Alliance for Children and Families, will be held at the Capital Hilton hotel.
 
Please continue to follow this blog as well as our website and social media for updated information on conference agendas, events, pricing, and hotel reservations. We hope that you will save the date and join us for the 2014 Neighborhood Revitalization Conference!

United Neighborhood Centers of America Finalizes Transformation

Effective January 1, 2014, the United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA) has merged its membership with that of the Alliance for Children and Families. Together, the memberships form a powerful network of approximately 500 private, non-profit human and community development organizations throughout the United States and Canada. The membership, staff, and partners of UNCA are proud to join forces with the Alliance. Each organization brings more than a century of experience and expertise to help their member organizations better serve more than 5 million neighbors annually.
 
UNCA was originally founded as a network of settlement houses and grew to represent the values of neighborhood building and community engagement nationally. Those values continue to serve an integral role in the Alliance’s vision of “a healthy society and strong communities for all children, adults, and families.” To continue to inculcate these values in the work of the Alliance’s non-profit network, the Alliance and UNCA have established the national Center on Engagement and Neighborhood Building.
 
This new Center amplifies the values of the settlement house movement and promotes organizational culture, policy, and practice elevating asset-based community development as an effective and sustainable method of building stronger, healthier, and more viable and resilient communities. The Center believes that “lasting solutions come from within,” and guides its work with the engagement values of comprehensive and interconnected human and community development, social justice, and reciprocity. Beginning in 2014, The Center will advocate for neighborhood building through:


  • Opportunity driven special projects,

  • Research, special publications, and media,

  • Public policy and advocacy,

  • Training, consultation, and technical assistance,

  • Conferences and special convening events,

  • Special leadership and change efforts,

  • And serving as a clearinghouse of effective practices.

 
Continue to follow this blog as well as alliance1.org, unca.org, and @UnitedNeighCtrs and @AllianceNews on Twitter for more information on The Center as their work begins to take shape throughout 2014. You are also welcome to contact staff if you have questions. The values of the settlement house movement have continued for decades because the work that they do and the resident-focused solutions that they seek continue to be relevant. The Alliance for Children and Families and the new Center on Engagement and Neighborhood Building are honored to be a part of this long history and rich future.

White House Announces Inaugural “Promise Zones”

Last week, coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, President Obama reiterated his long-standing commitment to neighborhood revitalization and community building by announcing the first five “Promise Zones.” Each community designated a Promise Zone will be targeted for comprehensive, interagency, cooperative assistance with projects aimed at fighting poverty and blight. Up to 20 Promise Zones will be designated in the next four years. The first five are: San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
 
The Promise Zones initiative grew out of the White House’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI), meant to encourage place-based policy development and interagency cooperation for the purpose of creating “Ladders of Opportunity” out of poverty for some of the country’s most-blighted communities. Through NRI, low income neighborhoods were targeted for community-based housing, education, and public safety projects that prioritized local needs and resident-centered decision making. NRI and Promise Zones both acknowledge that every community is unique and so needs individualized responses to fighting poverty.
 
Eligible applicants were limited in the first round of Promise Zone designations to existing NRI grantees, but the next round will be open to any community that meets the eligibility criteria. The application may be available as early as February, 2014. For more information about each of the five new Promise Zones, read below.
 
Los Angeles, CA (Neighborhoods of Pico Union, Westlake, Koreatown, Hollywood, and East Hollywood): Los Angeles’ Promise Zone will work toward increasing housing affordability, expanding their existing community schools model, improving career and technical education opportunities, improved public transit infrastructure, and charging local political leadership with improving efficiency.
 
We are pleased to announce that Alliance member agency the Youth Policy Institute is a lead partner in LA’s Promise Zone. Dixon Slingerland, Executive Director of the Youth Policy Institute, said of the announcement:
 
“It was an honor for me to join Mayor Eric Garcetti at the White House last week for President Obama’s historic announcement that Los Angeles had been designated as a Promise Zone, one of only three cities selected in the nation. YPI is proud to be the lead partner with the City in this effort and to be the only agency in the country to have been awarded all three White House signature neighborhood revitalization initiatives — Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation. YPI believes, as the President does, that a child’s zip code should never determine her destiny.”
 
San Antonio, TX (Eastside Neighborhood): San Antonio’s Promise Zone will focus on job creation and training, the establishment of high quality pre-K programs, improved college access and adult education initiatives, and improved public safety through better street lighting and demolishing abandoned buildings.
 
Philadelphia, PA (West Philadelphia): Philadelphia’s Promise Zone will focus on improved job skills training and adult education, small business development, building a supermarket in the West Philadelphia neighborhood to provide both jobs and better quality food, mentoring middle and high school youth for college readiness, and better community-based policing efforts.
 
Southeastern Kentucky (Kentucky Highlands): In the Kentucky Highlands, the Promise Zone will help to diversify the economy and make it more resilient by leveraging private sector funds to grow small businesses, training youth in entrepreneurship and leadership, and developing metrics to evaluate college and career readiness.
 
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma: The Choctaw Nation’s Promise Zone will focus on improved workforce training, investing in infrastructure, improving education through better data sharing, more parent supports, and early literacy initiatives, and pursuing economic diversification.

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by Dr. Radut