Friday, March 27, 2015

Building Neighborhood Capacity Program Releases Formative Assessment Report with Lessons Learned from the Field

The Building Neighborhood Capacity Program (BNCP) seeks to catalyze community-driven change in neighborhoods that have historically faced barriers to revitalization. A key program of the federal Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, BNCP was launched in 2012 to provide resources and targeted technical assistance to eight neighborhoods in four cities – Flint, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; and Milwaukee, WI.

BNCP focuses on building community capacity: the knowledge, skills, relationships, processes and resources that neighborhood residents, local organizations and city-level partners need to work together to achieve better results. BNCP is funded by the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Justice and supported by technical assistance from the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

BNCP’s Federal Management Team and the Center for the Study of Social Policy are excited to release the Formative Assessment report, showcasing findings to contribute to the field’s knowledge about effective strategies for building neighborhood capacity. Written by Prudence Brown and Leila Fiester, the report covers BNCP’s original timeline from January 2012 to April 2014, as well as its six-month extension to October 2014.

Since that time, BNCP has been expanded, providing each city with two years of additional support to expand to a third neighborhood and develop a city-wide strategy to sustain revitalization efforts. The findings from the Formative Assessment are being used to inform and strengthen BNCP’s ongoing work in the initial eight neighborhoods, as well as the BNCP expansion process.

Check out the Formative Assessment on the Building Neighborhood Capacity Resource Center!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Forum for Youth Investment Annual Ready by 21 Meeting

From March 31 - April 2, the Forum for Youth Investment will be hosting its fourth annual Ready by 21 National Meeting. Ready by 21 is a set of strategies developed by the Forum to help communities improve the odds that all children and youth will be ready for success in college, career, and life. This convening will bring together in New Orleans up to 400 leaders from the local, state, and national levels who are committed to developing partnerships, policies, and practices to improve the lives of children and youth.

Sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including:
  • Advancing a Racial & Gender Equity Lens in Collective Impact Efforts
  • Statewide Afterschool Networks: Forging Partnerships and Policies for Afterschool & Summer Learning
  • Tackling Indicator Overload: How a Community Aligned its Dashboard, Mapping & School Systems to Aim for Better Outcomes
  • United We Stand: Building Effective Rural Community Partnerships that Endure
  • Supporting Opportunity Youth in Education Attainment & Workforce Development

For complete details about the agenda and information on how to register, please check out the Forum for Youth Investment's site here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Launches

The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice formed as a collective working to improve relationships and increase trust between minority communities and the criminal justice system. In September 2014,  the Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded a three-year grant to launch this initiative in efforts to advance public and scholarly understandings of these issues and develop interventions.

The initial interventions will be informed by ideas in  five pilot sites across the country. The five sites are Stockton, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Gary, Indiana; Fort Worth, Texas; and Birmingham, Alabama.Each pilot site will develop a detailed site-specific plan that will enhance:
  • Racial reconciliation facilitates frank conversations between minority communities and law enforcement that allow them to address historic tensions, grievances, and misconceptions between them and reset relationships. 
  • Procedural justice focuses on how the characteristics of law enforcement interactions with the public shape the public’s views of the police, their willingness to obey the law, and actual crime rates. 
  • Implicit bias focuses on how largely unconscious psychological processes can shape authorities’ actions and lead to racially disparate outcomes even where actual racism is not present. 
Additionally, the initiative will focus on interventions for victims of domestic violence and other crimes, youth and the LGBTQ community. Following initial research and evaluation of the five sites, the initiative plans to establish a national clearinghouse where information, research and technical assistance are readily accessible for law enforcement, criminal justice practitioners and community leaders.The initiative will be guided by a board of advisors which will include national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates. For resources and more information, visit the website.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Promise Neighborhoods Training and Technical Assistance Center

Promise Neighborhoods launched the Promise Neighborhoods Training and Technical Assistance Center, designed for Promise Neighborhoods grantees and any community that is interested in improving the cradle-to-career results for its children. The Promise Neighborhoods theory of change focuses on placing great schools at the center of neighborhood revitalization efforts. When effective family and community supports are combined with strong academic experiences that are targeted at the children and families who need them most, children are prepared for success in college and career and entire communities are strengthened.

The Center provides an overview of the Promise Neighborhoods program and the key components to develop a successful neighborhood. The website features research-based practical information, publications, links to other websites, training materials, data tools, news from grantee sites and other resources developed by the work with grantee sites and TA providers. Here are a few of the features you’ll find on this website:
  • Toolbox – Whether you’re trying to identify promising and effective solutions to make up your cradle-to-career pipeline, or create the conditions that will allow for their successful implementation and broader community change, we’ve got you covered. Check out the Toolbox for resources related to each of the Promise Neighborhood results as well as the conditions necessary to achieve them. You can also access archived presentations and slides from past Promise Neighborhoods webinars.
  • Information on Grantees – Wondering if there’s a Promise Neighborhood near you? Trying to connect with Promise Neighborhoods similar to your own? Visit the Grantees section of the site and use our “Grantee Map” or “Grantee List by State” to learn about work taking place in your region and across the country.
And here are some of the things you can look forward to in the near future:
  • Neighborhood Notes – Every quarter, the Promise Neighborhoods Training and Technical Assistance Center will publish “Neighborhood Notes,” a newsletter highlighting new resources of interest to Promise Neighborhood communities, stories from the field, and announcements related to upcoming events.
  • Blog Posts – Keep an eye out for future blog posts highlighting new and featured resources, as well as original content, such as interviews with and insights from Promise Neighborhoods leaders and partners.
Technical assistance providers includes the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), Urban Institute, Results Leadership Group and Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink. CSSP is contracted by the U.S. Department of Education to provide a range of TA and training to the current cohort of Promise Neighborhoods grantees to help them build the capacity they need to successfully plan and implement their cradle-to-career strategies. In addition to PNI, CSSP partners with Synergy Enterprises Inc. to deliver TA to grantees. Stay tuned for future updates and check out the website here.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Othering & Belonging Conference: A National Conference to Promote an Inclusive Society

To make the community-lead changes to improve a community can require altering the structures, processes and narratives to create an environment that represents the diverse voices of community members. This involves navigating the social, political and economic shifts that occur in the neighborhood as well as larger society that often result in the marginalization, or "othering", of different social groups.

The Othering & Belonging Conference, organized by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley, seeks to bring together scholars, researchers, advocates, and organizers to examine the issue of Othering, a set of processes that engender marginality across any of the full range of human differences, such as race, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, statehood, ethnicity, ability/disability, sexual orientation, and more.The conference will feature a multi-disciplinary, intersectional examination of the forms of othering in order to craft transformative solutions that promote belonging. The goal of the conference is to discern possibilities and develop practices for generating more inclusive structures, narratives, and identities that prohibit Othering and promote belonging.

"Belonging or being fully human means more than having access. It means having a meaningful voice, and being afforded the opportunity to participate in the design of social and cultural structures. Belonging entails being respected at a basic level that includes the right to both contribute and make demands upon society and political institutions."

Conference speakers include
  • Luis Garden Acosta
  • Guillermo Gómez-Peña 
  • bell hooks
  • Naomi Klein
  • Joanna Macy
  • Lynn Manning
  • Manuel Pastor
  • Ai-jen Poo
  • john a. powell
  • Andrew Solomon
The conference will take place in Oakland, CA from April 24-April 26. To learn more, volunteer and register, visit the website.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Healthy Food Access Portal Hosts Virtual Training on Community Mapping Tool

Healthy Food Access Portal hosts a virtual training on Research Your Community, a new mapping tool to help communities and organizations understand the landscape of food accessibility in a given area.The Healthy Food Access Portal harnesses a vast array of data and information to support the successful planning and implementation of policies, programs, and projects to improve access to healthy foods in low-income and communities of color. The Portal is designed to help people access resources related to healthy food access policy efforts, funding opportunities, and successful retail strategies.

The tool helps communities identify the changes that can improve food accessibility and serve as  a valuable resource for advocacy and fundraising efforts. The grocery landscape is ever changing, and data is one of many ways to paint a picture of a community’s need for healthy food access interventions. This webinar will train users about how to effectively leverage this new tool.

Powered by PolicyMap, this tool allows users to access 60 data indicators. Topics include:
  • Demographics, including income and SNAP participation; 
  • The food environment, including locations of supermarkets and farmers markets; 
  • Health indicators, such as fruit and vegetable consumption and 
  • Eligibility data for federal funding programs, such as the New Markets Tax Credit program.
The virtual training will take place March 10, 2015,  2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (ET). Register here to learn how to use this tool.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program FY 2015 Grant Announced

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) invites eligible entities to apply for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (BCJI) FY 2015 competitive grant, a program to plan and implement place-based, community-oriented strategies to address targeted crime issues within a neighborhood as a part of a broader neighborhood revitalization initiative. BCJI builds the capacity of local and tribal communities to identify and address significant crime issues through collaborative cross-sector approaches that help advance broader neighborhood development goals.

Neighborhood revitalization requires working on multiple areas, including public safety, health, education, housing and economic development to effectively transform the community. As such, applicants should develop a plan to coordinate BCJI with other existing neighborhood revitalization efforts—such as Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, Community Health Center grants, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) funds, or a Promise Zone’s designation—where possible.

Eligible entities to serve as fiscal agent include states, units of local governments, non-profit organizations (including tribal non-profit organizations), and federally recognized Indian tribal governments as determined by the Secretary of the Interior.

BJA solicits applications in two categories:

1) Planning: Under Category 1, BJA estimates that it will make up to 15 awards of up to $175,000 each for up to an 18-month project period, beginning on October 1, 2015.

2) Implementation: Under Category 2, BJA estimates that it will make up to 3 awards of up $1,000,000 for up to a 36-month project period, beginning on October 1, 2015.

To learn more, follow this link. Applicants must register with prior to submitting an application. All applications are due to be submitted and in receipt of a successful validation message in by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 20, 2015.