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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

January 7, 2015


If You Want To Build Strong Communities, Stop Talking About Diversity

By Natalie Clay, Community Development and Diversity and Inclusion Professional

As I reflect on 2014, it's hard to focus on much more than the unrest in the region. Many people have enumerated a long list of causes that lead up to the protests and upset - lack of jobs, struggling schools, housing segregation. The cause I observed was diversity without inclusion.

While the two concepts are often used as synonyms, they are very different. Diversity describes our differences; inclusion is the process of the differences working together. What I observed - and continue to observe - are diverse neighborhoods filled with different types of people who do not feel included in the processes of their local government, community organizations, and neighborhoods.

To read the full article, click here.

We invite readers to contribute to the civic conversation about community development in St. Louis by writing an op-ed for the Community Builders Exchange. Op-eds should be short (400-700 words) and provocative. If you have an idea for an op-ed, contact Todd Swanstrom at

 2015 Community Builders Network Awards Reception
The Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis is excited to host its third annual awards reception on March 19th at Cortex. This awards reception aims to recognize leaders and organizations who display excellence in impacting community building and neighborhood revitalization in the region. Rise collaborative grant awardees will also be recognized. Please join us for an evening of networking, food, fun, celebration, and recognition of the hard work and dedication of community development practitioners in multiple sectors throughout the region. For registration information, click here.

Nomination Forms Available For CBN Awards Reception 
On March 19, CBN will recognize individuals, organizations, companies, and institutions that help make St. Louis a better place to live at the 3rd Annual CBN Awards Reception. If you know of someone deserving recognition, fill out one of the nominating forms. Last day to submit a nomination form is January 16. To see the forms and for more information, click here.

Sponsorship Available for the 2015 CBN Annual Awards Reception
Sponsorship levels are available for the 2015 CBN Annual Awards Reception. If you or your organization are interested in becoming a sponsor for this event, please take a look at our sponsorship levels found here. Thank you for your consideration, and we hope to see you at the event.

Stenger looks to create Office of Community Empowerment
St. Louis County Executive Stenger reiterates his commitment to creating an Office of Community Empowerment to assist areas of St. Louis County in community revitalization. To read the full article, click here

After Overwhelming Year In Ferguson, The Beleaguered City Looks to 2015
The protests and unrest in Ferguson in 2014 shed light on a variety of issues affecting the St. Louis community. This article by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discusses some of the efforts that hope to overcome those challenges, including the Ferguson Commission. To read the full article, click here.

A Challenging Year for the St. Louis Economy
In this article by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, columnist David Nicklaus discusses how economic success in St. Louis needs to be redefined to account for job growth and inclusion. Several organizations, like the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, are already working to make St. Louis more economically inclusive, but more needs to be done. To read the full column, click here.

Greater St. Louis Community Foundation Redirects Funding Priorities
This article by the St. Louis Business Journal reports that the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation is redirecting the priorities of its St. Louis Gives fund to support projects related to neighborhood collaboration, job training, and community and economic development. To read more of this article, click here.

Effort to Spruce Up West Florissant Avenue Moves Forward
The stretch of West Florissant Avenue between I-270 and the Buzz Westfall Shopping Center will soon see some major improvements such as new sidewalks and bike lanes. East-West Gateway helped facilitate the project, which is being called the "West Florissant Avenue Great Streets" project. To read more about this new development, click here.

#FergusonRebuild Campaign Launched
The #FergusonRebuild Campaign recently launched as a fundraiser to support the Reinvest North County Fund. So far, donors including Missouri Secretary of State, Jason Kander, World Wide Technology, and Urban League president, Mike McMillan, have raised $55,000 in this effort to support the small businesses affected by recent unrest. To read more about this campaign, click here.

National Housing Trust Fund to be Funded
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced in December that the suspension on mandatory funding of the Housing Trust Fund will be lifted. Enterprise Community Partners estimate that between $400 and $500 million will be put into the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnate Fund each year by Fannie and Freddie Mac. To read about the funds, click here. To see projected state allocations for every $5 billion invested in the Housing Trust Fund, click here


Linking Research and Practice: Equitable Economic Growth and Sustainable Water Infrastructure
St. Louis University's Center for Sustainability is hosting this seminar on January 23. The goal of this seminar is to increase and strengthen collaboration and communication among groups that try to foster sustainable communities. To register and for more information, click here.

People and Places Conference
This conference calls practitioners from across the country to come together for a one-time conference in Washington D.C. to share and learn what is working in neighborhood revitalization, build skills, and raise the importance of community development with a common voice. For more information and to register, click here. To submit a presentation, click here (due January 9).  


Stock Healthy Shop Healthy
The University of Missouri Extension has created this online resource for programs that work to improve community access to healthy and affordable foods. Their online resource also includes several recorded webinar sessions on strategies for community organizations. To see this online resource, click here.




The St. Louis Community Builders Exchange is a partnership between the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, the St. Louis Home Repair Network, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to bring you quality up-to-date community development information. Look for the St. Louis Community Builders Exchange every other Wednesday morning!

Livability Solutions: Free Technical Assistance
The Project for Public Spaces, through support from the Environmental Protection Agency, is offering free technical assistance for organizations who are working to make their community more livable. The deadline to apply is January 9. For more information, click here.

Partners for Places Round 6
The Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities is offering this grant for projects that promote and encourage the creation of vibrant and prosperous urban areas.  Grant applications are due January 28. For more information, click here.

Sustainable Environments Program
The Surdna Foudnation is offering funding for organizations that improve and create sustainable infrastructure in underserved communities. The foundation is offering grants in four categories: Sustainable Transportation Networks and Equitable Development Patterns, Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment, Urban Water Management, and Regional Food Supply. For more information about these grants, click here.

Administrative Assistant
Skinker Debaliviere Community Council is seeking a part-time administrative assistant to provide organizational support for the Executive Director. For more information on this position, click here.

President and Executive Director
Lemay Development Corporation is seeking a new President and Executive Director who can run and implement economic development projects in the Lemay area of South St. Louis County. For more information on this position, click here.

Lost In Place: Why The Persistence And Spread of Concentrated Poverty-Not Gentrification-Is Our Biggest Urban Challenge
In spite of heightened attention given to problems of gentrification, this report argues that the real challenge for American cities is the growing concentration of the poor. Using poverty statistics from the past 45 years, this report shows that poor communities largely remain poor over time. This problem persists because of community instability, extreme population loss, segregation, and the general lack of 'rebound' neighborhoods. To read the full report, click here.

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