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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

September 28, 2016


St. Louis Needs More Cross-Community Conversation

By Kevin McKinney, Executive Director of the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO)

Could the contention and turmoil that surfaced as a result of Ferguson locally and in cities like Cincinnati and Dallas nationally result in opportunities to bridge the racial divide? In order to move forward and build a stronger community, I believe it is imperative that we learn to appreciate each other regardless of zip code.

Many have addressed the problems we have hearing and understanding each other across the St. Louis region’s many boundaries. St. Louis is highly segregated along race lines and fragmented in its sense of community identity. These barriers limit our access to common frameworks that might otherwise help us relate to each other and talk across community borders.

I believe a new program from the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO), Neighborhoods United for Change, can help bridge these divides. SLACO has partnered with CREA (the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency of the City of St. Louis) and the City’s Neighborhood Stabilization Team to build a robust platform for discussing racial and social equity. Doug Bram, winner of the “250 Ways to Improve Your Neighborhood” contest (as voted by participants in the 2014 SLACO Regional Neighborhood Conference) originated this idea before it was advanced by then-Executive Director of SLACO, Nancy Thompson. SLACO has a history of inclusiveness—we specialize in providing opportunities for neighborhoods to learn from and network with each other to create a desirable urban environment.  SLACO’s 30 member neighborhoods represent over 33 percent of the City’s population.

To read more of this week's op-ed, 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
Happy Fifth Birthday, Community Builders Network!
CBN turns five years old tomorrow, Thursday, September 29th. Since 2011, CBN has grown to encompass 66 members that include community development nonprofits, lenders, foundations, and public sector departments. Each year members bring their voices together to create and shape organizational and civic capacity building, public awareness initiatives, and local and regional policy changes. They help CBN build awareness that place matters for life outcomes and that the community building field is actively working to make our region a better place. This journey would not have been possible without the support of our members, sponsors, staff, and the wide range of stakeholders with whom CBN has built relationships over the past five years. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but CBN is looking forward to the future. Thank you!

Community Development Administration Releases 2017 CDBG and HOME Funding Recommendations
The St. Louis Community Development Administration (CDA) has released funding recommendations for its 2017 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) funding cycle. CDA received CDBG Proposals for roughly 70 activities from 52 area nonprofit organizations in August. Recommendations will be presented to the Board of Aldermen and Board of Estimate and Apportionment for approval. CDA will share updates and take comments on the 2017 Annual Action Plan at a public hearing scheduled for 5:30 pm on October 27th. Click here for more information.

Urban Revitalization in Industrial Cities: Comparing St. Louis to Dortmund, Germany
Visiting scholar Dr. Jörg Plöger, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Urban and Regional Development in Dortmund, Germany, joined Dr. Todd Swanstrom of UMSL and Sandra Moore of Urban Strategies on St. Louis on the Air last week to discuss how St. Louis and Dortmund might compare and share urban revitalization strategies. They later joined Don Roe of St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency and Bob Lewis of Development Strategies on September 21st to address the same topic at a presentation and panel discussion hosted by Creating Whole Communities, Development Strategies, and the Public Policy Research Center. Click here for the radio broadcast and here to view slides from the event.

Calling All Local Restaurateurs: Crown Square Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition
Rise Community Development, the philanthropic division of Equifax, Inc., and the University of Missouri Extension Small Business Technology and Development Center are hosting a competition to win two rent-free years in an almost fully-equipped restaurant space across the corner from Crown Candy Kitchen in Crown Square. Host organizations hope that the restaurant will spur neighborhood employment and more new business development nearby. They envision a community-friendly lunch spot that also offers catering, noting that the NGA West campus will bring new workers to the area around lunchtime. Click here to read the full story.

24:1 Community Earns Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize
The 24:1 Community in North St. Louis County was one of the just seven communities nationwide selected for this year's Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize, which recognizes communities doing outstanding work to promote and prioritize health and wellness for everyone. 24:1 represents the 24 municipalities that touch the Normandy School District and their one vision for "strong communities, engaged families, and successful children." Their collaborative efforts are thanks to the hard work of many local residents, officials, and organizations, including Beyond Housing. Click here for more information about the award and here to read about the 24:1 Community's initiatives surrounding health, education, housing, and economic development.

TheBANK of Edwardsville Receives 2016 Community Commitment Award from the ABA Foundation
TheBANK of Edwardsville was one of six banks chosen nationwide to receive a 2016 Community Commitment Award from the American Bankers Association (ABA) Foundation. TheBANK is being honored in the Nontraditional Borrower and Underbanked category for work in its Fairmont City branch, which serves the local Hispanic population as St. Louis's first full-service bilingual banking center. Click here for the full story and here to read more about the award.

Riverview Gardens High School To Receive Monsanto School of Excellence Award
Riverview Gardens High School will receive the Monsanto School of Excellence Award at the St. Louis American Foundation's Salute to Excellence in Education Gala this Saturday, October 1st. The Riverview Gardens School District has tripled its state assessment scores since 2013, and high school graduation rates have risen from 69 percent to 85 percent. Students credit success to the hard work and "relentless effort" of district administrators and staff. Riverview Gardens hopes to see its accreditation status updated at December's Missouri State Board of Education meeting. Read more here.

New Analysis Finds 8 out of 10 Homebuyers in St. Louis County got a Tax Break in 2014
After reviewing assessment records, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week that of the 10,171 homes sold in St. Louis County during 2014, 8,137 appraised in 2015 for taxes below the selling price. Critics argue this could be problematic because actual sale prices drive up the selling prices of other area homes, even if appraisals come back lower. The County Assessor's Office counters that appraisal calculations are complex, acknowledging that assessors err on the side of caution by aiming low rather than high. Click here to read the full story.


What's Brewing? Opportunity Neighborhood Series: Pagedale
Creating Whole Communities will host the first seminar in its What's Brewing? Opportunity Neighborhood Series on October 13th from 7:30-9:00 am at Rosie Shields Manor in Pagedale. This series explores the gaps between communities and the opportunities they represent. Speakers and panelists include Dr. Todd Swanstrom of UMSL, Chris Krehmeyer of Beyond Housing, and Andrea Riganti of University City. Click here to learn more.

Vacant Property Summit
Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, SLU School of Law Legal Clinics, SLACO, and Thompson Coburn LLP are sponsoring a Vacant Properties Summit on Thursday, October 20th from 8:00 am-1:45 pm. The seminar will discuss legal tools for generating renewal of privately-owned vacant properties, with a special focus on a case study that shows how lawyers, neighborhoods, and other partners can work together strategically. Click here for details and to register.

Network for Strong Communities Momentum Conference
The Network for Strong Communities is hosting the first-ever Momentum Conference October 17th-18th in Westport. This multi-state event features presentations, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities that aim to help nonprofits, funders, volunteers, and community leaders and stakeholders build their capacity for collaboration and community work. Click here for more information.

SLACO Regional Neighborhood Conference
Save the date for the 21st annual Regional Neighborhoods Conference from the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO)! This year's conference will be held on Saturday, October 29th from 7:30 am until 5:30 pm at Harris-Stowe State University. The conference theme is "Neighborhoods for Everyone." Click here to learn more and here to register.

How Housing Matters Conference
The National Housing Conference, the Urban Institute, HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research, and the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing are hosting the How Housing Matters Conference on December 13th in Washington, D.C. The conference seeks to discuss how housing can help promote positive health, education, and economic opportunity outcomes and invites practitioners from different sectors to participate. For more information, click here.

People & Places Conference: Spring 2017
Save the date for the People & Places Conference next spring! The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA), in partnership with several other organizations, is hosting a peer-learning conference for community development practitioners next May 31st through June 2nd in Arlington, Virginia.


SLACO Sustainable Neighborhoods Program
Registration is open for the Sustainable Neighborhoods Program fall 2016 seminars from the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO). This series of four free seminars is offered at rotating locations in North and South St. Louis and covers various topics that encourage attendees to rethink the future of their neighborhoods. Sessions run through October 12th. Click here to learn more and register.

Hot Legal Topics for HR Professionals in Nonprofit Organizations
On October 13th, UMSL's Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program is hosting a class on emerging legal "hot topics" in human resources, including discrimination claims, social media in hiring and firing, and issues with employee classification. Attendees will learn how to comply with legal requirements and avoid liability for their organizations. Click here to register.  

Chancellor's Certificate in Planning and Zoning from UMSL
Registration is now open for UMSL's 2016 Chancellor's Certificate in Planning and Zoning courses, which run on Wednesday evenings from October 19th through December 7th. Modules are taught by senior planning professionals and cover planning practices, processes, and topics that are central to local government success. Click here for more information and here to register.

Asset Management Training from the Brown School of Social Work, NeighborWorks America
This three-course certificate program, Affordable Housing and Mixed Income Community Management, prepares professionals with key skills and knowledge to successfully manage property and services, maximize performance, and strategize sustainable growth. Courses can be taken as stand-alone opportunities or in pursuit of NeighborWorks America's "Asset Management Specialist" designation. Click here for details.


September 30
Forest Park Station Placemaking Transit Stop Walk Audit

October 1
Grove Fest 2016

October 1 - 2
Historic Shaw Art Fair

October 7
Dutchtown South Community Corporation Animate Your Park Celebration

October 8
Trojan Park Grand Opening

October 14
Delmar Station Placemaking Transit Stop Walk Audit

October 15
Central West End Pour & Pair Event

October 25
Cornerstone Corporation Information Party



The Community Builders Exchange would like to highlight a map relevant to community development in each issue. Please let us know if you have a map that would be of interest to our readers.

This week, we are sharing maps that look at jobs per capita in the St. Louis region. To view this week's map, click here. To view maps from previous editions of the Community Builders Exchange, click here


The St. Louis Community Builders Exchange is put out by the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, with the support of the Des Lee Collaborative Vision at UMSL, to bring you quality up-to-date community development information, analysis, and opinion.

Rise 2017 CDC Capacity Building and Collaborative Grant program
Rise Community Development (Rise) is underway with its 2017 CDC Capacity Building and Collaborative Grant Program application funding cycle. On October 12th, Rise will hold a grant workshop for St. Louis area community development corporations (CDCs) that serve St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis, and/or Madison or St. Clair Counties in Illinois and are seeking to apply for a 2017 Rise Collaborative Grant. It is not required, but strongly encouraged, that eligible CDCs from these jurisdictions attend the workshop. Click here for more information.

Lodestar Foundation 2017 Collaboration Prize
The Lodestar Foundation is accepting applications for its 2017 Collaboration Prize from October 3rd through November 16th. The award seeks to recognize effective, impactful examples of permanent collaboration among nonprofit organizations, community foundations, government entities, and/or public agencies in response to challenges or opportunities. One grand prize winner will receive $150,000, with $10,000 awarded to eight finalists. Click here for more information.

Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund
The Spirit of St. Louis (SOS) Women's Fund, a collective giving and grantmaking organization and a component fund of the St. Louis Community Foundation, opened its 2016-2017 grant cycle on September 1st. SOS grants will be made to 501(c)(3) organizations focused on arts and culture, education, environment, health, and/or social services and are not restricted to initiatives focused on women. Letters of interest are due September 30th. Click here to learn more.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health Prize awards up to $25,000 to local communities in recognition of outstanding efforts to prioritize community health and well-being. The Prize seeks to celebrate success stories that involve entire communities and "define health in the broadest possible terms." Applicants should note that this award is for work that has already been accomplished. Phase I applications are due November 3rd. Click here for more information.

Economic Development Assistance Programs Federal Funding Opportunity
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is seeking opportunities to provide communities with construction, non-construction, and revolving loan fund investments to support economic development strategies built to create jobs, leverage private capital, and strengthen regional competitiveness in the global marketplace. Grants are provided under the Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance programs. Click here to learn more.

Surdna Foundation Grants For Urban Infrastructure
The Surdna Foundation's Sustainable Environments Program invites Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) from nonprofit organizations working to improve or overhaul outdated, overburdened urban infrastructure. Grant applications are currently being accepted to fund three main program categories: Sustainable Transportation Networks & Equitable Development Patterns, Urban Water Management, and Regional Food Supply. Favorable proposals will foster collaboration, focus on underserved communities, and/or encourage long-term investments and solutions. Click here for more information.

Ben & Jerry's Foundation Grants 
The Ben & Jerry's Foundation is seeking organizations to apply for year-long grants of up to $25,000. Applicants should be community-organizing groups that are working to address issues related to social and environmental justice, including sustainable and just food systems. Pre-applications will be accepted through October 14th. For more information, click here.

Sam's Club Community Grant Program
The Walmart Foundation's Community Grant Program is accepting applications for grants ranging from $250 to $2,500. Applicants should operate within the service area of a Walmart, Sam's Club, or other Walmart facility. Applications will be accepted through December 31st. For more information, click here.
Beyond Housing: Youth Programs Manager
Beyond Housing is seeking a Youth Programs Manager to develop, implement, and supervise programs for youth in the 24:1 Footprint and ensure success and ongoing improvement for all of Beyond Housing's direct youth services. This role works closely with the Beyond Housing team, the Normandy School District, and community residents and partners. Click here to learn more.

Beyond Housing/24:1 Construction Company, L.L.C.: Master Plumber
Beyond Housing is looking for an anticipated full-time Master Plumber to join the 24:1 Construction Company, L.L.C. team. This position installs, repairs, and maintains fixtures, pipes, and other water distribution and waste water disposal plumbing in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Click here for the full job description.

Urban Strategies: Director of Finance
Urban Strategies is looking for a Director of Finance to oversee its Finance Department and perform high-level accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting functions. This position is responsible for maintaining systems and procedures that support successful program implementation, flawless audits, and compliance with good internal controls. Applications are due October 1st. Click here to apply.

Urban Strategies: Part-Time Human Resources Generalist
Urban Strategies is seeking a part-time Human Resources Generalist to support its HR team with recruitment, onboarding, orientation, benefits and forms processing, and HR departmental compliance initiatives. Applicants should have strong familiarity with HR functions and good management and communication skills. Applications are due September 30th. Click here to read more.

City of Ferguson: Director of Finance
The City of Ferguson is looking for a Director of Finance to plan and direct the City's financial operations. Applicants should have demonstrated experience in participatory and collaborative budgeting, revenue and expenditure forecasting, and technologically progressive approaches to customer service programs like bill payment. Click here for more information.

Brookings Institution Study Questions The Benefits of Using Public Dollars on Private sports Facilities
The Brookings Institution released a report this month that explores the economic implications of using public subsidies to fund private infrastructure projects, with a particular focus on private sports facilities. It finds that it is generally inefficient to use public funds—especially federal funds—to finance private sports facilities. In their overview, the authors point to "decades" of academic studies that "consistently find no discernible positive relationship between sports facilities and local economic development, income growth, or job creation." Click here for a summary and here to access the report.
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