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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

May 25, 2016


A Turning Point in Community Development: Invest STL

By Mary McMurtrey, Director of Community Engagement for the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation

Based on Mary's keynote speech at the Community Builders Network Awards Reception held March 31st, 2016
It's time that we all come together to celebrate the amazing work that we've been doing. So many of you, for so many years, have been doing really good work. Sometimes, you've been doing good work in isolation, with not a lot of people knowing about what you’re doing, or the lives and communities you're changing. We want to do something about that.

I was approached a few years ago by Todd Swanstrom and Karl Guenther of the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis to look at what other communities were doing to create community and economic development systems that bring these good things together—so that one plus one could equal three—so that we could build on successes, and take good things and really make them great. Instead of a project here, and a project there, how do we stitch everything together in a way that's cohesive and makes everybody's life better, healthier, and stronger?

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
City of St. Louis Honored With National Award for 2016 Community Development Week Activities
The City of St. Louis has been named one of just seven cities nationwide to receive the National Community Development Association's 2016 John A. Sasso Award. The award recognizes the City's Community Development Administration for its exceptional Community Development Week activities this year, which took place from March 28th through April 1st. Highlights of the week included a canned food drive for St. Louis area food pantries, a bus tour of local community development projects, a resources fair held at City Hall, and the CDA's annual awards ceremony at Forest Park's Jewel Box. Click here for photos and more details.

Reinvestment Fund and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Name St. Louis One of 50 Invest Health Cities
Last week, St. Louis was selected to be a part of the Invest Health initiative. Invest Health is designed to help local leaders build partnerships and create collaborative solutions that address health issues in their communities. Over the next 18 months, St. Louis Invest Health team members will manage an effort to explore strategies for tackling disparities in obesity-related chronic disease and mortality among St. Louis neighborhoods. To read Wednesday's full press release, click here.

Rise Community Development Receives Affordable Housing Champion Award for Emerald Ridge Development
This spring, Rise Community Development (Rise) and the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority (SWIDA) were recognized with the 2016 Wyvetter H. Young Award for their work on the Emerald Ridge development in East Alton, IL at the 2016 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Affordable Housing. The award celebrates distinguished developments, initiatives, or programs in affordable housing. The development has stimulated interest in residences and businesses in the Village of East Alton, reduced crime in the neighborhood, and transformed the lives of many area families. Said Aaron Bizaillion, a father of two who plans to buy his family's Emerald Ridge home in the future, "This was the best thing that's ever happened to us." To read more about Rise's work and achievement, click here.

® Joins Rebuilding Together St. Louis To Repair Pagedale Homes on Rebuild Day
Saturday, April 30th was Rebuild Day this year for the St. Louis Association of REALTORS® and the REALTORS® Housing Assistance Fund. REALTORS® donated $20,000 to Rebuilding Together St. Louis and brought a team of volunteers to help repair three homes in the Pagedale area in partnership with Beyond Housing. Despite some rain, volunteers enjoyed the chance to give back to the community, and residents deeply appreciated the assistance. Said Beyond Housing CEO Chris Krehmeyer at the event: the REALTORS® team "made a difference in real people's lives." To watch a video recapping Rebuild Day, click here.

Upgrades Planned For Gravois Road and Affton Plaza
Affton is set to become "a more walkable and livable place" thanks to updates planned for Gravois Road and Affton Shopping Plaza. Between River Des Peres and Mackenzie Road, Gravois Road will be converted into a more bike-friendly street and receive updated landscaping, sidewalks, and lighting thanks to East-West Gateway's Great Streets initiative. Area residents and businesses expressed support for the projects at a series of public hearings held this month. To read the full article, click here.

Kansas City Land Bank To Sell 45 Abandoned Houses for $1
In an effort to combat residential vacancy and blight, the Kansas City Land Bank has approved 45 applications from buyers willing to invest in fixing up dangerous abandoned houses. Each purchaser will pay $1 for his or her home and will be eligible for an $8,500 rebate from the city if purchasing requirements are completed. To read the full story, click here.

Senate Defeats THUD bill Amendment That Would Have Prevented Implementation of AFFH
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) requires federal agencies and grantees to further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The AFFH final rule provides program administrators with tools and structured planning to encourage fair housing choice, overcome historic segregation patterns, fight discrimination, and build inclusive communities. Last week, the Senate voted down an amendment to the THUD appropriations bill that would have prevented HUD from implementing AFFH. To read the full story, click here.

Rise Up Festival Scheduled for August 20th
Rise Community Development's (Rise's) annual Rise Up Festival is scheduled for Saturday, August 20th! Rise Up is a one-day street festival that celebrates community revitalization in St. Louis with local food, microbrews, art, music, and entertainment. The Original Wailers will headline on this year's main stage. Rise is currently seeking emerging artists, vendors, and community groups to apply for space at the festival. Additional information, applications, and event updates are all available at Rise Up's new website.

Missouri Set to Receive $3 Million from National Housing Trust Fund
The Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated $174 million on May 4th to the National Housing Trust Fund. Each state receives a portion of this allocation. Missouri is set to receive $3 million. For more information on the National Housing Trust Fund and state allocations, click here.


Scaling US Community Investing: Creating Liquidity in Impact Investing
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is hosting a webinar tomorrow to discuss how a lack of liquidity can result in attracting fewer long term investments. The webinar will focus on ways create more liquidity and attract more investments. For more information on this webinar, click here.

International Public Management Association of Human Resources Annual Training Conference
From June 5th through June 8th, the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) will hold its 80th Annual Training Conference in downtown St. Louis at the Ballpark Hilton. The conference features speakers and breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and the chance to work toward IPMA-HR certification. For more information about the conference and to register, click here.

Missouri Municipal League Elected Officials Training Conference
The Missouri Municipal League (MML) is holding its annual Elected Officials Training Conference on June 9th and 10th in Columbia, Missouri. The conference provides review and training focused on a variety of issues important to municipal officials, including budgeting and revenues, economic development, and ethics. For more information and to register, click here.

2016 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference
The Center for Community Progress will hold its seventh national Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP) this September 28th-30th in Baltimore, Maryland. This year's theme is "In Service of People and Place." Conference attendees will explore strategies for reclaiming vacant properties and strengthening neighborhoods facing vacancy, abandonment, and disinvestment. Registration will open during the coming months. For more information or to join the conference email list for updates, click here.


St. Louis Urban Gardening Symposium
Brightside St. Louis is hosting its third annual Urban Gardening Symposium on June 4th from 8:30 am until noon. The event features expert-led workshops that discuss strategies for planning, planting, and caring for neighborhood and home gardens. Workshops will take place in Brightside's Demonstration Garden at 4646 Shenandoah Avenue. Space is limited, so for more details and to register, click here.

Landlord Training: Historic Tax Credit Programs and Private Financing Options for Rental Renovations
Each month, Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC hosts a free Landlord Training workshop for all city landlords, investors, and other interested parties. On June 14th, the training session will discuss financing rental renovations using Missouri State and Federal Historic Tax Credit Programs and private financing options. The workshop will be held at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Avenue) from 6:30 until 8:30 pm. For more information, click here.

Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Competent Volunteers
On June 24th, the Nonprofit Management and Leadership program at UMSL is hosting a workshop on cultural sensitivity in volunteer management. Instructor Hannah Shanks, who holds her Master's in Social Work from St. Louis University, will discuss strategies for successful culture-crossing in service-based work. The course will be held in room #92 at the JC Penney Conference Center and counts for credit hours toward the Chancellor's Certificate in Volunteer Management. For more information about this class and to register, click here.


June 1
St. Louis Mosaic Project Food Heritage Stories

June 2
Picnic on the Riverfront: Celebrate the New St. Louis Riverfront

June 4
Missouri Botanical Garden Green Homes Festival

June 24
Beyond Housing Food Truck Roundup

June 9 - July 21
Grace Hill Whitaker Urban Evening Concert Series



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 from PolicyMap on college-educated Millennials 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.

Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines Competitive Affordable Housing Program 
The 2016 Round for the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Des Moines Competitive Affordable Housing Program (AHP) is now open. Applicants can apply for up to $500,000 to fund affordable housing projects. Click here for AHP application materials and resources and here for scoring criteria. To apply, click here.

City of St. Louis NOFA for HOME/CDBG Funds
The City of St. Louis Community Development Administration recently released this Notice of Funding Availability for the CDBG and HOME Investment Partnership funds. The deadline to submit an application is June 10th. For more information, click here.

KaBOOM! Play Everywhere Challenge
KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit that is dedicated to ensuring that all kids have access to the balanced and active play they need to thrive, is accepting applications for the Play Everywhere Challenge until May 31st. Play Everywhere is a national competition that will give out $1 million for innovations in city redevelopment and design that are replicable, scalable, and make play easy, available, and fun for kids and their families. The Challenge is especially interested in community-based solutions that integrate play into unexpected places. For more information, click here.

Sam's Club Community Grant Program
The Walmart Foundation's Community Grant Program is accepting applications for grants ranging $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.
Spanish Lake CDC: Americorps VISTA Positions
Spanish Lake CDC is accepting applications for three full-time, paid Americorps VISTA positions to start July 18th: a Community Engagement Coordinator, a Fund and Resource Development Coordinator, and a Housing Coordinator. Online applications are due by June 3rd through the MyAmeriCorps web portal. For more information and to see full job descriptions, click here.

Beyond Housing: Maintenance Technician
Beyond Housing is looking for a maintenance technician to work on the repair and upkeep of over 400 single family scattered site homes and apartments. This position will be responsible for a variety of tasks related to electrical and mechanical work, plumbing, carpentry, interior and exterior home maintenance, pest control, inventory, and more. For a full job description and application instructions, click here.

Financial Housing Counselor
The Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, Inc. is looking for a HUD certified housing counselor. This position will support clients by leading financial literacy and home ownership education sessions and providing one-on-one credit counseling. For more information and to apply, click here.

Project Planner
The City of Chesterfield is seeking a full-time Project Planner to work on both current and long-range planning projects with its Public Services Department. The position involves both office and field-based duties, including work and contact with the public. For more information about this position, click here.

Development and Communications Associate
The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Foundation, Inc. (ACLU-MO) is seeking a Development and Communications Associate to support and carry out the organization's fundraising and communications initiatives. This role will also provide technological support to other teams in the organization. Click here for more information.

Marketing and Development Associate
Prosperity Connection is seeking a Marketing and Development Associate to work directly with the Executive Director on securing funding, communications, and promotion of the organization. For more information about this position, click here.
National League of Cities Studies Options for Funding Local Infrastructure
The National League of Cities (NLC) has released a report that examines five major funding mechanisms that local governments can use to maintain infrastructure: local option sales taxes and fuel taxes, motor vehicle registration fees, public-private partnerships, and state infrastructure banks. The report offers a state-by-state analysis of local funding options available. NLC argues that cities need more deliberate strategies and greater local authority to effectively address the infrastructure needs of road, transit, and water and wastewater systems. To read more and download the full report
, click here.

National Housing Conference Evaluates Inclusionary Housing Programs
Inclusionary housing programs encourage local developers to invest in affordable housing by mandate or through incentives. Despite criticism that these programs drag down local housing markets and do not effectively create more affordable housing, empirical evidence shows that this is not the case. Certain economic, housing market, and program features are key to determining the success of an inclusionary housing program. In this study, the National Housing Conference (NHC) evaluates the impacts and efficacy of inclusionary housing programs. To read more, click here.
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