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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

April 12, 2017


City Needs to Invest in Neighborhood Capacity, Not Just Bricks and Mortar

By Glenn Burleigh, Community Activist in the City of St. Louis

Last week, City of St. Louis voters passed Proposition 1, which establishes a 1/2 cent Economic Development Sales Tax that is expected to raise $20 million annually. The tax’s final proposal allocates 60 percent of funding (about $12 million) to MetroLink expansion. The rest will be divided evenly (about $2 million each) among four areas: neighborhood revitalization, workforce development, public safety, and infrastructure.

Now that voters have approved this tax, we need to turn our attention to implementation. As written, the proposal has faults that need to be addressed. In light of recent conversations about the tax, I’m concerned that priorities for allocation are out of balance. It favors brick-and-mortar projects without giving equal attention to long-term staffing and community organizing. As we consider how to manage this new funding source, we need to make sure that sustainable investments in human capital are part of the community development equation, too.

To read more of this 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
Two Weeks Away: Join Us For CBN's Fifth Annual Awards Reception! 
Tickets are available for CBN's Fifth Annual Awards Reception! The event will be held April 27 from 6:00-8:00 pm at Washington University's Clark-Fox Forum at 6350 Forsyth Boulevard. Food and drinks will be provided! Come help us celebrate some of the great work members of our community have accomplished over the past year and hear Rise announce their 2017 Collaborative Grant awardees.

NLIHC Spring Issues Toolkit
The National Low Income Housing Coalition's Spring Issues Toolkit reviews five urgent Congressional priorities and shares strategies and suggestions for organizations that want to get involved with affordable housing advocacy at the federal level.

Project Connect Releases Action Plan
Project Connect, a City of St. Louis effort to coordinate and better understand the potential benefits and impact that the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) will have on the surrounding neighborhood and future development, has released an Action Plan to summarize progress to date, recommendations, and next steps. The Plan reflects extensive community and agency input and a series of technical studies. 

2017 Community Development Week Activities and Awards Ceremony
April 17-22 is Community Development Week! As part of the week's events, St. Louis City's Community Development Administration will partner with the Carondelet Community Betterment Federation on a food pantry open houseNorth Newstead Association on a community beautification project, and Prosperity Connection on an informational open house. An April 19 awards ceremony will honor local individuals, businesses, and organizations that have made big contributions to the field this year. Rise is accepting the Housing Development of the Year award on behalf of the Village at Delmar Place!

St. Louis Community Foundation Sees High Growth in 2016
Did you know the St. Louis Community Foundation is one of the fastest growing community foundations in the country according to industry data? In 2016, the Foundation gave out over 4,000 grants (totaling almost $40 million), 85 percent of which supported St. Louis organizations. Right now, they're busy gearing up for Give STL Day 2017 on May 11. (If you haven't registered yet, the deadline is this Friday! So far, 16 nonprofits have signed up under the Community Development category.)

Beyond Housing's Relocation and National Press for 24:1 Cinema
In December, Beyond Housing moved its headquarters from the Grove to the spacious former Garfield Elementary School building in Pine Lawn, one of the municipalities in the 24:1 footprint in North St. Louis County. Community and organizational leaders expect that having Beyond Housing's staff of 140 under one roof within its service area will improve efficiency and service to clients. The 24:1 Cinema in Pagedale also garnered national attention last week.

Rise Celebrates 20 Years
On March 25, Rise celebrated their 20th Anniversary Gala with over 300 guests at The Caramel Room at Bissinger’s Historic Chocolate Factory. The evening's inaugural 2017 Lifting Our Communities Awards honored Joseph Shepard, Seth Leadbeater, and John Dubinksy for their exceptional lifetime achievements in the St. Louis community. The ceremony also featured a brand-new video on the work Rise has done for the community over the past 20 years. Read more and take a look at some event photos here.

tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC to Redevelop 3751 Potomac
Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC (TGNCDC) recently purchased vacant 3751 Potomac in Tower Grove South and has already started redeveloping the building into a rehabbed single-family home. Financing for the project was provided by Gateway CDFI, and the property should be ready by this summer. This is the final stage of a three-year-long process for TGNCDC and a testament to the hard work that goes into redeveloping vacant buildings in our community.

North Newstead Association Community Clean up
As a part of the North Newstead Safety Initiative, North Newstead Association (NNA) teamed up with the City of St. Louis CDA, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, North Campus, Agape Christian Center, Operation Brightside, and community residents for a Community Clean Up on April 1! NNA has another clean up event scheduled for April 22.

Policy Idea: Massachusetts' Community Scale Housing Initiative
To help increase affordable housing production in Massachusetts, the state's Department of Housing and Community Development and MassHousing have introduced the Community Scale Housing Initiative (CSHI), a tax credit program that subsidizes affordable, small-scale projects (between 5 and 20 units) that might not qualify for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit or Historic Tax Credit programs. Both non-profit and for-profit developers can apply for CSHI funds.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency On Innovative Partnerships in Preserving Affordable Housing
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's March newsletter focuses on innovative partnerships in affordable housing preservation. It features articles on potential roles for national banks and federal savings associations, HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration Program, affordable housing and CRA consideration, and preserving LIHTC properties after the initial 15-year compliance period.

Peer City Identification Tool: Benchmarking St. Louis Data Against Other Cities
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has created a Peer City Identification Tool to help practitioners and policymakers compare and visualize data in the context of other peer cities, including St. Louis. Cities are matched using city-level economic, demographic, social, and housing data, and peer groups vary across four dimensions: equity, resilience, outlook, and housing.


St. Louis & the Common Good: A Discussion on the City/County Divide
On April 12 (tonight) at 5:45 pm, Better Together is hosting a networking event and panel discussion on how the structure of St. Louis' local government and the City/County divide affect our civic lives and our ability "seek the common good" locally.

City of St. Louis Downtown Multimodal Study: Stakeholder Engagement Week
It's Stakeholder Engagement Week for the City of St. Louis' Downtown Multimodal Study. Scheduled discussions about the future of our downtown transportation system are ongoing through today, April 12 and tomorrow, April 13.

Final Speaker Series Event from UMSL's Public Policy Administration Program
On April 19, UMSL's Public Policy Administration Program will host its final speaker series event of the year with Nicole Hudson, Lead Catalyst of Forward Through Ferguson, and Paul Evensen, Executive Director of Social Innovation St. Louis. Nicole and Paul will discuss the Ferguson Commission Report's calls to action and how nonprofits can work to implement the report's recommendations.

Missouri Workforce Housing Association Property Management Conference
The Missouri Workforce Housing Association (MOWHA) is hosting its First Annual Property Management Conference April 24-25 at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia, Missouri. Certified national trainer Vivian Probst will provide continuing education for property managers.

Middle Neighborhoods: St. Louis
On April 27, CBN, Washington University, Creating Whole Communities, and the American Assembly will host a presentation and panel discussion on America's Middle Neighborhoods—communities that aren't in deep distress, but aren't thriving either. Come learn about what makes these "on the edge" neighborhoods important to St. Louis and other cities.

St. Charles County Housing Conference
The St. Charles County Housing Conference is scheduled for May 5 at the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council. Presentations will cover fair housing in building and design, universal design and aging in place, new urbanism, building complete communities, workforce housing, and more. The event is free but registration is required.

Missouri Preservation Conference
Missouri Preservation will host its 2017 conference May 17-19 in Hannibal, Missouri. Join fellow practitioners and preservation experts for educational sessions, tours, workshops, networking opportunities, and a trade show. This is an essential opportunity for anyone interested in using historic tax credits! Early registration ends April 19.

People & Places Conference
The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) is partnering with several other organizations to host the peer-learning People & Places Conference for community development practitioners May 31 through June 2 in Arlington, Virginia. FYI: early bird pricing ends this Friday!

National Urban League Save Our Cities Annual Conference
Registration is open for the National Urban League's annual Save Our Cities conference, which will take place in St. Louis this year July 26-29. Sign up now to take advantage of special early bird pricing!

Save the Date: 2018 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference
The Center for Community Progress 2018 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference has been scheduled for May 15-17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Registration isn't open yet, but stay tuned for more details.


Final Two Give STL Day Webinars
The St. Louis Community Foundation is offering just two more training webinars before Give STL Day on May 11! Sign up for the session tomorrow, April 13 to learn about Give STL Day donations, prizes, and contingencies. The final April 19 webinar will be a general Give STL Day Strategy Session.

Grace Hill Financial Empowerment Workshop
Grace Hill's next two Financial Empowerment Workshops will be held today, April 12 (on Financial Vision & Budgeting) and May 3 (on Credit). Attendees can receive a certificate for attending 4 out of 6 classes. Please email Alnita Smiley to RSVP.

Loveland Building Conditions Survey Day
Rise and Dutchtown South Community Corporation need volunteers to help with parcel surveying in the Gravois-Jefferson planning area this Saturday, April 15. Urban Eats Cafe at 3301 Meramac will serve as project "base camp" and training center. If you can't participate for the entire afternoon, stop by anytime between 12 pm and 3 pm. And if you have a smart phone, bring it along with the Loveland app pre-loaded!

Landlord Training: Property Management Best Practices
Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC is hosting a series of free Landlord Training workshops this year for all city landlords, investors, and other interested parties. Their April 25 training session will discuss property management best practices, including tips for maintaining and presenting your rental property.

Understanding the Executive Director Search Process from UMSL's NPML Program
On April 27 from 3:00-5:00 pm, UMSL's Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program will hold a class on the Executive Director search process, both for individuals contemplating a career move and agencies seeking a new leader.

Vacant, Abandoned, & Deteriorated Properties Training Academy
From May 31-June 1, the Center for Community Progress is hosting a Vacant, Abandoned, & Deteriorated (VAD) Properties Training Academy in Indianapolis. This two-day "boot camp" is for public, private, nonprofit, and community leaders working on difficult property challenges.


April 19
North Newstead Association Clarence Clovers Community Garden Beautification Day

2017 Community Development Week Awards Ceremony

April 22
Fairground Neighborhood Revitalization Organization Neighborhood Clean Up Day

Rise Young Professionals Trivia Night

April 27
Community Builders Network 5th Annual Awards Reception

April 28
Lemay Housing Partnership Tasting for Change 2017

April 29
Park Central Development 4th Annual Gala

May 6
Cinco de Mayo: A Cherokee Street Festival

May 11
Give STL Day 2017

FOCUS St. Louis 20th Annual What's Right With the Region Awards

May 18
South Grand 9th International Dine-Around



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're sharing a map from SLU's Stupp GIS Lab that tracks vacancy change over time in St. Louis City. 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.

J.M.K. Innovation Prize
The J.M.K. Innovation Prize is an initiative of the J.M. Kaplan Foundation. Ten Prizes will be awarded in 2017 to nonprofits and mission-driven for-profits that are tackling pressing needs through social innovation in heritage conservation, social justice, or the environment. The award provides up to three years of support at $50,000 per year plus $25,000 for technical assistance or project expenses. Applications are due April 28.

Lowe's Community Partners Grants
The Lowe's Community Partners Grant Program 2017 Spring Funding Cycle is open through May 12. Municipalities and nonprofit organizations seeking funding for high-need projects—including building and technology upgrades and safety improvements—are invited to apply for grants of up to $100,000.

Russell Sage Foundation Grants for Social inequality Research
The Russell Sage Foundation invites Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) for its Social Inequality Grants program, which funds research on the causes and consequences of rising inequality in the U.S. Topics of interest include neighborhoods and communities, economic well-being, intergenerational mobility, labor markets, education, families, and child development and outcomes. LOIs are due May 31.

Walmart Foundation Community Grant Program
The Walmart Foundation's Community Grant Program is accepting applications from nonprofits for grants ranging from $250 to $2,500. Applicants should operate within the service area of a Walmart facility. Applications will be accepted through December 31.

Placemaking Funding Opportunities from The Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation accepts ongoing proposals for arts and culture projects and programs that support their goal of expanding opportunities in America's cities. The Foundation currently has two funding opportunities available: their Place-Based Initiatives focus area, which supports work that improves life for low-income people and in disinvested communities, and their Local Systems focus area, which seeks initiatives that challenge norms within systems and support adaptive practitioners.

Wells Fargo Community Giving Grants
Wells Fargo accepts year-round applications for funding from nonprofit organizations for projects and programs that support strong, diverse, and vibrant communities. Grant guidelines and application instructions differ by state; click here for Missouri and here for Illinois.

Just For Kids: New Funding Strategy from Deaconess Foundation
Deaconess Foundation's new funding strategy, Just For Kids, seeks to advance child well-being in the St. Louis region. Deaconess will award $5 million in grants to support organizations and initiatives working to ensure child access to early childhood education, just legal treatment, comprehensive health care, and family economic mobility by influencing electoral, legislative, judicial, administrative, and corporate systems. Funding applications open April 17.

Aetna Foundation 2017 Cultivating Healthy Communities Grant Program
Aetna Foundation is offering grants between $50,000 to $100,000 to support nonprofits pursuing projects that address social determinants of health in five domains: built environment, community safety, environmental exposures, healthy behaviors, and social/economic factors. Note that the Foundation will not fund organizations with annual operating budgets below $250,000. Applications are due this Friday, April 14.

National Arts Strategies 2017 Creative Community Fellowships
National Arts Strategies (NAS) is seeking applicants for its 2017 Creative Community Fellowship program. The fellowship is for individuals dedicated to using arts and culture to create solutions to community problems and drive change. An online informational session is scheduled for April 19; applications are due April 23.

Financial Solutions Lab At The Center For Financial Services Innovation
The Center for Financial Services Innovation's Financial Solutions Lab and founding partner JPMorgan Chase invite nonprofit and for-profit organizations to apply for up to $250,000 to support development of products or services that can improve the financial health of Americans, especially low- to moderate-income or underserved customers. Applications are due April 27.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Community Economic Development Projects
This grant opportunity from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides funding for 501(c)(3) CDCs to implement well-planned, financially viable, and innovative projects to enhance job creation and business development for low-income individuals. Projects that align with the Promise Zones Initiative or Choice Neighborhoods Program are encouraged. Applications are due June 6.
Positions Available at Beyond Housing
Beyond Housing is looking for an Education Department Coordinator to ensure success of education initiatives in the Normandy School District; an Events Manager to plan and manage fundraising events and initiatives; a Community Health Coordinator to plan, monitor, and manage operations of the Passport to Health Program and other health initiatives; a Staff Accountant to support the Beyond Housing Accounting Team; and an Administrative Office Manager to support the Chief Operating Officer, senior management, and organizational clients, partners, and vendors.

Connections to Success: Resource Development Associate
Connections to Success is seeking a Resource Development Associate to maintain its donor database, strengthen database policies and procedures, process gifts, prepare and generate reports, track revenues and expenses for the Development Team, and support donor cultivation, fundraising events, and committees.

The Full Frame Initiative: Community Engagement and Capacity Building Manager
The Full Frame Initiative is hiring a Community Engagement and Capacity Building Manager to play a leadership role in visioning, co-designing and developing, implementing, and sustaining an orientation around well-being at the community, public, and nonprofit level. This role will identify and build partnerships with community leaders, residents, public systems, and nonprofits in the City and County.

Washington University: Senior Analyst
The Department of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration at Washington University is looking for a Senior Analyst to support the Executive Vice Chancellor's efforts in regional economic development initiatives, conduct research and analysis, provide recommendations regarding policies and strategies, and support the team in crafting presentations and communications.
New Research Review on How LIHTC Properties Impact Their Surroundings
A new review of academic research has identified a few key patterns in the effects that Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties have on their surrounding communities. "The What, Where, and When of Place-Based Housing Policy's Neighborhood Effects" finds that LIHTC properties can increase property values, safety, and the performance ratings of neighborhood schools in distressed neighborhoods. Click here for a summary and here to access the full report.
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