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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

September 30, 2015


Community Development Needs to be Part of the Response to Ferguson

By Todd Swanstrom, Des Lee Professor at the University of Missouri St. Louis

The Ferguson Commission Calls to Action recognize the need for targeted, place-based investments to lift up disadvantaged communities. This is wise. The St. Louis region needs to invest now in a community development system that enables every community to succeed.

Where we live makes a big difference in our lives, independent of our individual characteristics. And you don’t need to have studied the impact of geography on people for over 30 years like I have to understand that. People who live in areas of concentrated poverty, for example, often pay more for groceries and lack access to fresh vegetables. The stress of living in areas of high crime can compromise the immune system and damage children’s capacities to learn with negative effects that last a lifetime. The researchers at For the Sake of All reported that children growing up in a disadvantaged zip code in the City of St. Louis can expect to live 18 years less than children in a privileged suburban zip code. Controlling for individual characteristics, residents of high-poverty neighborhoods are less successful in job markets and often must commute longer distances.

To read the full commentary, 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
Q&A: A Conversation with Brooks Goedeker
Earlier this month, St. Louis Magazine shared their interview with Brooks Goedeker, the Executive Director of Park Central Development. Park Central Development has played a crucial role in the redevelopment of many of St. Louis' neighborhoods in or near the Central Corridor. In the interview, Brooks discusses the changing dynamics of several St. Louis neighborhood in recent years, particularly the Grove. To read this interview, click here.

Harvard Students Looks for Ways To Improve MLK Drive in St. Louis as model for rest of nation
On Monday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shared a story on a group of Harvard graduate students who are working with the nonprofit Beloved Streets of America in an effort to revitalize Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Over the past two decades the number of vacancies and crime along MLK have increased. Throughout the next 15 weeks the group will collect community input and develop a strategy to improve the street and the surrounding community. To read the full article, click here.

Three Snapshots of Change in St. Louis
Last week, St. Louis Public Radio hosted a forum at Wellspring Church on the recently released Ferguson Commission report. As this commentary points out, this was the third forum hosted at Wellspring Church, and over time the focus of the meetings has evolved. The most recent forum focused on recommendations from the Ferguson Commission report and "determination to press forward." To read the full commentary, click here.


Food Entrepreneurship: A Proven Approach to Build Your Local Economy and Jobs
On October 1, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis will host this webinar on how food entrepreneurship can help support strengthening neighborhoods. For more information about this webinar, click here.

Investing in Quality Neighborhoods in St. Louis
On October 15, join For the Sake of All at City Garden Montessori for the fourth of six Community Action Forums. This forum will focus on how to invest in quality neighborhoods. For more information about this upcoming event, click here.

529s and Child Savings Accounts: New Strategies to Promote Savings and Development for America's Children
Join Washington University and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on October 7 and 8 for this conference on 529s and Child Savings Accounts. The registration deadline for this event is today, September 30. For more information and to register, click here.

What's Brewing: Exploring Emerging Neighborhoods
Join Creating Whole Communities on October 8th for the next session of the What's Brewing? series. This session focuses on the Gravois Park neighborhood. For more information and to register, click here.

2015 Alliance National Conference
This year's Alliance National Conference is being held in downtown St. Louis at the Renaissance Grand Hotel. The conference spans three days from October 14 through October 16. Terrence Roberts, one of the "Little Rock Nine," is the event's keynote speaker. Included among this event's sponsors are two CBN members, Grace Hill Settlement House and the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation. For more information about this conference and to register, click here.

Benchmarking Blitz
On October 27, the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter will host this workshop on how to conduct energy benchmarking and tracking for your building. For more information and to register, click here.

Building an Effective Fundraising Organization
Between January 22 and September 23 of 2016, the Brown School of Social Work is hosting a CEO seminar series on how to build an effective fundraising organizations. This seminar series is intended for organizations with annual revenues between $500,000 and $2 million. For more information, click here.


October 1 through December 23
Images of Grace at the RAC

October 8
Beyond Housing's Divas for a Cause 5

November 7
Images of Grace Gala

November 14
Our Money Matters - The Musical

2015 SLACO Regional Neighborhood Conference

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.

In this week's edition, we are highlighting a map of building permits and their dollar value within the City of St. Louis. This week's map was shared with us by Richard Bose, an electrical engineer and regular contributor to To view his map, click here.To view maps from previous editions, 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!

Ben and Jerry's Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program
Ben and Jerry's through its Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program is offering grants of up to $20,000 for nonprofit organizations working to determine solutions to community problems. The deadline to apply for this year's grant cycle is October 15. For more information on this program, click here.

Accepting Applications for Heart of the Community
The Heart of the Community (HOTC) is a place-making program that supports six community projects each year through grants and technical assistance. HOTC is currently accepting applications for 2016 projects. Applications must be submitted by Friday, October 16. For more information, click here.

Rise 2016 Collaborative Grant
On Monday, Rise announced it would begin accepting applications for the 2016 Rise Collaborative Grant. Funding is available for CDCs working in much of the St. Louis area. Letters of intent for this grant are due by October 16. For more information, click here

St. Louis County CDBG
St. Louis County's Office of Community Development is accepting applications for the FY16 round of CDBG funding. Applications are due by October 16. For more information, and to apply, click here.

City of St. Louis NOFA for CDBG and HOME funding
The City of St. Louis has released its Notice of Funding Available for CDBG and HOME funding. The city's Community Development Administration is administering $2 million in this funding cycle. The application deadline is October 16. For more information, and to apply, click here

CCHD Community Development Grants
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has announced the availability of grant dollars for community development projects and organizations addressing poverty. Grants range from $25,000 to $75,000. Pre-applications will be accepted until November 1. For more information, click here.

Strong Local Economies
The Surdna Foundation has funding available to provide support for minority owned businesses and to reduce barriers to economic mobility. To view more information and to apply for a Strong Local Economies Grant, click here.

Community Impact Grants
The Home Depot Foundation is now accepting applications for its Community Impact Grants. Grants are available for up to $5,000 for volunteer-based community improvement projects. For more information about this grant or to apply, click here.
Assistant Vice President of New Market Tax Credits
The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership (SLEDP) is seeking applicants for a position as an Assistant Vice President of New Market Tax Credits. To view position descriptions and requirements, click here.

Management Analyst (Community Initiative)
HUD has a Management Analyst position available within its office of Field Policy and Management. The position is available for candidates with or without experience working with the Federal Government. The position is open until October 8. To view the application available to candidates with Federal Status, click here. To view the application for candidates without Federal experience, click here.

Chief Resilience Officer
After being selected as a Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient City, the City of St. Louis is seeking a Chief Resilience Officer to develop a Resilience Strategy. To read more about this position and to apply, click here.

Program Coordinator
DeSales Community Housing Corporation is seeking a Program Coordinator to provide support for the Executive Director, various staff members and organizational programs. For more information on this position, click here
Assessing the Feasibility of Side Yard Programs as a Solution to Land Vacancy in U.S. Shrinking Cities
This study, published in the Urban Affairs Review, assesses the effectiveness of "side yard" programs, in which homeowners can purchase adjacent vacant lots. The study focuses on vacancies in the City of St. Louis and held by the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA). The study finds that supply-side barriers (i.e. selective selling of vacant properties) limit the effectiveness of "side yard" programs. To read the full study, click here (link opens a PDF)
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