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Innovation

The 10,000-Hour Challenge

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View innovations by nonprofit, community-based organizations:

Company/Organization Name: Center for the Acceleration of African American Business (CAAAB), (http://www.caaab.org)

Contact: Neelu Panth, npanth@caaab.org

Focus: small business, asset development, workforce development, education, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 200

Description of innovation:

The Parents as Entrepreneurs program uses entrepreneurship and community business development as a tool to enhance parental and civic engagement. The assumption is that this knowledge-based and hands-on model will not only create wealth among this population, but also enhance social and academic skills among their children and foster overall community development. This program was developed in collaboration with Clay Elementary School in North St. Louis as a result of their increasingly below basic MAP scores among fourth and fifth graders. According to the school's Principal this trend was evident especially among children who were dealing with adversities like homelessness at the time of the test. Thus, Parents as Entrepreneurs was developed as a pilot program to release economic distress among parents/guardians and foster academic achievement among their children. The program is divided into three phases: Phase 1 comprises of eight weeks of rigorous curriculum based entrepreneurship training. The classes range from why business anyway to strong credit history and access to capital, considerations of different legal nuances and structures that are part of business start up and operation, and finally, how to write a professional and persuasive business plan. Phase 2 will include six weeks of one-on-one business development/enhancement consulting where participants are guided through writing and fulfilling each aspect of the business plan and preparing for start up. Participants will also be linked to various other resources that are necessary for entrepreneurship and business start up like credit counseling and financial management, fulfilling legal and accounting matters, soft skills, etc. In Phase 3 the participants will be guided one-on-one in fulfilling all logistics and official requirements for business startup including acquiring of operation space if need be. The participants are also linked to various sources for access to capital and guided through all presentations. Finally, the program makes sure that everything is in line for actual start up. Currently, seven participants are enrolled in the program.

 

Company/Organization Name: Neighborhood Development Alliance, (http://www.nedahome.org)

Contact: Karen Reid

Focus: housing, comprehensive community development, other

Hours contributed: 770

Description of innovation:

Neighborhood Development Alliance (NeDA) innovation was to determine the cost difference of building a standard NeDA-built home (3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, expansion space in basement) and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified home. The home must be built for affordable for a family whose income does not exceed 80% of Area Median Income. NeDA first put a development team together. This included LHB Engineers and Architects, who are strong proponents of LEED, and Richard Klimala from BCB Construction. We also sought the assistance of Neighborhood Energy Connection to review our building plans to insure they would meet LEED standards. NeDA purchased a large lot on St. Paul’s West Side from the West Side Citizens Organization and planned and built a twin home. The sustainable components included: A foundation system with 2” foam insulation under slab; 2” foam insulation at exterior foundation walls; elastomeric waterproofing at exterior foundation walls; interior and exterior drain tile systems and sump pump. For materials we used: FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified lumber; kitchen cabinets were made of compressed wheat chaff, with sustainable harvested beech wood veneers. All forced air ductwork seams sealed with mastic; all ductwork was installed in interior walls; all water pipes are insulated; wall insulation is R21 enhanced fiberglass insulation. Plumbing and electrical penetrations in all walls were sealed to prevent air leakage. All attic penetrations sealed and attic insulated to R44. We also included active solar hot water heating system. This system was paid for through a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This addition did not add any extra points to our LEED scoring system. 132-134 Winifred Street W, St. Paul, MN 55107 was awarded a LEED Gold rating in 2009. We also won the City of St. Paul’s 2009 Sustainable Saint Paul Award for Excellence in Residential Green Building. And the cost comparison of a standard NeDA home and a LEED Gold home: The LEED home cost 2% more to build. (Not including the solar package.) We are now tracking energy usage in the twin homes. NeDA is now continuing to work with home owners, helping them make their own sustainable and energy efficient upgrades, offering deferred loans and NeDA construction management. We believe that a truly affordable home is an energy efficient, sustainable home.

 

Company/Organization Name: Pennyroyal Mental Health Center, (http://www.pennyroyalcenter.org)

Contact: Bill Kerley, bkerley@pennyroyalcenter.org

Focus: housing, health care, rural development, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 10000

Description of innovation:

Pennyroyal Mental Health Center began providing housing for persons with special needs through new construction more than a decade ago. Since 2000, 76 units have been provided for the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled or persons suffering from dual diagnosis in rural Western Kentucky; 50 additional units are under construction to serve homeless veterans. The Veterans Center will open later in 2011. Once residents move into Pennyroyal’s various housing developments, case managers provide ongoing support to allow persons with disabilities to live independently. The housing options include transitional & permanent housing, based on the individual needs of the client. Since 2007, all of Pennyroyal’s developments have included green innovations & energy star appliances including light fixtures, windows, programmable thermostats, 10% of the building materials harvested, extracted recovered or manufactured within 500 miles, faucets & showerheads with low flow rate, carpet that meets the Carpet & Rug Institute Green Label Plus program & day-lighting in the units, achieved through solar tubes. Special needs residents are often on a fixed income due to their disabilities. Green construction helps contain the cost of utilities which can be a major impact on the disabled. Pennyroyal adds value because it is a mental health care provider & a developer. A person cannot pull himself up by his bootstraps if he has no boots to begin with. Dual diagnosis is the combination of mental illness & substance abuse & cannot be overcome if only the substance abuse is addressed. Dual diagnosis is far more prevalent than most people realize. The first step in treatment must be a safe housing situation where people can focus on recovery. As a result of this mission Pennyroyal has taken on development in extremely rural areas where new construction is rare. The team at Pennyroyal intends to continue to develop housing for people with special needs; it estimates that 7000 hours have been devoted to date & anticipates the overall hours it will spend in these developments will exceed 10000. Pennyroyal Mental Health Center will continue to educate everyone it encounters that all people have value regardless of external appearance. Pennyroyal commits to continue to provide the most innovative, green, new construction housing in risky rural areas where for-profit developers are unlikely to work.

 

Company/Organization Name: The Housing Partnership Inc., (http://www.wearehpi.org)

Contact: Kim Happel, khappel@wearehpi.org

Focus: housing, education, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 120

Description of innovation:

Innovations at The Housing Partnership’s St. Denis Senior Apartments have made it Louisville’s first and largest multi-family Energy Star-rated building, possibly in all of Kentucky. In addition to “recycling” an empty Catholic school building, over 1.93 million pounds of materials including 20 tons of metals, 254 tons of concrete from footings, foundations and sidewalks and nearly 700 tons of asphalt were repurposed in building this low-income apartment community. Sound-buffering windows, art, a garden and a solar water heating system that saves each resident up to $160 annually are features that have contributed to the quick leasing of (and waiting list for) all 34 units. Preserving artwork students created over the years, the existing school wing was turned into energy efficient apartments after extensive renovation that included asbestos removal. Installing noise reducing windows lessened traffic sounds from a nearby busy roadway. A niche created by moving the door of a former classroom now is home to a colorful portrait of St. Denis. The same artist painted the lobby ceiling with houses and fleurs de lis – reminders that St. Denis is now home to so many Louisvillians (the fleur de lis symbolizes our city’s French ties).A sunny strip of land behind St. Denis’s school wing has been used for a resident garden. In partnership with YouthBuild, five accessible raised garden beds were added. The beds’ dimensions accommodate residents with limited mobility and their visiting grandchildren. Last spring’s first crops were planted by volunteers and cared for by residents.Sixteen solar collectors on St. Denis’s roof harness over 82 million BTUs of free, clean energy from the sun annually. This energy is then transferred into a tank to pre-heat fresh water before it is fed to a traditional gas-fired supplemental water heating system, providing the most efficient energy capture possible. Requiring virtually no maintenance, the fully automated system optimizes energy savings while ensuring plentiful hot water for the building. Besides enjoying the low utility costs, residents can be proud of the environmental benefits their building provides. One of Kentucky’s largest solar hot water installations, the St. Denis system over its life will keep more than 450,000 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere -- the carbon equivalent of 40 cars burning over 23,000 gallons of gasoline. More than 83,000

 

Company/Organization Name: Resources for Residents and Communities of Georgia, Inc., (http://rrc.reynoldstown.org)

Contact: Ashani O'Mard, ashani_omard@yahoo.com

Focus: housing, asset development, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 1500

Description of innovation:

In 2009, Resources for Residents and Communities of Georgia (RRC) and New World Home, LLC launched a unique partnership focused on affordable homeownership solutions for working families. The Essential Housing Collection features high-quality, LEED-certifiable modular homes offering vast reductions in material waste, energy and water usage, thus lowering a homeowner’s operating costs. The homes also provide production time efficiencies, with a typical certificate of occupancy issued within 100 days of the commencement of production. This key timesaver enables prospective homebuyers a chance to obtain financing approval before commencement of construction while mitigating the risks associated with the speculative building process. Essential Housing’s first home was placed in fall of 2010 on a foreclosed lot donated by JPMorgan Chase’s REO Gifting/Discounted Properties Program. Through RRC’s HomeOwnership Center (HOC), a participant received personalized counseling on the purchasing process, foreclosure prevention, and home maintenance, and purchased the home. While several HOC clients have successfully purchased homes that are affordable at their income limits, many struggle with the burden of hefty utility bills. Essential Housing’s model is a community innovation because it bridges the gap between affordable and environmentally sustainable housing. It will not only preserve our environment but will also better serve RRC’s clientele, allowing them cost savings over the life cycle of their home while improving their quality of life. Qualified HOC participants now have a chance to obtain homebuyer education and down payment assistance to purchase affordable, newly constructed homes and benefit from savings of over $70,000 in utility payments and product durability over the course of a 30-year mortgage. Essential Homes will feature first-class amenities including Energy Star appliances; high efficiency HVAC system; low flow shower heads and faucets; dual flush toilets; low VOC painting; and recycled carpeting. The exterior of the homes will include Energy Star-rated windows and doors; fiber cement siding; and 30-year warranted shingle roofs. The homes will also be conveniently located near Atlanta’s public transit system. RRC has been a leader in community development in metro Atlanta for 22 years, helping to stabilize communities and helping individuals improve their financial well being.

 

Company/Organization Name: Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis, (http://www.habitatstl.org)

Contact: Kimberly McKinney, kimberly@habitatstl.org

Focus: housing

Hours contributed: 720

Description of innovation:

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis (HFHSL) has been committed to building simple, decent and affordable housing, in partnership with deserving families, for the last 25 years. That vision has now moved beyond building homes and expanded to include a positive transformation in local neighborhoods and communities through sustainable residential building. The primary goals for the HFHSL program are to build efficient, healthy affordable homes for families; to build quality durable homes with minimal upkeep; to, as an organization, improve their process from Energy Star to LEED for Homes and to provide education on sustainable building practices to various build partners. Success of each annual build depends on an integrated design process, which involves a design charrette and monthly meetings for the project team. This high level of communication and interaction assists in the creation of an efficient design build as well as improved coordination of the project site. It is clear that the integrated design process has been critical to move HFHSL’s build standards from Energy Star (2007 and earlier) to LEED (since 2008). HFHSL’s commitment to building residential housing to the highest of LEED standards demonstrates that green homes can be built at affordable costs. While HFHSL builds homes in neighborhoods with established amenities, such as bus stops, retailers, educational facilities, churches and parks, HFHSL believes that the addition of a much needed, quality residential component can be the tipping point to revitalize area communities. The homes built improve the health and livelihood of those who live in and around them by providing a healthier indoor air quality, a safe home environment and increased property values in a given neighborhood. Additionally, because HFHSL relies on volunteer labor to build much of their homes, volunteers have the opportunity to learn the basics of green home building and, in some instances have begun duplicating those efforts in their own homes. The evolution of HFHSL’s build program from Energy Star to becoming the largest developer of single family detached residential housing certified to LEED Platinum standards (according to US Green Building Council statistics) demonstrates that perseverance, innovation and a step by step approach can improve previously successful builds to an even greater environment for both the individual homebuyer and community at large.

 

Company/Organization Name: Creative Exchabge Lab - Community, Design & Innovation Center, (http://www.creativeexchangelab.com)

Contact: jasmin aber, ja@creativeexchangelab.com

Focus: other

Hours contributed: 980

Description of innovation:

The Creative Exchange Lab, or CEL, is a non-profit "creative incubator"--a forum and exhibition space where designers from all design fields (architects, community developers, green engineers, new media professionals, etc.) are offered affordable workspace in an intellectually rich and interdisciplinary setting. Collaboration is king at CEL. By providing our members with a professional environment that includes mentoring, classes, exhibition spaces and other resources — including discounted office space — CEL seeks to promote innovative solutions to today's complicated design problems. Our aim is to facilitate a creative cross-pollination among our members that both encourages bold thinking and helps them to flourish as entrepreneurs. At CEL, we recognize that ideas matter. With a special interest in promoting design, diversity and green enterprises, our focus is to support creative endeavors that empower our members, mentor professionals, aid in community development, and benefit the broader region.

 

Company/Organization Name: homeWORD, Inc., (http://www.homeword.org)

Contact: Keenan Whitt, keenan@homeword.org

Focus: housing

Hours contributed: 4300

Description of innovation:

Solstice-Confluence is the newest development by homeWORD, Inc. in Missoula, Montana. Construction began in September of 2010 and is slated to be completed in October of 2011. Solstice will have 34 units of affordable housing, targeting households at 40-60% of the area median income.Confluence will have 16,000 SF of commercial space to be leased, below market rate, to other mission sharing Missoula-based nonprofits.This development incorporates many innovative elements: •First in Montana to combine Low Income Housing Tax Credits and New Markets Tax Credits within the same project. •First mixed-use grey water system permit issued in Montana. •First commercial/affordable housing mixed use LEED Gold certification in Montana. homeWORD has a fundamental commitment to developing energy and resource efficient housing. •Community involvement – homeWORD conducted a Neighborhood Charrette for the whole project – Equinox and Solstice – to get feedback and design ideas from community members. The Neighborhood Charrette process is a public design meeting where community members come together to brainstorm ideas around the design and development of the proposed project. The project was also designed with added community processes such as an Eco-Design Charrette and Universal Design Charrette. The ideas and perspectives gathered during these phases of meetings informed the overall design process and final products. •Neighborhood revitalization – The two phase project – Solstice and Equinox – was designed and constructed in a designated revitalization area of Missoula and the site was previously a “greyfield”, primarily covered by asphalt paving. homeWORD's expertise and experience in housing development is used to demonstrate best methods for greyfield redevelopment and reinvigorating neighborhoods. Solstice models greyfield revitalization efforts and promotes reinvestment in other greyfield areas in the same corridor in the Missoula community and across the state. •Economic development – Solstice provides a new space for homeWORD’s HomeOwnership Center (HOC). The HOC helps homeWORD serve more people – especially underserved groups – in the community through homebuyer and financial education as well as foreclosure prevention counseling in an accessible learning environment using current communication technology. A training room will be shared by mission related non-profit.

 

Company/Organization Name: ENTEAM ORGANIZATION, (http://www.enteam.org)

Contact: Ted Wohlfarth, ted@enteam.org

Focus: education

Hours contributed: 500

Description of innovation:

ENTEAM develops community by measuring the performance of collaborators. See more online: www.enteam.org

 

Company/Organization Name: Partners for Entrepreneurial Advancement in Kentucky, Inc, (http://peakky.org)

Contact: Mark Johnson, MarkL.Johnson@ky.gov

Focus: finance and access to capital, small business, education, rural development, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 200

Description of innovation:

To emphasize the important role that Kentucky’s small and micro businesses have, the Kentucky Commission on Small Business Advocacy and Partners for Entrepreneurial Advancement in Kentucky, Inc (PEAK), a statewide, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to microenterprise development, are coordinating a specialty small business license plate competition. The competition, which runs through Wednesday, Nov.10, 2010, is open to any small Kentucky-based business with 50 or fewer employees, at least one of which must be a Kentucky resident. Kentucky residents not affiliated with a small business can also participate by partnering with a small business willing to sponsor their submission. There is no fee to submit a design, but the design must be submitted by a qualifying small business. Proceeds collected from those purchasing a small business specialty license plate will be used to fund small business and entrepreneur development programs in Kentucky. More information about the competition may be found at: http://peakky.org/licenseplate.aspx.

 

Company/Organization Name: EARN, (http://www.earn.org)

Contact: Charlotte Hill, charlotte@earn.org

Focus: finance and access to capital, asset development

Hours contributed: 500

Description of innovation:

EARN is a pioneer in the growing field of financial coaching for low income workers. Financial coaching can be distinguished from counseling, literacy and planning in three key ways: 1. Financial coaching is anchored in behavioral change, not in a transfer of information about finances. 2. Since only the recipient of coaching knows what it will motivate behavioral changes needed to reach financial goals, coaching is client-directed. 3. Being client-directed makes financial coaching inherently empowering to clients. EARN first ventured into financial coaching by convening leaders from around the nation to develop a model that tested financial coaching's success in helping low income workers create lasting economic prosperity. In 2007, EARN used findings from this model to develop a groundbreaking program that focuses almost exclusively on helping low wage clients improve financial behaviors over time – using financial coaching. The program, called WealthCare, is a structured approach to imbuing the financial behaviors known to promote control and leverage of finances in a manner that promotes wealth accumulation. EARN has a unique approach to financial coaching for low income workers. In addition to employing a full-time coach in our main office, we also offer in-depth, high quality trainings in financial coaching techniques to front-line staff at community-based organizations who serve low income families and individuals. What sets Wealthcare apart as an innovative and standard-setting program is its explicit acknowledgment that by focusing on eliciting and repeating desirable financial behaviors over time, low wage workers can build economic prosperity in a sustained way. Our success thus far relies on four critical factors: our programs are 1) anchored in behavior change, 2) thoughtful and targeted in selecting clients, 3) culturally and linguistically relevant to clients, and 4) rigorously evaluated. EARN continues to learn from our research and experience, improving and adjusting our trainings and coaching sessions to serve as the best possible resource for our clients and partner organizations.

 

Company/Organization Name: Power Center CDC, (http://www.powercentercdc.org)

Contact: Derwin Sisnett, sisnett.derwin@powercentercdc.org

Focus: education, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 10000

Description of innovation:

In order to address the decline of businesses and the high foreclosure and bankruptcy rates in the Hickory Hill community, the Power Center CDC established Power Center Academy (PCA), a charter school in Memphis, TN. PCA has committed to instilling the concepts of entrepreneurship and financial literacy in its students from 6th grade to 12th grade. Since PCA has an extended day where students are engaged from 7:30AM to 4:30PM each weekday, 7 years of entrepreneurship and financial literacy education at PCA equates to over 10,000 hours. From the moment students enroll in the 6th grade class at PCA, they engage in entrepreneurship and financial literacy through project-based learning and real-world applications such as PCA’s Youth Bank, the first youth-operated, SunTrust bank branch in Memphis. In addition to running the youth bank, students conduct business as customers of the bank in order to live out the principles of saving and delayed gratification that they learn in their core business class. Moreover, through a partnership with Apple, every student at PCA uses his own Apple MacBook to create podcasts, websites, spreadsheets, and presentations. The entrepreneurial principles that the students learn in their business class also applies to other core classes such as mathematics and science. Students learn to use innovative strategies to seek maximum reward, and as a result PCA has achieved 96% proficiency in math and science in the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). To date, students at PCA have spent almost 3,000 hours learning how to think and act like entrepreneurs. The Power Center is hopeful that the students at PCA will be the next generation of business leaders in the Memphis community.

 

Company/Organization Name: GroundWork Group, (http://www.groundworkgroup.org)

Contact: John Hrusovsky, info@groundworkgroup.org

Focus: education, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 10000

Description of innovation:

GroundWork group’s innovation is our business model. Innovation is imbedded in everything that we do. Our holistic approach to the delivery of our services to our nonprofit customers analyzes every business function that can be improved through better use of technology, improving operational efficiency and increasing the number of clients served. As a nonprofit ourselves, we understand how critical it is to make sure that operational challenges are minimized so that our clients can focus on serving their core missions. GroundWork group identifies the strengths and weaknesses among all business functions of nonprofits, unveiling the unique needs of each customer. We then work with nonprofits, integrating our service offerings to address their technology needs for Strategic Planning, Marketing, Constituent Management, Communications, Fundraising, Service Delivery, Reporting, Day-to-Day Operations, and Training & Education. This tailored approach means the GroundWork group Solution looks different in each nonprofit office. Our business process is unique among technology service providers. We are a Social Enterprise, using a business model to drive our operations and service delivery. We have achieved self-sustainability through development of successful earned revenue opportunities while keeping our main focus on our mission to strengthen the impact of nonprofit organizations. Collaboration with community partners has driven down our costs, resulting in our ability to deliver affordable technology to nonprofit organizations. Our nonprofit customers receive a five-dollar value for every dollar they invest in our services. We are changing the way nonprofits view technology, encouraging a more strategic approach and encouraging nonprofits to consider technology as a business asset into which they should commit human and financial resources. GroundWork group conducts research and keeps abreast of trends in the nonprofit sector to improve our own effectiveness, and we are working with foundations, IT professionals, businesses and nonprofits to replicate our business model to expand our positive impact to nonprofits nationwide.

 

Company/Organization Name: innovation@cfed, (http://innovation.cfed.org)

Contact: Anne Li, ali@cfed.org

Focus: housing, finance and access to capital, small business, asset development, workforce development, education, health care, rural development, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 6600

Description of innovation:

CFED expands economic opportunity by helping Americans build assets, save for the future, start and grow businesses, pursue education and become homeowners. In 2008, CFED launched innovation@cfed, a platform that accelerates the evolution of the next generation of creative approaches to expanding economic opportunity. Premised on the notion that innovation requires collaboration, innovation@cfed identifies cutting-edge approaches and convenes innovators to accelerate the process of innovation. To identify innovators in the Assets & Opportunities field, innovation@cfed solicits submissions from diverse and creative individuals from around the globe. CFED selects a small number of Innovators-in-Residence to work intensively on bringing an innovative approach to scale during a residency with CFED with access to CFED's resources. CFED also identifies Innovative Idea Champions, individuals with concepts in earlier stages of development that have potential to improve the lives of Americans, and provides the visibility and networking of the innovation@cfed platform to boost their concepts. These Innovators and the entire innovation@cfed community—now numbering more than 1,000—play key roles in Innovation Summits, convenings facilitated by innovation@cfed. These convenings are a central tenet of our mission to foster creative thinking to address the challenges facing low- and moderate-income families. The 2009 Innovation Summit brought together over 250 leaders in Washington, DC, in an interactive and unconventional gathering to work with one another to advance innovative solutions to pressing issues. In 2010, innovation@cfed will host the Innovation Marketplace, a virtual and in-person space reflecting the understanding that innovative ideas can be brought to scale only with engagement from a diverse group of individuals. The Innovation Marketplace will be hosted in conjunction with CFED's 2010 Assets Learning Conference, the largest national gathering of asset-building practitioners. The Conference will take place on September 22-24 in Washington, DC. To be part of innovation@cfed's community of innovators, please visit innovation.cfed.org.

 

Company/Organization Name: Cornerstone Corporation for Shared Equity, (http://www.csequity.org)

Contact: Margery Spinney, mspinney@csequity.org

Focus: housing, finance and access to capital

Hours contributed: 10000

Description of innovation:

Renter EquitySM is an alternative to homeownership for people who need affordable rental housing. Renter EquitySM links housing development and management with a wealth building tool for economically disadvantaged households. It was created to sustain housing values, stabilize neighborhoods and build wealth by bringing renters into the property system. People who need affordable housing typically have no savings and depend on public programs in emergencies. Renter EquitySM enables them to plan for personal and financial growth. As part of their lease contract, residents earn "equity credits" each month that their rent is paid on time, they attend the resident association meeting and complete work assignments that maintain and improve the common areas. Credits build on an amortized schedule and can be worth up to $10,000 in ten years. They receive a monthly statement telling them the value of the credits they have earned. After five years, they may withdraw cash or take out a loan using their credits as collateral. There is no restriction on how Renter EquitySM can be used but participants have used it to weather job loss, pay medical bills or education expenses, escape from predatory lenders, start a business or buy a home. Renter EquitySM works because it increases occupancy and rent collection rates above what is typical for rental housing, generating income that would not exist if operated as usual. This "added-value" is invested in a financial fund controlled by the manager that backs the renters' equity credits. The fund may also be capitalized with grants, donations or an operating reserve. The ability to make a contribution to the community, build assets and gain access to credit gives economically disadvantaged people real hope for a better future. Expanded, Renter EquitySM could be a foundation for growth in the national economy.

 

Company/Organization Name: The Steward's Staff, (http://www.stewardstaff.org)

Contact: John Mark Eberhardt, jmeberhardt@stewardstaff.org

Focus: education, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 100

Description of innovation: The Steward’s Staff mission is to empower youth and young adults through leadership development, community engagement, and positive reinforcement of self-esteem. Steward's Staff is unique in the fact that it is promoting diverse dialogues around ethnicity, socio-economic status and community during the adolescent years. The Steward’s Staff programming focus is on interpersonal development and community engagement. This programming differentiates The Steward's Staff from many organizations providing youth services, as we fully engage the input of our constituency with all of our services and programming, thus our tag, “Leading by being Led.” The Steward’s Staff aims to empower the next generation’s members of society and community and business leaders to think critically, ethically and with compassion. We aim to empower youth to build productive, sustainable communities through their care for their fellow man. To date, The Steward’s Staff has served over 320 youth, awarded 5 scholarships & 2 computers, and escorted 50 youth on a college tour in Tennessee. Further, our youth leadership program, The E.T.H.I.C.S. Society, won a $1,000 Youth Venture grant sponsored by Metro United Way, which we put to use immediately to assist the youth in hosting bi-monthly, youth-led forums demonstrating alternatives to participating in violent acts. The forums concluded with implementing an annual anti-violence conference held in the Spring. Ultimately, we seek to facilitate programming for at least 75% of JCPS middle and high schools, prior to expanding to national markets whom have expressed interest in our innovative programming.

 

Company/Organization Name: Corporacion de Desarrollo Economico de Ceiba,CD

Contact: Xiomara Enid Delgado, xiomara.chedco@gmail.com

Focus: housing, finance and access to capital, small business, asset development, workforce development, education, rural development, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 100

Description of innovation: Economic Development Center developed by the Corporacion de Desarrollo Economico de Ceiba,CD a non-profit organization dedicated to offer housing, finance and microentrepeneurship for people who want to initiate their businesses. In the last 6 years and with the economic downfall most if not all of the 16 townships that we cover have fallen drastically economically. Unemployment in the island ranges at 16% and in the townships we cover in the north and south eastern portion of the island we have towns that range up to 26%. Most of these townships urban streets are ghost towns and the few businesses that remain struggle to survive on a daily basis. Our initiative in CHEDCO is to rejuvenate and convert some of these townships urban streets into streets full of small markets that tend to the needs of their residents. This initiative of ours started in December when the islands governor initiated a massive layoff of government employees and about 17000 people joined the unemployment lines and an unacounted amount of indirect jobs and businesses were affected. Through our initiative we hope to spark entrepeneurship by being an incubator and taking these interested people from these towns and try to provide them with all the possible knowledge not only for them to become succesful business people but to also provide them with the technical, information and resources to help them be succesful and at the same time to have strong contingency knowledge based plans to help them thru any other economic pitfalls. Our initiative besides educating will also help to initiate networking in our centers and for these business people to be better educated and to be able to market their products, handle their inventories and to be on the lookout for new ventures and to compete effectively. This initiative will create employment in the areas affected and will create a mission between these entrepeneurs to be succesful. We have been bringing them seminars and classes in our center to accomplish such and within the year hopefully we will be able to add the necessary computers, library materials and more consultants, volunteers and Americorps members to help us accomplish this. As we develop the initiative we are also as an organization taking classes, reading books, interviewing people and applying for funds, equipment etc to be able to accomplish this.

 

Company/Organization Name: Breaking New Grounds, (http://breakingnewgrounds.org)

Contact: Sarah Fritschner, sfritschner@gmail.com

Focus: workforce development, education, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 200

Description of innovation: Breaking New Grounds is a nonprofit organization committed to job creation and economic development built on sustainable urban agriculture in areas sometimes referred to as Louisville’s “food deserts.” Breaking New Grounds starts with some of Louisville’s “waste,” including spent distillery grains, debris from coffee shops and wood chips and turns it into compost and worm compost, with which the organization can earn income and begin urban gardens. Volunteers, Dismas residents, Youthbuild teens and others work together to build gardens in empty lots in West Louisville, with the aim of improving the soil, raising food products for sale and consumption, and providing jobs. Breaking New Grounds’ growth will yield income through food sales, compost sales, worm-casting sales and educational seminars so that it can pay good salaries and provide meaningful work through sustainable agriculture in West Louisville. Breaking New Grounds signed a lease for headquarters with New Directions Housing Corp. in March 2009, and began a garden on the edge of Park Hill, and, in cooperation with Youthbuild and the California Collaborative, helped build a garden at New Directions’ Brandeis Apartments at 26th and Kentucky which will double in 2010. We are continuing our work with the California Collaborative to build more gardens in the neighborhood, considered a “food desert” because of inaccessibility to fresh produce and easy accessibility to fast food and snack foods. In Sept, 2009 we hosted a hoop-house building seminar with our mentor, MacArthur “genius award” winner Will Allen (growingpower.org) who taught participants how to build a hoophouse in order to extend our growing season and how to build an outdoor worm “nursery” to grow our “livestock” that will continue to turn waste into a high quality soil amendment, both of which enhance our ability to support ourselves and employ people.

 

Company/Organization Name: Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc., (http://www.cscdccaa.org)

Contact: Karen Phillips, kphillips@cscdccaa.org

Focus: housing, finance and access to capital, small business, asset development, rural development, comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 60

Description of innovation: We have a very innovative way of providing match funds for the Federal IDA program, Assets for Independence Act. After much conversation with the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith, Foundation they decided to provide the non-federal match for all IDA’s that were being used for education at UAFS. To date, they have donated $30,792 which was matched with $30,792 federal funds and another $15,396 in participants own savings. The Individual Development Account Program allows participants to save for their goals as they attend financial management classes to enable them to manage their money better. When they have saved their goal amount, their funds are matched $3 for every $1 they save (half of which must be non-federal match). The funds are then used for tuition and books.

 

Company/Organization Name: Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, (http://www.onsl.org)

Contact: Sean Thomas, sean@onsl.org

Focus: comprehensive community development

Hours contributed: 100

Description of innovation: Established in 1816, Old North has a rich and vibrant history. Old North St. Louis Restoration group is a distinct neighborhood on the edge of downtown. We are challenged with the need to create new methods to deal with large scale abandonment and severe economic decline. The goal is to recreate an urban village similar to the past but positioned for success in the future. Innovations include assembling sites and repurposing them for new uses; building relationships and collaborations based on trust; working to make good, healthy, and locally grown produce available; developing an approach to comprehensive neighborhood revitalization based on real estate finance; and using social enterprise to rebuild neighborhood retail.

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