Blog NKCDC National network supports NKCDC through trying year

NeighborWorks stands for equity

In 2017, NCKDC’s late executive director, Felix Torres-Colon, took a team of NKCDC staff to the first of many workshops on Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI). The workshop was hosted by NeighborWorks America, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1978.

NeighborWorks works with more than 245 local organizations across the country to help people live in affordable homes, improve lives and strengthen communities. It builds the skills, supplements the funding and amplifies the reach of organizations like NKCDC so we can achieve those goals together.

NeighborWorks believes what NKCDC has found to be true: we can’t bring economic prosperity to our neighborhoods or our city without addressing racism.

“One of the primary reasons I joined NKCDC was their organization-wide commitment to addressing trauma and racial equity,” said Dr. Bill McKinney, NKCDC’s new executive director. “I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the vast majority of training and support the organization has received in those areas have come through NeighborWorks America. I really appreciate NeighborWorks’ leadership in helping us to be effective and impactful in our work.”

As 2020 comes to a close, NKCDC is grateful to our national partner, NeighborWorks America, for their vision, wisdom and steady support during a challenging year.

NeighborWorks advances community leaders

NKCDC’s Community Connectors are local residents who receive support and training to become even better leaders on their blocks and in their neighborhoods. Part of their education is at the NeighborWorks’ Community Leadership Institute (CLI) an invitation-only, three-day event that strengthens the voices and skills of community, resident and volunteer leaders.

Participants from around the country attend in small teams. They take in a wide range of courses and each team creates an action plan for building positive change in their community. Many CLI projects become eligible for additional $4,000 grants from NeighborWorks America.

Learn more about becoming a NKCDC Community Connector here.

NeighborWorks trains NKCDC staff

NKCDC staff keep up to date with certifications and up to speed with industry trends through NeighborWorks Training Institutes (NTIs). The NTI is a five-day “mobile university,” held three times each year in major U.S. cities. NeighborWorks trains people from thousands of organizations, including professionals from large and small nonprofit, for-profit and government organizations. NKCDC staff take courses on:

  • affordable housing
  • community economic development
  • community engagement
  • construction & rehab
  • housing education & counseling
  • neighborhood revitalization
  • nonprofit management

No other organization matches the breadth, depth and focus of NeighborWorks in this field.

NKCDC housing advisors are among the NKCDC staff who rely on NeighborWorks training for skills and certifications.

NeighborWorks connects organizations for mutual learning

Between 2018 and 2019, NKCDC was one of six community development organizations convened by NeighborWorks America for a “learning community” about trauma-informed community development. On the NKCDC website you can find our introduction to trauma-informed practices, and why they are increasingly being adopted by development organizations.

In 2020, NKCDC’s Economic Development team teamed up with Portside Art Center as part of a learning community to strengthen the connection between artists, businesses and community youth. Working with Port Richmond Savings Bank, Portside Arts Center kids created ‘mini murals’ in the form of $100 bills to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the bank. As part of the project, the children took a field trip to the bank to meet with staff and learn about banking—and of course walk inside the vault! The murals will be hung in the bank’s lobby when Covid-19 risks decline.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Portside Arts Center kids created ‘mini murals’ in the form of $100 bills to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of Port Richmond Savings Bank.

Nearly 20 years of steady support

NKCDC became a NeighborWorks partner organization in 2001, and we remain the only NeighborWorks member organization in Philadelphia today.

In a time of financial turbulence, NKCDC is grateful to NeighborWorks for an important annual grant toward our operating expenses. NeighborWorks also provides special grant assistance for technical upgrades, like our move to the Microsoft 365 platform this year. And it lends support in major transitions, like our successful search for an executive director that resulted in hiring Dr. Bill McKinney in November.

“The community of leaders across the country, especially in times of crisis, has been really important to me,” said NKCDC’s director of resource development, Bea Rider, who served as interim executive director after the death of Felix Torres-Colon in February, and through eight months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“NKCDC, and myself, received a lot of support and comfort from knowing similar organizations across the country were dealing with the same challenges,” she said.

Thank you, NeighborWorks, for your steady support!