Collaborative Effort To Attack NYC Poverty Areas

June 2, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

The New York City Change Capital Fund (CCF), a collaboration of 17 foundations and financial institutions dedicated to the revitalization of distressed New York City communities, has launched an initiative to harness the strength of community development corporations (CDCs) to reduce poverty in high-need New York City neighborhoods.

CCF is funding five New York CDCs to help them retool and refocus their strategies and business models to address persistent poverty more effectively. Each CDC will receive up to $1 million over four years and access to technical assistance as they implement new and refined approaches and improved outcome tracking systems that will equip the organizations to better demonstrate their results in a funding environment that pays for success. The selected CDCs previously participated in a planning process, also funded by CCF, in which they developed community-based, multi-disciplinary tactics to address systemic poverty and track measurable results.

Despite improvements to the physical conditions of many low-income neighborhoods and the reversal of the disinvestment experienced during the 1970s to 1990s, poverty and limited economic mobility remain obstacles to residents of very low-income communities. The poverty rates in the targeted neighborhoods range from 30 percent to more than 40 percent.

The five CDCs will integrate programs that most often operate in silos to multiply their impact; for example, residents of affordable housing may increase their financial literacy and job skills while their children benefit from support for school success and college access. The groups will act as anchors to a constellation of local, government, and private partners that will restore opportunity and address the roots of poverty in New York’s distressed neighborhoods.

Each grantee has been awarded a $250,000 grant, renewable for three additional years. Nonprofit Finance Fund and Public Works Partners will provide technical assistance to the grantees to refine their plans, further develop their revenue and business models, establish their tracking systems, and use evidence-based data to improve programs and demonstrate public benefits.

The donors selected these five groups to implement their business plans:

  • Community Solutions/Brownsville Partnership will orchestrate a 5,000 jobs campaign as the anchor for multifaceted services in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, which includes more than 4,000 apartments in public housing plagued with extraordinarily high poverty and crime.
  • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation will combine real estate development strategies that increase affordable housing and quality manufacturing jobs with a continuum of educational services that starts with school readiness and continues through college graduation for the residents of Cypress Hills and East New York.
  • Fifth Avenue Committee will work with Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, Red Hook Initiative, and the South Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation to improve educational and workforce outcomes for public housing residents, particularly for the young adults (18+) of Red Hook and Gowanus.
  • New Settlement Apartments will focus its poverty-reducing efforts on priority populations in the South Bronx, ensuring greater continuity and intensity of program participation and improving the coordination and efficacy of housing, education, and employment services.
  • St. Nicks Alliance will launch NABE 3.0, a new initiative integrating evidenced based employment, education and affordable housing strategies in a targeted high poverty North Brooklyn district. NABE 3.0 will facilitate partnerships with government and nonprofits in a coordinated outcome driven effort to increase.