The Community Revitalization Fellowship (CRF) is a learning opportunity to help cohorts of grassroots community leaders revitalize neighborhoods that are struggling with serious challenges related to vacancy, abandonment, and disinvestment.

Over the course of the Fellowship, Fellows visit each other’s communities and learn from each other’s efforts. They build stronger relationships with local leaders at home and they tackle important projects and push for positive changes in their neighborhoods.

Each year, CRF engages six Fellows who are grassroots resident leaders from three communities (eighteen people in total) for the yearlong Fellowship. The program involves three cross-community Learning Exchanges, a Revitalization Workshop for residents in each community, and ongoing capacity building and mentorship support from national experts and local partners.

CRF is designed as an opportunity for participating Fellows to: 

  • Gain knowledge about neighborhood stabilization and revitalization strategies, tools, and systems 
  • Lead an impactful neighborhood revitalization strategy or project 
  • Build connections with Fellows both within and across participating communities 
  • Strengthen relationships with local organizations, elected officials, and other local leaders 
  • Increase the effectiveness of their neighborhood interventions and advocacy 
The next CRF opportunity
will be announced in December 2021.

2021 CRF Communities

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

In Fitchburg, Massachusetts, CRF Fellows are working to revitalize the North of Main neighborhood. Their efforts focus on music, art, and community education to engage residents in the revitalization of vacant property including implementing, “Activate Mill Street” through the transformation of a forgotten alleyway. Their work also includes “Salsa on the Riverfront,” “Porchfest,” and the “We Love our City” campaign. 

NewVue Communities, who works to create strong, healthy neighborhoods where residents live, work, and invest, will serve as the Institutional Partner by providing guidance and mentorship to Fitchburg Fellows. Fellows include: 
Emmanuella J. Demosthenes; Sam Godin; Leandro Lopez; Thomas Moser, Evelina Paulino; Casey Taylor

Montgomery, Alabama

In Montgomery, Alabama, CRF Fellows will build on existing local collaborations between artists, writers, and business owners to revitalize neighborhoods across the city, including the King Hill neighborhood, home of well-known Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin. 

Friends of Montgomery Clean City Commission, which works to strengthen and empower neighbors to engage in community action, will serve as the Institutional Partner by providing guidance and mentorship to Montgomery Fellows. Fellows include:
Iesha Brooks; Kevin King; Wade Preston; Aquan Robinson; Ka-Santa Sanders; Rhonda Thompson

Reading, Pennsylvania

In Reading, Pennsylvania, CRF Fellows will build upon local creative placemaking efforts to improve the South of Penn neighborhood. Their existing efforts utilize the arts to engage neighbors in the co-creation of programs that transform vacant properties into community assets including dance performance space, playgrounds, and community gathering space for movie nights and block parties. 

Barrio Alegria, who focuses on leveraging community engagement and the arts to drive individual transformation, will serve as the Institutional Partner by providing guidance and mentorship to Reading Fellows. Fellows include:
Jeanette Buchanon; Kaylee Carpinteyro; Jose Garcia; Goldy Ghuman; Anthony Orozco, Morgan Thomas