The Center for Community Progress’ Community Revitalization Fellowship 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.
Each year, six resident leaders from three communities (eighteen people in total) are selected as fellows. They participate in learning exchanges in each other’s communities that feature a mix of technical and leadership trainings as well as local neighborhood tours. Fellows also develop strategies or projects to improve vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties in their neighborhoods.
Throughout 2022-23 the Community Revitalization Fellowship will focus on helping residents lead community-based efforts to improve vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties specifically through the practice of creative placemaking.
The Community Revitalization Fellowship is designed as an opportunity for participating fellows to:
- Gain knowledge about neighborhood stabilization and revitalization strategies, tools, and systems
- Lead a strategic and impactful 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 effectiveness of resident-led neighborhood interventions and advocacy
By participating in the program, fellows will be better equipped to advocate for and lead change that improves vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties through creative placemaking in their own neighborhoods. The fellowship will also build the capacity of a key institutional partner in each of the communities to provide ongoing local support to the fellows and their neighborhoods.
Who is on the ideal application team?
The ideal application team is organized by an institutional partner — a community foundation, land bank authority, or any established nonprofit organization with a 501(c)3 designation — that has a DEMONSTRATED COMMITMENT to addressing community and economic development challenges, and that routinely works to ensure that residents are meaningfully engaged in or leading these efforts. The institutional partner must have broad community connections, knowledge of racial equity challenges, and be willing to help strengthen relationships between fellows and local stakeholders.
The ideal application team also includes SIX individual fellows. These should be people from the community who are ACTIVE in revitalization and/or creative placemaking efforts with experience with vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. Preferably they are involved in these projects outside of their professional work.
- Three learning exchanges for fellows in each of the three cohort communities
- A Virtual Revitalization Workshop for a broad group of stakeholders in each community
- Opportunity to attend Community Progress’ Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference
- $10,000 for a creative placemaking project designed by the fellows and $4,000 to support institutional partners’ leadership in the program
Thanks to the generous support from the Oak Foundation, tuition is on us! Travel, lodging, and on-site meals are also included. Fellows will receive a $230 stipend for their participation in each learning exchange. Institutional partners will receive a $4,000 in funding to support their leadership in the program and $10,000 to administer a create placemaking project.
How to Apply
Applications are due by Friday, February 25, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. EST. More information about the application process and how to submit your application are included in the full Request for Applications.
2021 CRF Communities
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
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
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