Welcome to the Capacity Building Bulletin, a newsletter and recap of BLDG Memphis' Capacity Building initiatives!
BLDG Memphis Welcomes Capacity Building Navigator
Many of you already know Alexus Hubbard from her work with the Community Navigator Pilot Program. We are proud to announce that her responsibilities have been expanded to include more general capacity-building work. Her new title is BLDG Memphis Capacity Building Navigator. You will engage with her during workshops, work plan meetings, and other activities of the capacity-building team.
New City Builders is in Full Swing
New City Builders had been one of BLDG Memphis’ signature programs for several years, but COVID forced the staff to place it on hiatus. Now it’s back!
This year the program seeks to provide an introduction to the community development space for individuals who are just starting in community development. We have a dynamic class that is made up of community activists, housing developers, project managers from architectural firms, health and wellness activists, and other folks who are eager to get started in community development.
So far, the cohort has completed an introductory class, which provided an overview of the major areas of community development. The group has also completed class work around affordable housing and performed a site visit to United Housing’s model home in Frayser. In the coming months, the participants will explore real estate development, small business, and advocacy issues in community development.
Capacity Building Continues Workshop Series
The Capacity Building Team has continued its workshop series over the last quarter.
Olliette Murry-Drobot led a three-workshop series which were particularly well received. In this series, she covered board development, strategic planning, and community engagement. Importantly, she addressed all of these crucial areas through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.
Our members also benefited from our “Accessing and Utilizing Neighborhood Data” workshop. In this workshop, Austin Harrison of Rhodes College provided the attendees with invaluable knowledge on how to find, analyze, and incorporate the most current neighborhood data in their program development and strategic planning.
Finally, our August workshop focused on project feasibility and proforma development. Tim Rollins of Cushman and Wakefield Commercial Advisors emphasized the importance of solid proforma development as part of any CDC’s project development. He provided real world examples and helped the attendees anticipate the issues that they would be faced with as they attempted to obtain funding for their projects.
Many members have told us how they have benefited from our monthly lunch and learn series. So BLDG Memphis continued to provide these informal learning opportunities throughout the last several months. Mary Ward of Promise Development Corporation discussed Community Housing Development Organizations. Williams Brack of Regions Bank shared his insights around the Community Reinvestment Act. Also, Lauren Jones and Hailey Lovelace of Butler Snow Law Firm discussed the importance of well-drafted employee handbooks. Finally, BLDG Memphis’ own Bret Bilbrey taught our members how they can leverage social media to amplify their work.
Community Navigator Pilot Program is on Track
The Community Navigator Pilot Program is picking up steam! BLDG Memphis’ Community Navigators, Alexus Hubbard and Markuitta Washington have been working with 7 BLDG Memphis CDCs to develop small business outreach programs. The foundations of these ever-growing programs include:
- Entrepreneurial training- content around business formation, operation, marketing, and financial management.
- Access to Capital- connecting business and the banking community for the purpose of making financial resources available to these emerging entrepreneurs.
- Strategic Outreach- to develop better relationships between neighborhood entrepreneurs and the community development corporations in the program.
In August, BLDG Memphis hosted a gathering of the CDCs and potential partners. These partners included several from the banking community, including BancorpSouth, First Horizon, and River City Capital. These partners are crucial to this program because most of the businesses being served will need access to capital to help them scale up their operations. Relationships with these partners are important because of the hundreds of thousands of Community Reinvestment Act dollars that go utilized each year. Lending and granting are key to revitalizing disinvested communities and this gathering inspired some great ideas for collaboration. If the robust discussions were any indication, there are some amazing things in store!
The Community Navigator Pilot Program will run through the end of 2023. Through this program, each spoke will have the opportunity to establish a small business initiative within its organization. As CDC’s are usually located in disinvested neighborhoods, engagement with small businesses is key to economic growth and neighborhood stability.
Watch your Inbox! National Census Survey of Community Developers
BLDG Memphis is a proud partner in a national study of community-based development organizations – the Grounding Values Study. The results will provide high-quality data to increase support for your work. It includes the first national census survey of community developers since 2005.
“I urge each and every community-based development organization to complete this national census survey,” said Deveney Perry, Executive Director. The survey will ask you to provide information about your production, programs, barriers, leadership, and needs and takes. On average, it takes 30 minutes to complete. The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) hired the Urban Institute to conduct the study.
Watch for a survey invitation from the Urban Institute. The subject line is: “Request to Participate: National Survey of Community-Based Development Organizations.” NACEDA and the Urban Institute tracked down nonprofit community developers across the United States to send individualized survey links. The deadline to complete the survey is October 21.
The first respondent from each state will receive a $25 Visa gift card. All other respondents will be entered into a random drawing – and 100 of them will win a $100 Visa gift card.
What are You Up To?
The Capacity building team wants to know what you’re up to and what you have planned for the next year. We also want to see how you’ve progressed with your capacity building plans. Please PICK A TIME HERE to chat with Chris and Alexus. Talk to you soon.