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Neighborhood News

Volume I, Issue 3, September 1997

East St. Louis Community Action Network Completes Summer Youth Employment Project

20 East St. Louis Youth Hired for Neighborhood Clean Up Activities

The East St. Louis Community Action Network (ESL CAN) hired 26 youth ages 16-21 from East St. Louis to participate in neighborhood improvement projects this summer in the Olivette Park and Edgemont neighborhoods.

The team of youth workers began on Monday June 30th by sprucing up the Bolden Community Garden in Olivette Park. The first four weeks of the program were spent cleaning up vacant lots at various other locations throughout Olivette Park which runs from Collinsville Avenue to 25th street and between State Street and St. Clair Avenue. The work locations were chosen by the Olivette Park Neighborhood Association.

Ms. Mamie Bolden, President of the Olivette Park Neighborhood Association, said "For this being the first time we have ever done anything like this, the project turned out to be a great success". She added, "The kids worked very hard and showed us that projects like this are needed and appreciated, it really makes me look forward to next year."

The second four weeks of the program were spent in the Edgemont neighborhood which runs from 78th Street to 89th Street. The program ended on Friday, August 22nd.

In both of these neighborhoods, the participants worked on a variety of open space improvement projects, including clearing vacant lots, playground construction, landscaping, and park enhancement efforts. The crew of workers were supervised by James Jones and

Rodney Lewis. The supervisors helped the youth organize their work and complete assigned tasks on time.

"The program was successful because we were lucky enough to have 26 kids who were concerned about their community and were willing to participate" said Jones. "They were willing to make a difference."

The program also provided a career and college exploration seminar. This aspect of the program was designed so that the participants had time to reflect on some of the career or academic options that they may pursue after high school. The seminar included a field trip to the University of Illinois, videos, and guest presenters.

The project was co-sponsored by ESL CAN, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Olivette Park Neighborhood Association, and the Edgemont Neighborhood Association. The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and USDA Forest Service and Urban Resource Partnerships funded the project.

For more information, please contact James Jones at ESL CAN at 271-9605. The next ESL CAN meeting is Saturday, Sept. 21st at 1 p.m at MCC.

The Grantsmanship Center to offer a Grant Writing Workshop

Training Sponsored by NTAC on December 8-12, 1997

Many non-profits and citizens are taking action in East St. Louis to combat deteriorating physical and social conditions in their community. The Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center helps those groups and individuals by providing quality information, consultation and resources. Part of that mission includes providing training which will allow community based organizations to reach a high level of organizational capacity in order to implement increasingly complex community development projects.

The NTAC is in the process of devising a year long training schedule for community based organizations in East St. Louis. We invite all community based organizations to submit ideas for training topics or workshops. This grantwriting workshop is the third in a series of Fall workshop. The first two workshops will be on computers/Internet and non-profit management.

The Grantsmanship Center has agreed to come to East St. Louis and hold a five day Grantsmanship Training Program beginning December 8 -12, 1997. This program takes you step by step through all the stages of planning programs, locating funding sources and writing grant proposals. It will teach you how to locate grant support from foundations, corporations and funding sources. It also covers the latest developments in on-line grant information systems and the Internet.

The core of the training is hands on work you will do developing proposal elements that pertain to your own agency's programs. At the same time, you will gain insight into what proposal reviewers are looking for as you become a reviewer yourself, evaluating the proposals of other participants.

Finally, in a small working group, you will prepare a complete grant proposal, identify potential funding sources for it, and present it to the class for review. In addition, participants will have access to The Grantsmanship Center's staff for one year after training for help in reviewing proposals and devising fundraising plans.

Katherine Dunham Centers Offer Free Access to the Internet

Benton Foundation and the NEA Award Open Studio Grant

The Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities was recently awarded a grant from the Benton Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts under their Open Studio project. Open Studio, created in 1996, is the first national initiative to help arts organizations serve their communities through the Internet.

Over 250 arts and community organizations and 200 artists will contribute to Open Studio, either through its access or mentoring sites, working together to increase the amount and quality of artistic and cultural materials available on-line and to make that material accessible to more people.

The Dunham Centers were selected as part of a competitive proposal process. The Dunham submitted a proposal in January, that was reviewed by the Open Studio National Advisory Group, and others experienced in both communications technology and the arts. As an Open Studio participant the Dunham Centers will offer free public access to the World Wide Web at 532 N. 10th Street during the week and on Saturdays.

The Katherine Dunham Centers hope to build a bridge between itself and the community by offering free public access to the Internet and

by demonstrating how the Internet can provide an affordable and accessible cultural landscape. At the access site, the public can learn more about the arts and culture without having to travel to a distant fine arts museum. In addition, the Dunham Centers hopes that free access to the Internet will draw new audiences into arts and cultural institutions.

Several additional public computing sites are located throughout the city. The public can access the Internet at the NTAC office and Mt. Sinai Church in addition to the Katherine Dunham Centers.

Illinois Facility Fund Visits East St. Louis

Presents Loan Program Option for Non- Profits

On June 17, two members of the Illinois Facility Fund visited East St. Louis and held a public presentation about the organization and its services. The Illinois Facility Fund (IFF) is a statewide nonprofit financial and real estate development corporation.

The IFF's programs strengthen other non profits through capital improvement planning and financing through specialized real estate development. The IFF makes below market loans for building related projects to nonprofit human service and community development agencies, and assists agencies with related management and financial planning.

Originally, the IFF only targeted human service agencies through below-market loans for facility expansion, acquisition of property, renovation or rehabilitation, critical or deferred maintenance needs, and energy conservation improvements.

Today, the IFF's market is broader- it includes all non-profits providing social support programs that strengthen communities and support low-income individuals and families. Loans range from $20,000 to $500,000. Central to the loan evaluation process is a complete review of the applicants programs, financial health, and future plans.

As of October 10, 1996, the IFF has approved 113 loans totaling $20.9 million for human service agencies throughout Illinois since 1990. Funding for IFF programs comes from foundations, banks and corporations. Operating expenses are covered by interest earnings on loans and grants.

In addition to the loan program, IFF also offers a Consulting and Technical Assistance program to help non profit organizations with: site review and assessment, space allocation and program planning, financial planning, facility project management and maintenance and operations.

Descriptions of the IFF's different loan programs and a copy of the Loan application are available at the NTAC. You may also contact the IFF directly at 312-629-0060.

Neighborhood-Based Family Housing Program

4 New Homes Built in Emerson Park and Olivette Park Neighborhood by Non-Profit Partnership

On June 28, 1997 at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, two East St. Louis families were given the keys to their respective brand new homes. A dedication ceremony was held to celebrate the work of a coalition of community-based organizations who pulled together to build four new homes in the Emerson Park and Olivette Park neighborhood. Two homes were built in Emerson Park at the corner of 14th street and Winstanley Avenue in early summer. And just a few weeks ago, two homes at the corner of 8th and Summit Avenue were completed in Olivette Park.

In East St. Louis, thousands of families are forced to live in substandard and over-crowded housing, often without adequate plumbing or heating. In an effort to remedy this problem the Neighborhood-Based Family Housing Program(NBFHP) was developed. The Catholic Urban Programs, the Lessie Bates Neighborhood House, the Emerson Park Local Development Corporation, the East Side Heart and Home Corporation, First Illinois Bank and Community Development Consultants joined together to build new homes.

The first two homes were constructed with the help of over 200 volunteers from churches, neighborhood organizations, businesses and civic groups from throughout East St. Louis, and the St. Louis area. Construction of these homes was completed during the last two weeks of June. Prior to the actual construction period though the coalition had been busy planning the development for six months. The second phase of construction began on August 4th in Olivette Park.

The goal of the program is to develop decent, affordable housing that is efficient and cost effective for very low income and low income families in East St. Louis. The program utilized volunteer labor and existing private resources to build the homes. The NBFHP is also helping eligible families obtain a conventional mortgage in order for them to become homeowners.

The families that were chosen for the program were already participants in a family self-sufficiency program in collaboration with one of the participating agencies. The families are working, female head of household families who will be taking out 30 year mortgages to buy the homes.

The Emerson Park and Olivette Park neighborhoods were chosen because of the long term commitment which several of the participating organizations have in these neighborhoods and because of the grass roots commitment of the local neighborhood organizations.

For more information, please contact Vickie Forby, Director of the Emerson Park Development Corporation at 874-0777.

Corporation for National Service Announces Grant for Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day

Grants for up to $5,000 available to non-profits

The Corporation for National and Community Service seeks to mobilize more Americans to observe the MLK Federal Holiday as a day of service in communities and to bring people together around the common focus of service to others.

The Corporation is authorized to pay for the Federal share of the cost of planning and carrying out service opportunities in conjunction with the Federal legal holiday. Non-profit organizations may apply for grants up to $5,000 for service projects.

Activities supported by these grants will (1) get necessary things done in communities, (2) strengthen communities engaged in the service activity, (3) reflect the life and teaching of Martin Luther King, Jr., and (4) begin to occur in significant part on the Federal legal holiday.

The deadline for applications is September 30, 1997. A copy of the application can be obtained from the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center.

Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)

Program provides volunteer labor for service projects

The NCCC seeks collaboration in the performance of service projects in the areas of education, the environment, public safety, other unmet human needs and disaster relief.

The NCCC is an Americorps program for the Corporation for National and Community Service. NCCC engages 18 to 24 year old men and women of diverse social, economic and educational backgrounds, in teams of approximately 12 with a team leader, to conduct service projects across the nation. Projects are typically six to eight weeks in duration; the period of service for larger, more complex projects can be extended.

Private nonprofit organizations, governmental entities at the Federal, state and local levels, educational institutions, community-based organizations, and Native American Tribal Councils are eligible to submit proposals. Proposals are accepted, reviewed, and approved with consideration for compelling need, geographical distribution, availability of teams, and NCCC costs related to team deployment.

There is no charge for the services of an NCCC team or its transportation; however, collaborating organizations are expected to provide the necessary materials, equipment and technical supervision for projects as well as food and lodging if the project is located 90 minutes or more from an NCCC campus. NCCC does not provide financial grants of any kind in association with this program.

For more information, please contact: Americorps NCCC Central Region Campus, Attn: Ms. Karen LaBat, Director of Projects and Training, 1059 Yosemite Street, Building 758, Room 213, Aurora, CO 80010, (303-340-7305).

University of Illinois Community Outreach Weekends

Over 300 students will volunteer this Fall

The summer is almost over and it is about that time again when the University of Illinois returns to full operation and all of the students return to campus. As many of you are aware, for the past five years the East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP) has been providing assistance to neighborhood and community-based organizations working on community development projects.

One of the functions of the ESLARP and NTAC is to help groups complete projects which require a large number of volunteers. In order to do this, the NTAC is asking each organization that would like volunteers to assist on projects to submit a Community/Campus Volunteer Improvement Project Planning Sheet to the NTAC. The forms are available at the NTAC.

It is important to note that the University will try to accommodate as many requests as possible, but those projects that are not supported by the community organization will not be scheduled. It is important that these projects be undertaken in the truest sense of the word "partnership". This means that project proposals that are submitted must show resident participation.

The dates for the Fall of 1997 University of Illinois Volunteer Work Weekends are as follows:

Students will arrive around 10 a.m. on Friday and will work until 5 p.m. and then return at 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday each weekend.

Scholarship For Women Returning to College Available from Talbot's

Jackie Joyner-Kersee Supports Fund

Talbots, a leading retailer and cataloger of women's classic apparel, has established a distinctive $100,000 scholarship fund for women returning to college to complete their bachelor's degrees. Talbot's Women Scholarship Fund, the company's first scholarship program, will award five women $10,000 scholarships and fifty women $1,000 scholarships for undergraduate study beginning in the Fall of 1998. The Fund will be directed to women who have been out of school for at least five years.

Talbots has formed a Board of Judges to select the five $10,000 scholarship recipients. Board members include Ellen Ford, founder of the multi-million dollar Ford Models agency, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, three-time Olympic gold medalist and founder of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Foundation; and Dawn Upshaw, internationally acclaimed soprano and winner of numerous awards including the Grammy.

Applications for Talbots Women's Scholarship Fund will be available in all U.S. Talbots stores October 1 and must be postmarked by December 1, 1997. The nearest Talbots store is located at Plaza Frontenac in St. Louis, MO at South Lindbergh and I-64/40.

Volunteer Center Proposed: Citizen Input Needed

Over the last past few months, a group of about 15 people from the Greater East St. Louis area have met to discuss ways to enhance citizen participation in community improvement projects and organizations.

Why do we need a Volunteer Center?

The concept of establishing a Volunteer Center to help promote volunteerism in East St. Louis has been the focus of these meetings. These meeting were initially convened by the Casino Queen. The Casino Queen's Public Relations Department has taken an active role in spearheading this initiative.

A Volunteer Center would provide such services as:

How can I get involved?

No specific plans have been made regarding the structure of this Volunteer Center. The planning committee is currently working on collecting the results of a city-wide survey which was used to gain input from local organizations. Those responding to the survey will be called upon to provide further input as to their volunteer management assets and needs and will have the opportunity to help shape the direction and scope of the Volunteer Center.

If you would like to be a part of the planning committee, please contact either Jackie Smith of the Casino Queen (800-933-2724) or Melinda McAliney of the United Way at (314-539-4284).

Executive Director, Citizens for the Future, Inc.

Exciting Opportunity to start up and lead largest not-for-profit provider of low-income housing in East St. Louis, Illinois with recently acquired large inventory of occupied and abandoned bond-for-deed properties. Develop and manage home ownership counseling program for residents and program for rehab and development of abandoned properties and loan servicing, and secure funding for future affordable housing development.

Very strong housing development/financing skills required; property management and grantsmanship experience and experience working with a not-for profit board of directors strongly preferred; minimum of two years experience. Full-Time twelve month appointment with possible extension subject to funding availability; salary $30,000-$35,000 plus benefits.

Please send resume and three work references by closing date of October 15, 1997 to : Citizens of the Future, Inc., P.O. Box 2678, East St. Louis, IL 62202.

1997 Urban Resource Partnership Grant Recipients

Ceremony Held to Honor Grantees

On September 10, 1997, the Urban Resource Partnership and local mayors formally announced the grant recipients for the 1997 Urban Resource Partnership Grants. The presentation of the awards was held at one of the project sites, Wirth Middle School in Cahokia, at 1:30 p.m.

Urban Resource Partnership is a joint effort of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, USDA Forest Service, USDA Extension Service, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, USDI National Park Service, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, East St. Louis EcoSystem Council, and Metropolitan Community College.

The partnership is designed to facilitate interagency cooperation in the development of improved natural resource planning and management strategies to meet economic and social needs in the East St. Louis metropolitan area.

The 1997 East St. Louis Metropolitan Area URP's will be providing technical assistance and grants totaling $500,000 to nine organizations. All of these organizations will undertake projects that enhance, restore, and sustain urban ecosystems in the Metro East.

The 1997 grantees include the following:
Wirth Middle School-Cahokia Unit School District #187
Project Title: Blooming Warriors
Grant Amount: $50,000
Activities: Expansion of a community garden to a second site. Tree planting program. Preservation of a wetland. Educational programs for children.

Carver Community Center
Park and Playground Project
Grant Amount: $10,000
Activities: Landscaping improvements at the former Carver School. Renovation of playground near the center.

East St. Louis Community Action Network (ESL CAN)
Project Clean Sweep II
Grant Amount: $50,400
Activities: Summer youth employment project. Clearing and cleaning lots. Graffiti removal. Educational programs in the areas of horticulture, landscape design and graphic art.

Catholic Urban Programs
Neighborhood Law Office
Grant Amount: $37,200
Activities: work with neighborhood groups to file lawsuits and requests for lot clean-up or demolition of code violation property.

Emerson Park Development Corporation
Emerson Park Revives, Reduces, Recycles!!
Grant Amount: $100,000
Activities: composting, community garden, playground development within a nine block target area.

Katherine Dunham Center for Arts and Humanities
Katherine Dunham Artisanal Village
Grant Amount: $75,000
Activities: landscaping and beautification of Museum grounds, renovation of outdoor recreational park for community performances, environmental education and green space.

Lansdowne Improvement Association
Project Lansdowne: Block by Block
Grant Amount: $100,000
Activities: Cleaning and clearing 60 square blocks volunteer professionals provi and expand 10 pocket parks and playgrounds, and plant flowers.

Neighbors United for Progress
Neighbors Place Tree Planting/Beautification Initiative
Grant Amount: $7,900
Activities: Tree planting in and surrounding a new residential development in Centerville, IL. Development of a corner lot for green space and an entry way for the development.

Village of Brooklyn
Village in Transformation
Grant Amount: $29,300
Activities: Enhancing community sites through landscaping and beautifying streets, road sides, playgrounds and public buildings and grounds.

Neighborhood News is published six times per year by the University of Illinois East St. Louis Action Research Project and the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center. The East St. Louis Action Research Project is a cooperatively managed community assistance and development program of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 1990, faculty and students from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, the Department of Landscape Architecture and the School of Architecture have worked in cooperation with the College of Agriculture's Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, municipal agencies and East St. Louis neighborhood groups to find solutions to pressing social, economic and environmental problems.

The University of Illinois East St. Louis Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) provides organizational, planning and design assistance to the increasing number of residents and neighborhood organizations active in physical, economic or social development projects that enhance the quality of life in East St. Louis. For more information or to submit news: phone 618-271-9605, FAX 618-271-9651, e-mail: panolan@primary.net.

For other issues see Archives

Document author(s) : Patricia Nolan
Last modified: 20 October 97, Abhijeet Chavan