In Rochester NY, Deborah Puntenney and her network are transforming the conventional wisdom about how foundation money can produce resident health outcomes. Eight years into the project with the Greater Rochester Health Foundation they are investing in the social determinants of health through grassroots, place-based and resident-driven efforts. This is not about more health services.
The foundation and a group of its grantees formed the Neighborhood Health Status Improvement Initiative, where four neighborhood groups are using Asset Based Community Development to work on health-related issues.
Deborah shares examples from an inner-city community in this conversation with Peter Block and John McKnight:
photo courtesy Pixabay.com
“We are here to change the paradigm, how you think, about public housing residents,” says Lashkela “Nikki” Steele, the Parliamentarian and Service Coordinator for J-Rab (Jurisdiction Resident Advisory Board) Inc. J-Rab advocates for social justice and represents more than 15,000 public housing residents.
Nikki shares how J-Rab’s business and service coordination center is working through the six “p’s” to prosperity. The first task is planning and looking at residents who have capacities and skills that are marketable. They are bringing resident-owned businesses together and supporting them. “There is good every single day that goes on (in public housing),” she says.
A mother of three and grandmother of 11, Nikki is a Sullivan Community College graduate and aspires to receive a Bachelor’s and then Master’s degree. Listen to her talk at the “Sanctuary as Jubilee” Community Forum and Conversation:
Part of Jubilee work is to change the narrative away from the predominant culture where people who don’t have wealth are considered broken. Peter Block says reconstructing our language and thinking involves changing how neighborhoods are measured.
He’s working on an economic neighborhood vitality index that measures the economic productivity of citizens and neighborhoods that are traditionally called broken, poor or untrained. Questions such as: What are you good at? What do you make/fix/care for? Where do you get money if you need to borrow it?
“That’s the real Jubilee idea,” says Peter, convener of the Jubilee Circle. “It’s not we’re going to write out a check and forgive the debts. It’s that we’re going to re-construct the narrative of who these neighbors are.”
He also shares about the need to welcome and get connected with people who are strangers. Peter was one of the speakers at The Economics of Compassion Initiative’s “Sanctuary as Jubilee” Community Forum and Conversation. Listen to more:
Cincinnati resident Ras TafarI shares about his own path to Jubilee and involvement with his building’s J-Rab (Jurisdiction Resident Advisory Board) – which advocates for social justice and represents more than 15,000 public housing residents. He shares about the impact of getting involved in J-Rab meetings, learning about being a section three resident and making community connections.
Ras is a father of 11 children, with 23 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is a recent graduate of Gateway Community College. Listen to more of his story from The Economics of Compassion Initiative’s “Sanctuary as Jubilee” forum:
How does the world we live in give rise to the need for sanctuary as Jubilee? In response to vulnerable community members and undocumented immigrants the Cincinnati faith community is knitting together a sanctuary movement, with roots after the Hebrew scriptures cities of refuge. Places of worship are viewed as a safe place, and 17 congregations are offering sanctuary.
Rev. Troy Jackson, Executive Director at the AMOS Project and former Senior Pastor at the University Christian Church, discusses how Jubilee involves a restoration of property and place and equalizing.
Listen to Rev. Jackson’s message from the Economics of Compassion Initiative’s “Sanctuary as Jubilee” forum:
What possibilities do worker-owned co-ops hold for an alternative economy? In the Basque region of Spain, Mondragon is the world’s largest group of industrial worker-owned co-operatives transforming the region from poverty to thriving and resilient communities. In Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI) is doing the same.
Michael Peck, co-founder of 1worker1vote.org and a North American Delegate for Mondragon, and Kristen Barker, president and co-founder of the CUCI, join Peter Block and John McKnight in a conversation about union co-op possibilities, successes and struggles. Listen to the full conversation:
“This integrated network of co-ops is one of the exciting things that is now coming to life in a much bigger way in the United States because of this Mondragon union co-op.” Kristen Barker
“Stakeholders are coming together who have decided that it’s time to re-own their own economy. It’s time to take their economic sovereignty back and they look to us as a way forward to do that, not just a pathway out of poverty, but a pathway to actual prosperity.” Michael Peck
Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative: https://www.cincinnatiunioncoop.org/
Upcoming event: National Union Co-op Symposium
World-renowned writer, speaker, and activist Parker J. Palmer talks about aging as an asset that is tied in with community development. Parker is co-founder of Center for Courage and Renewal. Parker talks about the need for meaningful, intergenerational activities, where seniors sit with school children or talk with young adults about their vocation and life calling. He shares about periods of struggle in his life and how a friend found a surprising way to provide comfort and connection.
“…this abundance we all have if we’re not afraid of each other, which is the abundance of simple presence to another human being.”
“When our circles gather, we say, rule number one is there shall be no fixing, no saving, no advising, and no correcting each other.”
“It doesn’t matter how old we are, the search for meaning and purpose never ends.”
Listen to the full conversation with Peter Block and John McKnight:
(Parker J. Palmer photo courtesy Center for Courage & Renewal)
David Mathews shares the story of a community where the schoolhouse’s paint was falling off. When a group of neighbors got together and repainted the school the purpose wasn’t about getting paint on the walls – but to demonstrate when people get together they can make a difference.
The Kettering Foundation’s primary research question is “what does it take to make democracy work as it should?” Research is conducted from the citizen’s perspective and explores what people can collectively do to address problems.
David shares these ideas and more in a conversation with John McKnight and Peter Block. Listen here:
Michelle Long, BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) executive director, shares the story of BALLE’s co-founder Judy Wick, who built the socially responsible White Dog Café in Philadelphia through sourcing based on relationships with the land and people in her community.
Founded in 2001, BALLE (pronounced “bahl-ee”) works with local businesses who want to collaborate for the good of their communities, and helps the communities share ideas in various places in North America.
BALLE formed a Community Foundation Circle for foundation leaders who want to see investments used to strengthen community economies. Traditionally, when a donor gives a community foundation gift, the money is placed as a community grant. People are waking up to using money for impact investments.
Listen to her full conversation with Peter Block and John McKnight:
City of Cincinnati solicitor Paula Boggs Muething joins Peter Block and John McKnight in conversation on what’s economically possible for poor and marginalized neighborhoods. (more…)
On Dec. 12, 2016, more than 60 callers listened to Peter Block and John McKnight reflect on their long history of working to building communities by focusing on gifts and connecting people. They discuss what ideas have endured and what questions remain. (more…)