Baltimore, Little Rock (AR), West Sacramento (CA) Receive Top Honors For Innovative Neighborhood Stabilization Programs
The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo Announce Winners of 2015 CommunityWINSSM Monetary Grants
June 21, 2015
Mayors Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore (MD), Mark Stodola of Little Rock (AR) and Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento (CA) have been recognized with top honors in the 2015 CommunityWINS — Working/Investing in Neighborhood Stabilization — Grant Program, administered by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation.
U.S. Conference of Mayors
Presented at Conference’s 83rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the awards include monetary grants to city-based non-profit organizations and recognize mayors for exemplary leadership in developing local programs that promote long-term economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for residents in three categories: neighborhood stabilization, economic development, and job creation.
An independent panel of judges, selected by The U.S. Conference of Mayors, determined the winning cities from a pool of 162 applicants in three populations groups — small, medium and large.
Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors commented, “Our 2015 CommunityWINS Grant Program gives the Conference an opportunity to showcase positive change happening now in our cities to make a difference in the lives of residents. We are grateful to Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation for their support of the CommunityWINS Program, which also highlights the talent and commitment of mayors and city governments.”
•Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was presented $300,000 on behalf of Civic Works, Inc. for its work with Growing Green Tracks Team — a collaborative effort to address blight and improve the city’s image of Baltimore as is seen by millions of passengers along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.
•Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola was presented $150,000 on behalf of Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind for its unique — Employment for Individuals Who Are Blind – Inclement Weather Outer Layer (IWOL) project – which offers employment for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, and provides funding for training and machinery accommodations.
•West Sacramento Mayor Chris Cabaldon was presented $150,000 on behalf of the West Sacramento Foundation in support of the FutureReady program, which connects students studying engineering, science and technology to work-based learning internships and job training.
Additional Outstanding Achievement awards were also presented to: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka on behalf of Newark Community Economic Development Corporation ($75,000); Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt on behalf of NeighborWorks Green Bay ($50,000); and Lima, OH Mayor David Berger on behalf of Lima-Allen County Neighborhoods in Partnership ($50,000).
The Grants were presented by Martin Sundquist, Executive Director, Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. Wells Fargo’s support makes the CommunityWINS℠ Program possible.
“Wells Fargo is delighted to collaborate with The U.S. Conference of Mayors to make these grants available for nonprofits and enable them to make vital improvements in their cities,” said Sundquist. “Wells Fargo cares about the communities we serve and we’re inspired by the tremendous interest in the inaugural CommunityWINS grant program that will add up to make a big difference in helping revitalize neighborhoods.”
Following are brief descriptions of the winning programs and grant amounts for each:
BALTIMORE, MD/ $300,000 to Civic Works, Inc.
Currently there are 16,000 vacant properties in Baltimore City – many along the Amtrak’s Northeast corridor that passes through the city. The Growing Green Tracks Team is a city-led collaborative that sees these vacancies as opportunities to strengthen and connect blighted communities through greening projects and reinvestment. Permanent enhanced greening sites including an integrated network of parks and squares, rain gardens, day-lighted streams, recreational trails, urban farms, wetlands, and community gardens, as well as public art will provide permanent community amenities, while “clean and green” site improvements and aesthetic boarding address problem areas to stabilize the neighborhoods and increase economic development potential. Civic Works’ Community Lot Team employs and trains individuals to transform vacant and abandoned lots into community gardens and green spaces. (250,000+ population)