NeighborWorks America – Strengthening Communities
Operating under the name of NeighborWorks America, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation is a non-profit, congressionally chartered organization dedicated to its mission of “revitalizing older urban neighborhoods by mobilizing public, private and community resources at the neighborhood level.” It is generally agreed that strong and stable communities are the backbone of a country, and in light of the ongoing turmoil of the global economy which has resulted in many job losses, communities need all the help they can get from individuals and authorities in a position to extend meaningful assistance.
Established in 1973 as the Urban Reinvestment Task Force, Congress formalized the organization as the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation in 1978, with the operating name of NeighborWorks America being adopted in 2005. As a non-profit organization, its key people generally offer their services, skills and experience on a volunteer basis. As at the beginning of 2010, the chairman is Thomas J Curry of the FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
NeighborWorks America offers financial support, technical assistance, and training with the purpose of revitalizing communities. Efforts of the organization are supported by both national and local partners, all with the common goal of “strengthening communities and transforming lives”. Current and ongoing programs directed by NeighborWorks America include National Homeownership Programs offering strategies to ensure sustainable homeownership for households with modest means. It also runs a program to assist homeowners facing foreclosure, as well as programs to strengthen physical, organizational, social and financial assets on an individual, family and community basis. Financial Fitness programs assist individuals and households to develop the necessary skills to handle personal finances and live within their budget.
There are over 230 community-based organizations on a national basis, with representatives in all 50 states working together with thousands of business people, government officials, local residents and other partners, such as banks, insurance companies, retailers and foundations. In keeping with the increased awareness of social responsibility, NeighborWorks launched it Green Agenda, with the slogan of “think green – act green”, in which communities focus on promoting environmentally sound practices in all aspects of life, with the most visible being the “greening” of community areas, parks and gardens.
Moving into the new decade, strategic goals of NeighborWorks include the creation and preservation of affordable housing and building stronger communities; building and sustaining a network of excellence include the promotion of innovative thinking; identifying under-served population and places and expanding services into these areas; and increasing capital investment in communities. Certainly, with community-based projects such as those promoted by NeighborWorks America, the future generation will have a good understanding that their individual actions can impact on their community, and on the country they call home, and will hopefully make their major decisions bearing this in mind.