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The City of White Plains has been selected to participate in the 'Love Your Block' grant program. The program is an initiative of Cities of Service, which was founded by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009 and is now part of Johns Hopkins University. White Plains was one of eight cities in the U.S. selected.
The goal of the Love Your Block program is to build stronger neighborhoods, one block at a time, through partnerships with community groups, neighborhood associations and residents to repair, remediate, or otherwise address negative neighborhood conditions. As part of the award, White Plains will receive $100,000 in funding over two years that will be used to: 1) Provide mini-grants to neighborhood and community groups to help them accomplish neighborhood or block-specific improvement projects, and 2) Fund a full-time Love Your Block Fellow whose job will be to work directly with the community to help identify and accomplish the projects. In addition, we will utilize one AmeriCorps VISTA service member who will work with the Fellow and the City to connect the core principles of the AmeriCorps VISTA program – anti-poverty, community empowerment, sustainable solutions, and capacity building – to the White Plains Love Your Block projects.
White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said, “Love Your Block represents a terrific opportunity for the City to work in partnership with residents to address neighborhood and block-level concerns. I am excited to see what these mini-grants will accomplish and thank Cities of Service and Johns Hopkins University for this funding.”
This grant award builds on the City’s multi-pronged approach to support and strengthen its neighborhoods through the coordinated and proactive efforts of several departments. These include the Cities Rise grant program, which focuses on improving code enforcement, the establishment of a Neighborhood Conditions Coordinator position to work directly with community members and act as a liaison between the community and the Building, Planning and Public Safety Departments, the Police Department’s Neighborhood Initiatives Unit, which concentrates on community policing and problem solving with residents, the Planning Department's Community Development Program that assists low income households and neighborhoods through housing rehabilitation, public services, and public facilities improvements, and the recent launch of the One White Plains Comprehensive Plan update process, which will include extensive community outreach that will build a shared community vision for the future of our city. These initiatives, along with Love Your Block, reflect the shared perspective of the Mayor and Common Council of building a strong and sustainable community in partnership with residents.
Council President Nadine Hunt-Robinson said, “As Council President and a resident of the Fisher Hill neighborhood, I am excited about our City being awarded the Love Your Block grant. The grant will further support our efforts to collaborate with community groups, as we continue to improve our City. Indeed, the Council Members and neighborhood associations have a robust history of partnering with the City on successful projects and this grant will help us build on our work.”
Council Member Victoria Presser said, “White Plains is one of just eight cities nationwide that will receive "Love Your Block" funding. Residents all over our city do indeed love their blocks, look after their neighbors, and take great pride in their community, working together for the betterment of all. This grant will help support those efforts, in concert with our dedicated and vibrant neighborhood associations and community groups. I am so pleased that once again, White Plains wins recognition for its strengths, and its promise."
Cities of Service officially announced the eight winning cities on Tuesday, September 14. In addition to White Plains, the other selected cities include: Salt Lake City, UT, Erie, PA, Nashua, NH, Albany, NY, El Paso, TX, Jackson, TN, and Shawnee, OK.
White Plains is looking to hire a Love Your Block Fellow!
Once we have our Love Your Block Fellow and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer on board, we will begin to develop our mini-grant program. Look for additional information in the coming months about Love Your Bock mini-grant opportunities.
About Love Your Block
Love Your Block is a Cities of Service grant program that brings city leaders and residents together to build stronger neighborhoods, one block at a time. Through the program, White Plains will award mini-grants to residents and community partners to reduce blight and spur neighborhood-driven change.
Since 2009, Cities of Service has helped nearly 50 cities implement Love Your Block. More than 26,000 community members have revitalized over 3,500 community spaces, creating nearly 750 art displays, cleaning 98,000 square feet of graffiti, removing 6 million pounds of trash, and much more.
A study by the Urban Institute found that Love Your Block helped cities fight blight by supporting resident-led projects and also formed reciprocal relationships between residents and city hall that helped spur citizen-centered innovations in policy and practice. The report built on an earlier Urban Institute report finding that the connections forged between city leaders and residents at the neighborhood level can be one of the most important catalysts for collective action by neighborhood residents. This connection between city officials and residents both boost the social capital exercised by residents who plan and implement Love Your Block projects and strengthen social cohesion.
About Cities of Service
Cities of Service helps mayors build stronger cities by changing the way local government and residents work together. We help our coalition cities tap into resident insights, skills, and service to identify and solve critical public problems. Founded in 2009 by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cities of Service supports a coalition of more than 280 cities, representing more than 84 million people across the Americas and Europe. Cities of Service is now part of Johns Hopkins University’s efforts to support governments through innovation and evidence-based research. Learn more about Cities of Service at citiesofservice.jhu.edu and by following us on Twitter @citiesofservice.
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