Tuesday, November 29, 2011

$3 Million from Wells Fargo Housing Foundation Will Bolster NeighborWorks Housing Education and Counseling

A $3 million grant from the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation will support a range of NeighborWorks America training initiatives. It will strengthen the ability of nonprofit community development professionals to help thousands of consumers better understand homeownership and how to avoid foreclosure.

Wells Fargo’s grant to NeighborWorks America supports training and scholarships for homeownership educators and housing counselors delivered through NeighborWorks Training Institutes; local place-based training opportunities around the U.S., and increasingly through NeighborWorks led e-learning courses. The grant period runs from October 1, 2011 through March 31, 2013.

“This grant from Wells Fargo is important to our ability to provide the latest information and training to housing counselors and other community development professionals,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, CEO of NeighborWorks America. “Importantly, this grant from Wells Fargo underlines its commitment to narrowing the gap for access to quality homeownership education, training and counseling.”

“Financial challenges are building for housing counseling services at a time when consumer demand for their help is growing,” said Kimberly Jackson, executive director of the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. “Wells Fargo believes homeownership education and counseling training and scholarships provided by NeighborWorks are critical to helping Americans as they face financial struggles that extend beyond their home payments and the country continues to work through the impacts of a challenging economy.”

Using various delivery methods to reach housing counseling practitioners, NeighborWorks America awards more than 12,000 training certificates each year in homeownership and community lending, and the demand for skilled professionals in homeownership education and counseling is not expected to decline.

Thank you to Wells Fargo for strengthening our training reach! Learn more here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Season to be Thankful

Please view this video from NeighborWorks Anchorage and take a moment to appreciate your life and those organizations that help people in need, not giving them a fish, but showing them how to fish for themselves.

NeighborWorks Anchorage is celebrating it's 30th anniversary and has used multimedia tools to show us the warmth of the human spirit, and remind us what a joy it is to work in community development.

View “Around the Kitchen Table”

Having trouble seeing the video plug in above?
Please view it here: http://vimeo.com/29818988

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NeighborWorks America Names Sarah McGraw Greenberg Director of Development

Sarah McGraw Greenberg, director
of Development, NeighborWorks America

Join us in congratulating Sarah McGraw Greenberg, who NeighborWorks America appointed as director of the Development Division. As director, Greenberg provides strategic leadership to NeighborWorks America's partnership and resource development efforts in support of NeighborWorks' mission to create opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities. Greenberg reports to NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald.

Prior to being named director of the Development division, Greenberg was senior manager for Community Stabilization at NeighborWorks. She led NeighborWorks America’s strategy to mitigate the impact of foreclosed properties on communities by creating and managing NeighborWorks America’s Stable Communities Initiative, and managing the corporation’s role in the creation of the National Community Stabilization Trust, a partnership with five other national housing intermediaries.

Learn more about Greenberg here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NeighborWorks America Assists New Orleans in Launching a $52 Million First Time Homebuyer Initiative

New Orleans’s Mayor Mitch Landrieu announces
the $52 Million First Time Homebuyer Initiative
at a press conference on October 27. NeighborWorks
Southern District Senior Program Coordinator Donna Tally
City of New Orleans’ Director of Housing Policy
Brian Lawlor are on the Mayor’s left.

NeighborWorks America’s Southern District is providing technical assistance to the City of New Orleans’ Office of Community Development to execute a $52.3 million soft second mortgage homebuyer assistance initiative that will provide hundreds of New Orleans families an opportunity to become homeowners. The initiative is designed to strategically promote homeownership opportunities for low and moderate income residents and families who are buying their first homes.

“We know that promoting and incentivizing homeownership is key in revitalizing our neighborhoods across the city,” said Mayor Landrieu at a press conference announcing the program on October 27. “This program will put Hurricane Katrina recovery dollars to use for their intended purpose – helping the citizens of New Orleans rebuild their lives and neighborhoods post-Katrina. It will also reduce blight and stimulate the local economy.”

Mayor Landrieu said that this has truly been a partnership between the public, private, faith-based and nonprofit sectors. He thanked all partners, including NeighborWorks America, for their role in getting the program up and running.

Southern District Senior Program Coordinator Donna Tally, under the leadership of District Director Donald Phoenix, created a partnership with City of New Orleans’s Director of Housing Policy Brian Lawlor to provide technical assistance for this initiative. NeighborWorks worked with the city’s staff to design, develop, and deliver the program, providing technical assistance to develop the underwriting criteria, the mechanics required to run the program, and the training for local lender partners.

“This is a great example of the power of partnership,” said Tally. “Mayor Mitch Landrieu put the right people together and things started happening. NeighborWorks America is proud to be part of the team that designed and delivered this program because our investment will pay exponential dividends for families and communities across the Crescent City.”

“The investment of these funds will help neighborhoods in New Orleans reach a tipping point in sustainability as the recovery continues,” said Phoenix. “NeighborWorks America’s Southern District is honored to play an instrumental role in the delivery of this program, the largest of its kind in the City of New Orleans. We look forward to an ongoing partnership with Mayor Landrieu and the City of New Orleans.”

The press conference announcing the soft second homebuyer initiative is available for viewing on YouTube.

A Glimpse Into the World of Community Development

Why Community Development? Why is it important and what does it take to succeed for the communities being served? Hear the answers directly from individuals who chose community development as a career path. Watch the video below, where the passion and dedication of those in this field are evident, then read the blog below from Nicholas Salerno, who’s just starting his career in community development at NeighborWorks America.

Careers in Community Development

Can't see the video plug in above? View it here: http://youtu.be/WkDR9X8M-vc 

The Beginning of My Journey in Community Development
By Nicholas Salerno
NeighborWorks America

During my sophomore year of high school, I had my life planned out: get my B.B.A in International Business, travel the world, have a high earning salary, “living the dream.” It was not until sophomore year of college where that “dream” meant something completely different.

I spent six months in Granada, Spain where I studied the Spanish culture and language. The original purpose of this experience was to learn the language and to minor in Spanish (for my resume). It ended up doing that but it also helped me learn more about myself. I came back to the States with new ideas and perspectives about myself and my own culture through new eyes. I planned on taking these new skills and knowledge and focus on issues we had domestically rather than continue my efforts internationally.

Through my new lenses, I noticed the racial tension that was in my community on the Southside of Chicago. I saw this as opportunity for myself to start a dialogue with residents at local nonprofits, food shelters and other organizations in the Chicagoland area to understand what is really happening. After gaining a better perspective, I realized that I did not have the tools needed in order to solve any problems or deepen the dialogue to a point where action could be put in place, so I decided to go back to school.

I’m currently completing my masters in Sustainable Development with a focus on community development and social action while working at NeighborWorks America. It is the first time in my life I feel passionate because the work I do is meaningful. I want to live in a community that is happy, safe and healthy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Opportunity Finance Network and Starbucks Collaborate to Create Jobs

Many people must have their cup of Joe to make it through the morning. Now they can contribute to a much needed cause while they are at it.

On November 1, almost 7,000 Starbucks stores across the country and the Opportunity Finance Network, a national coalition of more than 180 community development financial institutions (CDFIs), launched a fundraising initiative to kick start job creation in the U.S.
Through the initiative, Create Jobs for USA, Starbucks customers can make tax-deductible contributions to a fund to help local companies hire and retain workers.
One hundred percent of donations will go to the CDFIs to finance underserved community businesses—small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate developers, and affordable housing developers. All of these community businesses help to create and sustain local jobs.

More than 90 members of the NeighborWorks network are CDFIs. Related NeighborWorks capital corporations NeighborWorks Capital and Community Housing Capital are also CDFIs.

One organization that is making a difference both in housing and business lending is Community Ventures Corp (CVC), a Lexington-based member of the NeighborWorks network for ten years. CVC is the largest micro-enterprise business lender in the Small Business Administration system, making business loans as small as $500.

Kevin Smith, president and CEO of CVC said, “As a CDFI serving entrepreneurs throughout Kentucky, Community Ventures Corporation applauds the Opportunity Finance Network and Starbucks for creating space where small actions can pay great returns.”

Jennifer Vasiloff, executive vice president for policy at the Opportunity Finance Network is excited about the potential.

Create Jobs for USA has the potential to raise tens of millions of dollars and make more credit available all across the U.S,” Vasiloff said. “I never thought I would see a major corporation like Starbucks using its scale, the power of its brand, and its vast consumer marketing expertise to help people understand the concept of a CDFI. Millions will learn about these profit-making (but not profit-maximizing) nonprofit financial institutions that lend in underserved communities.”

The Starbucks Foundation is putting up $5 million to kick start the Create Jobs for USA campaign and is encouraging others to chip in. Customers who donate $5 or more will get a red, white and blue wristband with the message “Indivisible.”