New City Builders

It’s a dilemma that has burned consistently for the past 15 years: who will be the leaders of community development in the next decade? How can the Community Development Council nurture talent for the challenges and opportunities ahead?

In 2015, I began helping CD Council answer that by launching a training program for new leaders. The eight candidates in the first cohort of the program (listed below) began in April with a three part curriculum introducing them to the rigor and complexity of running a community development corporation. Candidates have to be nominated by an executive director or other officer in an existing CDC.

The program starts with a “buddy system” that pairs up New City Builders to spend time at each other’s places of business over two months. In this way, candidates get a dose of work in another neighborhood and reap the insight of working alongside their partner and staff in a different CDC.

The second part of the curriculum is a monthly two hour course on the skills necessary to lead a fully staffed and effective agency. These courses include nonprofit financials, housing strategies, grant writing, and board governance. The New City Builders are taught primarily by existing CDC executives who can translate theories of community development into personal stories.

Finally, the group will meet with other young leaders (such as cohorts in the Leadership Memphis program) and work on special projects with CD Council partners. This year’s Limbo Project will thrust these young leaders into growing efforts to establish a more strategic land bank authority for our area. Members of the 1st Class of New City Builders:

Charia Jackson, Foreclosure Counselor with Frayser Community Development Corporation

Velma Maclin, Housing Manager for Promise Corporation

Noah Gray, Executive Director for Binghampton Development Corporation

Jared Myers, Executive Director of the Heights Development Corporation

Amy Schaftlein, Development Director for United Housing

Crystal Chopin, Program Manager for Oasis of Hope

Tameka Greer, Program Manager for South Memphis Alliance

Rebecca Hutchinson, Soulsville, USA BNCP Site Director for Community LIFT

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