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Building Neighborhood Capacity Program: Findings From Flint, Fresno, Memphis and Milwaukee: Final Formal Assessment

NCJ Number
Prudence Brown; Leila Fiester
Date Published
March 2015
63 pages
This report presents the final observations and recommendations for the cities (Flint, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; and Milwaukee, WI) participating in the BJA (Bureau of Justice Assistance)-sponsored Building Neighborhood Capacity Program (BNCP), a program for planning, implementing, and sustaining revitalization efforts intended to improve the lives of residents, with a focus on poor neighborhoods that historically have faced barriers to revitalization.
This report concludes that the BNCP has fulfilled the broad purpose for which it was designed, i.e., it targeted eight high-need neighborhoods and tested a results-based planning approach for building their capacity to compete effectively for Federal and other investments. After 2 years, there is much evidence of improved capacity that has resulted from the engagement of many different neighborhood, city, and national players in the capacity-building effort. The neighborhoods and cities participating in BNCP benefited from the program's support for dedicated staff, its connections to and support from well-respected anchor organizations and/or powerful cross-sector partners and its status as a national initiative with multiple Federal partners and support from a technical assistance team. Three implementation principles are recommended in going forward. First, treat neighborhoods as embedded in a larger social/political dynamic that needs to be leveraged for maximum impact and sustainability. Second, adapt BNCP to build opportunistically on local energy and assets, both neighborhood and citywide. Third, work expansively and strategically with diverse neighborhood, city, and State partners to build a set of powerful relationships that can help to get things done. Because Federal partners were able to fund a third neighborhood for start-up shortly after the first two neighborhoods had "graduated," there is an opportunity to test the next version of BNCP based on lessons from the last 2 years. Appended details of the BNCP plan and its implementation