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Minds together in the ‘Triangle’

on May 3, 2010

It’s been a long process, but tonight marks a new phase in the innovative effort to improve life in a long under-served local community.

A “Community Engagement Roll-Out Meeting” is set to start at 6 p.m. tonight in the Nystrom Elementary School cafeteria at 230 Harbour Way South.

The community meeting for the roughly 40-square block area in the southern section of the city’s Iron Triangle is a major step, said Margaret Gee, Neighborhood Development Director for the Bay Area Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

“Tonight is reporting out the action plan and the initial activities that are going to be done,” she said. “It is the beginning of the implementation of the action plan which will commence within 30 days.”

A literacy festival is scheduled for June 5 at 11th Street and Florida Avenue. It will feature free books, games and performances based on the book “Richmond Tales.” Author Summer Brenner will also attend.

The meeting is a culmination of a long-developing local effort led by Bay Area LISC, a nationwide neighborhood community development intermediary, and the Richmond Children’s Foundation. The foundation has conducted a “listening campaign” in the neighborhood, which comprises about 14,000 mostly low-income residents, to gather information about what resources residents need.

“This is collaborative,” Gee said. “It’s vital that it is collaborative with organizations and the community.”

The effort is called NExT, which stands for “Neighbors Excelling Together.”

Beginning last spring, the Richmond Children’s Foundation began conducting the listening campaign. The results of the interviews were compiled into a comprehensive report, according to Gee, which identified five key pillars needed to support a healthy community: Public safety, jobs and economic development, education, health, and physical environment.

The effort is being funded by the Richmond Children’s Foundation and Bay Area LISC, which pays for two AmeriCorps staffers and a community organizer.

All area residents are invited to tonight’s meeting, and several neighborhood council representatives will deliver presentations.

“Our intent is to update our plans every year based on information, feedback and progress,” Gee said. “This is a living process.”

For more information, call:
Margaret Gee, Bay Area LISC at 415-397-7322, extension 25; or Jim Becker, Richmond Children’s Foundation at 510-234-1200; or visit:

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