NPC Executive Director’s Column: December 2017/January 2018

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The Northside Planning Council (NPC) has been working in this community for 24 years now, in different capacities, with different leaders at the helm, pursuing different projects, but community has always been at the center of that work.

I recently had the privilege of speaking to a local group in honor of World Community Day on Nov. 3, which just happened to be the same day as our North Star Awards.

As NPC goes into our 25th year, I spoke about how community is more important than ever in this increasingly uncertain world. But what does “community” even mean these days?

This year, NPC had the incredible opportunity of hiring seven Neighborhood Navigators, Northsiders who spent the summer reaching out to some of our most vulnerable and disenfranchised neighbors to help build trust, overcome isolation and connect individuals and families to resources.

What has been reinforced for us through our Navigators is that there is no such thing as one Northside community. We have many communities of experience surrounding us, and our privilege largely defines what community we belong to. The idea of community is inextricably intertwined with equity, opportunity and trust.

NPC works to move us in this direction by focusing on three critical areas: enhancing family stability, fostering economic vitality and strengthening civic capacity. We operate and support robust, innovate programs in each of these areas, and we do so with the leadership and volunteer support of countless Northsiders. In fact, two years ago, NPC had three employees; we now have 25, all of them being paid a living wage. We engage hundreds of leaders and volunteers, and we collaborate weekly with dozens of stakeholders and partners, all on behalf of the Northside.

As I dive more deeply into the daily challenges and stark realities of so many of our community members, I sometimes begin to feel overwhelmed by the immensity of the task before us. But then I remind myself: I am not alone and neither is NPC. We are surrounded by people who are deeply invested in the welfare of this community.

I ask you to consider making a donation to NPC’s 2017 Campaign this holiday season. There’s a lovely quote by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” This is our part of the world -— your part of the world — and a donation to NPC goes directly to supporting your community and is overseen by your neighbors.

$25 pays for two households to receive the Northside News all year round. $100 rescues 125 lbs of food through Healthy Food For All. $250 gets a new business started at FEED. And $500 covers the ingredients a Bakery Training student needs on their way to a new career.

Check out our wishlist below and make a donation at northsideplanningcouncil.org/donate.Thank you for a great year.