Ohio CDC Association announces 2016 Member Awards

Ohio CDC Association announces 2016 Member Awards

Eight outstanding community development winners recognized during OCDCA’s 32nd Annual Conference in Athens

The Ohio CDC Association last week announced its 2016 Member Awards during the Association’s 32nd Annual Conference Awards Reception at the Dairy Barn Arts Center. The two-day gathering, Oct. 13-14 at the Ohio University Inn & Conference Center, convened 250 community development leaders from around Ohio under the theme, Passion for Progress: Redefining Community Development.

The 2016 winners and their awards are:

  • Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, CDC of the Year
  • Lisa Ramsey, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, CDC Staff Member of the Year
  • North End Local Food Initiative (NELFI), CDC Project of the Year
  • Bill Baker, North End Community Improvement Collaborative, CDC Community Leader of the Year
  • Richland County Foundation Fran & Warren Rupp Donor Advised Fund, CDC Partner of the Year
  • Deonna Barnett, Increase CDC, Stephanie J. Bevens Award Winner
  • Mary Rivers Burke, Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, Ned D. Neuhausel Award
  • Shawn Carvin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, CDC Rising Star

“This year’s award winners inspire us all to step up our revitalization efforts,” said Nate Coffman, executive director of the Ohio CDC Association. “Their dedication and hard work give us examples of what’s possible in each of our communities. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and our members, we congratulate them for their outstanding achievements.”

The Ohio CDC Association is a statewide membership organization that fosters vibrant neighborhoods and improves the quality of life in all communities through advocacy and capacity building of our member agencies.

Information on 2016 OCDCA Member Awards:

Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, CDC of the Year

The mission and purpose of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (TNP) revolves around empowering individuals and improving their quality of life. To this end, and especially through the organization’s efforts in managing the Trumbull County Land Bank, TNP continues to significantly improve and revitalize communities. Serving the neighborhoods of Warren, Ohio, TNP is the only community-driven nonprofit organization managing a county land bank. TNP partnered with Trumbull County Land Bank in 2013, and since then has shared a vision to increase the quality of resident life throughout Trumbull County by turning derelict, vacant property back into productive land use. An effective tool for neighborhood revitalization and community development, land banking has become a successful and expanded program for TNP over the last three years, and now includes a deed-in-escrow program, a revolving internal rehab program and an Adopt-A-Home program. In the last year alone, TNP has worked to accomplish two goals they set for themselves in 2015: to effectively address the number of vacant, abandoned and derelict houses and lots throughout the county; and to increase opportunity for successful home ownership. Both address key components to community sustainability, and both were met with success in 2016. First, through a Neighborhood Initiative Program grant, TNP demolished 131 properties—14 of which are being sold to neighbors for side lot expansion and 12 of which have been turned into thriving community spaces through the Lots to Love program—transferred 96 vacant lots to residents, facilitated the private demolition of six blighted homes, and worked toward the creation of new urban agricultural sites that will provide fresh food to local residents spearheading the gardens. TNP met their second yearly goal facilitating the sale of 14 properties to owner occupants and 13 to investors. Two more properties were sold to local governments and three others to nonprofits. An additional four homes have created homeowner opportunities for residents through a revolving loan fund developed by TNP and the land bank. TNP manages the land bank in the spirit it was created: a manner of accountability to the public and responsiveness to the needs of the community. The organization does this work for the people of Warren and Trumbull County, and as such, they stay connected to those people, seeking their input and partnerships, and seeking to keep them engaged.

Contact: Matt Martin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, matt AT tnpwarren.org

Lisa Ramsey, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, CDC Staff Member of the Year

Lisa Ramsey is a true champion of Warren, and a fearless and efficient architect of programs that promote the quality of life in the community she was born and raised in. She has dedicated her career to pursuing and implementing resources that have turned Warren’s challenges into opportunities. At a turning point in TNP’s programming, the organization hired Lisa Ramsey away from a position with more long term security, and in turn gained the ability to craft longer term strategies. Lisa took a pay cut and a huge risk by re-directing her career towards helping her hometown. As Development Director and then Assistant Director, she laid the groundwork for TNP’s management of the Trumbull County Land Bank (TCLRC), a model that blends the best of what grassroots community development and larger scale property disposition have to offer. As the primary fundraiser for “The People’s Land Bank”, Lisa has raised over 12 million dollars, all directly invested into our neighborhoods for blight remediation, demolition and land use, homeownership opportunities, local food and land use, public art, and community building events. In addition to conventional high-impact programming, Lisa thinks outside the box to creatively leverage resources into programs that help our community reclaim blight and build homeownership, like Adopt-A-Home and Building A Better Warren. Such programs allow local residents, volunteers, and philanthropists to participate in rebuilding our neighborhoods one vacant house at a time. These models leverage local capital into housing rehab resources; from donation of money, time, or elbow grease, anyone can contribute to the effort in their own way. Lisa continually seeks out new ways to engage our community in our work. TNP has grown from a handful of people to a team of over 20, and this would not have been possible without the efforts of Lisa Ramsey as the organization’s Assistant Director. Lisa has a BS in Integrated Social Studies Education and a BA in Geography from Youngstown State University, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in community development and public art from Hiram College; she is a mom, wife, neighbor, friend and fighter for our city.

Contact: Matt Martin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, matt AT tnpwarren.org

North End Local Foods Initiative (NELFI), CDC Project of the Year

Addressing the lack food access within three census tracts within North End of Mansfield, Ohio, NELFI began by supporting community gardens with small $250 grants in the North End and has expanded to include over 30 community Gardens in Richland County, the newly launched Blust Avenue Teaching Garden (3 formerly blighted houses demolished by the Land Bank and converted to over 1509 sq. feet of growing space including a hoop house, etc. and the site of 2015 OCDCA’s VISTA day of service) and the North End Farmer’s Market. Jean Taddie was the visionary behind NELFI and has kept food access in the forefront of community conversations. She has grown the project to include 2 full-time staff, and a part time community garden organizer, and several interns.

Contact: Deanna West-Torrence, NECIC, deanna AT necic-ohio.org

Bill Baker, North End Community Improvement Collaborative, CDC Community Leader of the Year

Bill Baker is a North End resident, former NECIC board member, volunteer and community activist. Bill is a natural leader and utilizing grassroots organizing, led a large effort to ban fracking wastewater injection wells being discussed for Mansfield. He successfully convened opposing entities, local industry and government leaders to provide a context for the discussion, while educating the community on the hazards of fracking. His efforts led to the successful passage of the Citizens Bill of Rights, strengthening local control over when at odds with potentially risky corporate interests. Now he is addressing food access by leading the Mansfield Citizens for Backyard Chickens, a completely grassroots effort aimed at allowing residents within the city limits to have chickens for food and fresh eggs. Bill donated countless hours to the NELFI project, as well as working in 2014 as our community garden organizer.

Contact: Deanna West-Torrence, NECIC, deanna AT necic-ohio.org

Richland County Foundation Fran & Warren Rupp Donor Advised Fund, CDC Partner of the Year

The Fran and Warren Rupp Donor Advised Fund at the Richland County Foundation has been NECIC’s primary funding partner since NECICs inception. With a nine year record of providing unrestricted general operating and program support of community organizing, community economic development, housing, youth development, and local food access. They have generously provided funding for over twenty internships ranging from ten weeks to six months since 2007, as well as professional development for staff. Their support has launched several careers in community development, and provided stable funding for a new organization tackling a neighborhood often forgotten.

Contact: Deanna West-Torrence, NECIC, deanna AT necic-ohio.org

Deonna Barnett, INCREASE CDC, Stephanie Bevens Award, honoring strong community advocates who have demonstrated commitment and entrepreneurial spirit

Deonna Barnett has worked for INCREASE CDC since 2008 initially as a Marketing/Executive Assistant and now as the Executive Director beginning in 2015. She has developed and improved many new programs over the years including the Microenterprise training program, technical assistance, the Entrepreneurs of Increase membership program, the outcomes tracking system and process, revamped the loan program and introduced small business supportive services. So far in 2016, the new efforts and improvements have doubled the number of people served, reduced the loan default rate, and has increased the capacity of the organization through increased staff and consultants. At the beginning of 2015, the organization had 2 1/2 staff and one consultant. The organization now has 4 staff and ten consultants. The organization has implemented new technologies by offering virtual options to join the training, online scheduling of appointments for technical assistance, and a Salesforce system to easily track the number of new businesses and jobs created.

Contact: Deonna Barnett, INCREASE CDC, dbarnett AT increasecdc.org 

Mary Rivers Burke, Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, Ned Neuhausel Award, honoring housing developers who demonstrate a lifelong commitment to people with disabilities

Mary Rivers, of Over the Rhine Community Housing, does so many different kinds of housing, including the Jimmy Heath Housing First project – the senior housing they just opened last year and 450 units of affordable housing with lots of different criteria in Over the Rhine.

Contact: Patricia Garry, CDC Association of Greater Cincinnati, patricia.garry AT cdcassociation.org

Shawn Carvin, CDC Rising Star

Shawn Carvin is a combat veteran with 4 years of service as a meteorologist in the US Air Force. As a Geology student at Youngstown State University, Shawn came to Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (TNP) as an intern. His work ethic, talent, and thirst for knowledge about our industry quickly made it impossible for TNP to consider letting his stay be a short one. Shawn joined the TNP staff just as the organization began its formal management of the Trumbull County Land Bank, and he later became its Program Manager. Shawn has helped form land banking into an efficient community development tool using a model that has held up throughout the state and region, proving to have a high level impact while maintaining grassroots accountability. He’s played a key part in TNP’s highly successful strategic demolition program, through which the organization has completed 320 strategic demolitions with 750 additional demolitions planned through 2019, relieving neighbors of the hazards of abandoned homes in a town with over 1500 of them. Trumbull County Land Bank continues to punch above its weight, demonstrated by a well-crafted and robust pipeline for demolishing vacant houses translating into repeated allocations from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s Neighborhood Initiative Program. As manager of the land bank, Shawn oversees this pipeline from the identification of blighted structures to the land use after a demolition, ensuring that every step of the process is taken intentionally and with a focus on quality of life in neighborhoods. In addition to demolishing non-salvageable properties, he has also led his team to create over 175 housing opportunities out of salvageable vacant houses since 2013. The land bank is able to sell these properties at a lesser price, allowing renovations to be completed by the homeowner in a certain time period in order for the deed to be transferred into the owner occupant’s name. Through this model, over $750,000 in private purchase investment has leveraged an additional $1.5 million of rehab investment into home ownership in our neighborhoods; a significant counter trend to combat decades of disinvestment and loss of home ownership in Warren and Trumbull County. Shawn has also played a significant role in structuring and collaborating with TNP’s Lots to Love, a program that assists with residents to install long-term greening projects on lots that were once occupied by derelict properties demolished through the Trumbull County Land Bank. He has also helped develop and implement the land bank’s Commercial Property Disposition Program, an effort that seeks to spark economic development throughout the county by leveraging the opportunity of vacant buildings in strategic locations. In addition to his work with TNP, Shawn goes above and beyond to contribute to our community by working with other efforts to better downtown Warren. He’s frequently found volunteering for projects, like Warren Streetscape, various Dave Grohl Alley efforts, and Trumbull Art Gallery events.

Contact: Matt Martin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, matt AT tnpwarren.org

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