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Monday, November 24, 2014

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Cascade: No. 80, Spring/Summer 2012

Message from the Community Affairs Officer

It is my great pleasure to write my first message as the new community affairs officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. This is an exciting time to join the Community Development Studies and Education Department because there are many opportunities to engage with the diverse, rich network of community development practitioners in the Third District and across the nation.

These first few months have enabled me to meet some of our community stakeholders and begin identifying new ways to ensure that underserved and low- and moderate-income communities have access to credit and stronger connections to economic resources. For me, effective community development occurs only when partnerships build on the strengths of their members to meet community needs.

Communities across the Third District continue to be challenged by affordable housing, economic development, and human capital needs. Several articles in this issue of Cascade highlight different ways stakeholders have approached these issues using creative models of collaboration to bring about innovative solutions.

Impact Services Corporation has been successful in providing employment and training services to 23,000 residents in the organization’s 38-year history. Impact has been able to successfully place many of its clients by working closely with local business owners and encouraging the owners to hire Impact’s trainees.

The effort to use new markets tax credits to restore a Gettysburg landmark illustrates the variety of partners needed to bring a historic building into the modern age and encourage tourism in a rural community. Also, in central Pennsylvania, a housing preservation initiative was made financially feasible by consolidating seven properties in a $26 million transaction. These efforts exemplify what is possible when people, organizations, and resources are brought together to explore ways to solve our communities’ problems.

In my first few months on the job, I have had the privilege of seeing the results of the great work that was started under the leadership of Dede Myers, including the Reinventing Older Communities conference, which was held May 9–11, 2012. I have been impressed with the level of partnership and collaboration that exists between the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and community development practitioners, and I am looking forward to exploring new ways we can work together to help bridge the critical gaps in our communities.

Partnership depends on communication, and I strongly encourage you to reach out to us. Let us know about the issues affecting your communities and the successes you are enjoying through your programs and other efforts. Share your insights on regional trends by participating in the Community Outlook Survey.