On September 22, 2020 H&R Block and Nextdoor announced 10 community revitalization projects that they say will build more resilient communities, reduce social isolation, and improve quality of life.
In January 2020, the two companies launched a nationwide search calling on neighbors to submit projects that would revitalize or create local spaces to provide more opportunities for neighbors to connect. As COVID-19 isolated communities around the world, this mission proved crucial with more than 2000 project ideas submitted by neighbors in all 50 states who want to make their blocks better and bring neighbors together in new ways.
“Now, more than ever, we see the power of neighborhood connections. In recent months, we’ve grown to rely on people and places nearby,” said Sarah Friar, Nextdoor CEO. “We are proud to partner with H&R Block to support neighborhoods and foster meaningful connections that ultimately create strong, kinder communities.”
Over the next several months, H&R Block and Nextdoor will work with the nominators and local volunteers from the 10 selected neighborhoods to safely bring the projects to life. The companies are also sourcing help and resources from local businesses to complete the projects. All projects are slated to be completed by the end of 2020 and are being implemented with necessary COVID-19 safety precautions.
“In the past few months, communities have overcome disruptions to every aspect of daily life and we continued to provide clients the help and expertise they needed facing the extended tax deadline. Given how unprecedented times have been, it was exciting to read so many ideas from neighbors on how we could help improve the spaces around us in order to increase conversations and meaningful connections,” said Jeff Jones, president and CEO of H&R Block.
“We know that social isolation can negatively impact people and that’s been made more challenging during the pandemic and the new environment of stay at home directives and social distancing. We’re pleased to partner with Nextdoor as we continue to live out our purpose to provide help and inspire confidence in our clients and communities everywhere,” he added.
The selected community improvement projects are:
- Green Valley, Ariz. – Constructing a communal space at a community garden for residents to step out of the sun and form better neighbor-to-neighbor relations, submitted by Kim Barney
- Oakland, Calif. – Restoring a beloved community recreation center for neighbors to have a safe and beautiful place to connect, submitted by Maribel Lopez
- Miami, Fla. – Creating plant sanctuaries at a local library for residents to learn about community gardening, submitted by Mary Benton
- Acworth, Ga. – Building picnic tables, a gazebo, and a community garden to provide a safe space and healthy food for families in need, submitted by Gisele Butker
- Kuna, Idaho – Upgrading youth baseball and softball fields so families have a place for recreational sports, submitted by Daniel Edralin
- Topeka, Kan. – Transforming an alley into a pollinator garden to beautify an outdoor space for neighbors, submitted by Mike Spadafore
- Detroit, Mich. – Building a community closet from recycled shipping containers to provide free clothing, household, and personal items to residents in need, submitted by Latisha Johnson
- Buffalo, N.Y. – Building a community garden so neighbors can learn about growing plants, contribute to the area food pantry, and meet neighbors, submitted by Susan Bradbury
- Cincinnati, Ohio – Creating a mural crosswalk to safely connect a community garden with a local elementary school, submitted by Gary Dangel
Philadelphia, Penn. – Upgrading courts and sports equipment at a local recreation center that emphasizes inclusive programs, submitted by Laura Lucas
The H&R Block/Nextdoor partnership was first announced in January as part of H&R Block’s community impact platform, Make Every Block Better. The platform seeks to change the communities across the country by investing in programs that support small businesses and build connections in communities to combat increasing social isolation. Make Every Block Better was launched in December 2019 with foundational partners including Nextdoor, Habitat for Humanity, the Kauffman Foundation, KCRise Fund II, and the Urban Neighborhood Initiative.
Nextdoor serves some 265,000 neighborhoods around the world, including the United States (1 in 4 U.S. households), the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, and Canada. It’s a privately-held company based in San Francisco, with backing from investors including Benchmark, Shasta Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Riverwood Capital, Bond, Axel Springer, Comcast Ventures, and others.
Photo of downtown Acworth, Georgia by Thomson200 via Wikipedia.