Why don’t more cities have paid, full-time neighborhood revitalization fellowships?

Here’s a neighborhood-based economic revitalization program that most cities could—and probably should—emulate. On January 28, 2019, Gregg Bishop, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) announced that applications are now open for paid, full-time fellowship positions supporting commercial revitalization projects.

The fellowship program is part of Neighborhood 360°, an SBS initiative that strengthens commercial districts that anchor the city’s neighborhoods. The fellowship program pairs future neighborhood development professionals with selected community-based organizations (CBOs) to launch projects related to business attraction and retention, placemaking, and merchant organizing. Since the program began in 2016, a total of 30 New Yorkers have been connected to fellowships at CBOs citywide.

New York City works best when New Yorkers work together,” said Bishop. “With the Neighborhood 360° Fellows program, we’ve created opportunities for future neighborhood development professionals to use their talents to support community-based organizations and build vibrant communities across the city.”

The fourth cohort of Neighborhood 360° Fellows will be placed at CBOs in 10 different commercial districts. Selected participants will begin a 10-month fellowship in June 2019. The new cohort will work with the following CBOs to enhance their respective neighborhoods:

  • Davidson Community Center, Bronx
  • Brownsville Community Justice Center, Brooklyn
  • Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, Brooklyn
  • Bay Ridge 5th Avenue Business Improvement District, Brooklyn
  • Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Brooklyn
  • LDC of East NY/East Brooklyn Business Improvement District, Brooklyn
  • GatewayJFK Business Improvement District, Queens
  • Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, Queens
  • Woodhaven Business Improvement District, Queens
  • Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Staten Island

I congratulate the latest class of Neighborhood 360° Fellows in advance for having the opportunity to work with some Brooklyn’s great community-based organizations and to support the growth of our commercial corridors,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “From Bay Ridge to Brownsville, small businesses reflect the diversity and vibrancy of our neighborhoods, and I appreciate this SBS initiative as an effort to provide quality, on-the-ground professional development to young leaders interested in community engagement.

Uriah Johnson was part of the first cohort of Neighborhood 360° Fellows. She worked with the Westchester Square Business Improvement District (BID) to develop a strategic plan for marketing and outreach that engaged area stakeholders including merchants, residents, property owners, schools, and local government. During her fellowship, Uriah worked with Lehman High School, a local school, to connect students to volunteer opportunities in the community. She stated the following about her experience:

It was an honor to work with the Westchester Square BID, an organization that is grounded in supporting local businesses, but also strives to be inclusive of all its stakeholders,” said Johnson. “Through the BID’s partnership with Lehman High School, we brought education beyond the school’s walls and introduced students to the ways they can contribute to the community as active stakeholders.

I commend NYC SBS for their work to expand the N360 program, which has fostered business and neighborhood development across the Borough of Queens,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Many of our business districts have benefited from creative programming and management assistance. The N360 is a program that allows communities to grow, it builds capacity for small organizations, and it provides hands-on experience for student fellows.”

SBS’ Neighborhood 360° program identifies, develops, and launches commercial revitalization projects in partnership with local stakeholders. Through proactive planning and targeted investments, Neighborhood 360° supports projects that strengthen and revitalize the streets, small businesses, and CBOs that anchor New York City neighborhoods.

Small businesses are the backbone of our city,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “I applaud the Neighborhood 360° Fellows program for making an important effort to help keep small businesses a relevant part of our communities. Through this valuable program the NYC Department of Small Business Services is responding to community needs by uplifting local talent while supporting small business growth and building more vibrant neighborhoods for all New Yorkers.

Applications to join the fellowship program’s fourth cohort must be submitted by Sunday, March 3, 2019.

Photo of Fulton Street in New York City via Google Maps.

Learn more about Neighborhood 360°.

Learn more about the Neighborhood 360° Fellows program.

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