LISC National

Six Newark community leaders chosen for national Community Revitalization Fellowship


Six community leaders from Newark have been selected for the national Center for Community Progress’ prestigious Community Revitalization Fellowship. The Community Revitalization Fellowship equips grassroots community leaders to lead projects and advocacy efforts to revitalize the vacant properties in their neighborhoods.

Newark’s Fellows are:

Newark faced significant competition in the Fellowship application process; in total, 40 communities applied for three slots. Newark’s six Fellows will participate alongside the same number of Fellows from Gary, Ind. and Jackson, Miss.

“The eighteen Fellows have demonstrated passion, leadership, and commitment to making their neighborhoods safer, more vibrant places,” said Dr. Akilah Watkins-Butler, president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. “We’re honored to support them in their efforts through the 2019 Community Revitalization Fellowship.”

Greater Newark LISC will serve as the official Institutional Partner for Newark’s Fellows, providing guidance, mentorship, and logistical support. Greater Newark LISC supports strengthening the civic infrastructure of communities through specific resident leadership training and engagement programs that encourages and empowers Newarkers to become active change agents in their own neighborhoods.

“A core part of our work in neighborhoods is to support residents by building on their advocacy skills, identify leadership opportunities and ensure residents feel empowered and welcome to share their voices at the table,” said Rhonda A. Lewis, Executive Director, Greater Newark LISC. “We are honored to have been selected for this opportunity and even more delighted that six residents from our target neighborhoods benefit from the shared learning exchange.”

The majority of Fellows serve their neighborhoods in a volunteer capacity, through block clubs, neighborhood associations, or similar groups. The Fellowship connects neighborhood leaders to the sort of training and leadership development typically available only to community development professionals, helping to “level the playing field,” boost the visibility and impact of resident-led efforts, and support more equitable revitalization outcomes.

The Fellowship includes a series of learning exchanges over the course of nine months, in which Fellows visit each other’s communities to learn from their respective resident-led neighborhood revitalization efforts. In between each learning exchange, Fellows meet together in their own communities. Each Fellow sets goals – either for on-the-ground projects on vacant properties or advocacy efforts – to work on during the Fellowship. An Institutional Partner, typically a foundation or nonprofit organization based in each community, provides guidance and mentorship to that community’s Fellows.

Over the course of the nine-month Fellowship, Fellows gain knowledge about neighborhood stabilization and revitalization strategies, strengthen their on-the-ground projects or advocacy efforts, and build stronger relationships with their peers, local organizations, elected and government officials, and others.

The Fellowship serves communities in which vacancy, abandonment, and disinvestment are significant challenges, particularly in low- to moderate-income communities of color. In 2019, the Fellowship will focus on vacant property revitalization strategies that improve public safety.

Grant funding from The Oak Foundation provides the primary support for the Community Revitalization Fellowship.

More information about the Community Revitalization Fellowship and the 2019 Fellows is available here.

About the Center for Community Progress

The mission of Center for Community Progress is to foster strong, equitable communities where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are transformed into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods. Founded in 2010, Community Progress is the leading national, nonprofit resource for urban, suburban, and rural communities seeking to address the full cycle of property revitalization. The organization fulfills its mission by nurturing strong leadership and supporting systemic reforms. Community Progress works to ensure that public, private, and community leaders have the knowledge and capacity to create and sustain change. It also works to ensure that all communities have the policies, tools, and resources they need to support the effective, equitable reuse of vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. More information is available at


About Greater Newark LISC

With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $18.6 billion to build or rehab 376,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 63 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. Greater Newark LISC was established in 1986 and since then has collaborated with community based organizations in Newark and the surrounding region to improve the quality of life for local residents and business owners. For more information, visit additional information visit

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