May 13 2010
Listen: When an organization comes into a neighborhood and promises to invest, their approach to bringing change is telling of their commitment. An outside-in approach is probably easiest to implement, executing ready-made neighborhood development models designed to serve the community. But of course, a neighborhood's challenges cannot be solved with a one-size-fits-all approach, and oftentimes, the seeds of the solution already lie in the neighborhood itself. The question becomes, how well can that organization create meaningful and fruitful connections within the community? When the Zilber Family Foundation announced their plan to revive low-income areas of the city, they began by creating partnerships with long-standing neighborhood organizations. Born and raised in the neighborhood and with a background at Journey House, Manni Marquez is a perfect example of an individual fluent in the culture and history of Clarke Square who was brought into the fold by the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative. As the leader of the ZNI in Clarke Square, he's seen a mandate for change and is already making strides towards that goal: [audio=1] While Manny's current day job allows him to work for positive change in Clarke Square, his path did not begin behind a desk or out working in the community. The roots of his motivation to exact change can be found in his own personal metamorphosis. Listen to Manni's compelling story: [audio=2] Want to learn more about Clarke Square? You can start at with Zilber Neighborhood Initiative or perhaps Journey House’s website. And of course, you can always get out to the neighborhood yourself and explore.