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OUR STORY

Neighborhood Connections is an innovative, nationally recognized community-building program established in 2003. Our mission is to fuel the power of neighbors to create, together, an extraordinary world right where they live. We do this through our signature initiative – the Neighbor Up network.

Neighbor Up is a powerful network of grassroots and civic leaders launched in 2012. The network has more than 1,200 card-carrying members and is a place for members to exchange resources, support each other and collaborate on big-change projects.

Our work begins with residents, but we also know that we need to work closely with institutional players to share power and make lasting change in our communities.

We believe PEOPLE MATTER

Through our small grants program – the largest small grants program in the nation – we invest in resident-led projects that are improving Cleveland and East Cleveland neighborhoods. Grants range from $500 to $5,000 per project. Since 2003, we have funded about 2,300 projects to the tune of more than $7.5 million.

Neighbor Up members receive support with their projects and build their own leadership capacity through Neighbor Up University. Offerings include: City Repair workshops on creating meaningful places in neighborhoods; Community of Practice trainings on community network building, the philosophy behind Neighbor Up; and a variety of member-led skill shares on everything from marketing to running for political office.

We believe PLACE MATTERS

We are working extensively with Neighbor Up members in Glenville and the Greater Buckeye area to support resident-led, place-based work. Glenville neighbors launched the Pride of Glenville campaign last year, with our support, to bring current and former residents together to do a variety of projects to reenergize the community.

We host monthly Network Nights in the University Circle and Greater Buckeye communities because where you live and who you know matters.

We believe SYSTEMS MATTER

Teams of Neighbor Up members have mobilized around the issues of wealth and health equity in Greater University Circle. They formed partnerships that continue to push the envelope in terms of policy and procedural reform.

Members are working with University Hospitals and the nonprofit Towards Employment on the neighborhood jobs pipeline Step Up to UH.

Members are also part of the Greater University Circle Community Health Initiative, which is focused on lowering the rate of infant mortality and abating the hazards of lead paint in Greater University Circle.

All of these initiatives are infused with what we call Neighbor Up Practices – simple methods used to prime the room for positivity, feed people’s aspirational energy and unleash the capacity for creative solutions.

Our vision is of a united Cleveland — supported by thousands of engaged residents and Neighbor Up members — where we recognize our community’s assets, where bridges are built across lines of difference, and where authentic relationships lead to a new culture of trust and a more just, equitable and inclusive community. Come join us!

Special thanks to our funders and parters: Cleveland Foundation, St. Luke’s Foundation and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture!