Many CNE initiatives have had a major national impact. These are some examples:
Alabama Rural Initiative
In 2002, civic leaders from Lowndes County, Alabama, came to the Center to ask for help. Although 43 miles of the 54-mile Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, goes through the county, conditions there were almost unchanged in the 40 years since the march. CNE helped residents address problems such as lack of septic systems, high utility bills, lack of economic development, and a need for financial literacy education.
Grassroots Alternatives for Public Policy
CNE assembled key grassroots leaders in task forces to make recommendations on public policy, leading to national welfare reform, Charitable Choice, and other important legislation. In addition to reporting to the leadership of the 104th Congress, CNE convened state-level grassroots panels to report to the legislatures in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Indianapolis Case History
Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods: At the request of Mayor Steve Goldsmith, the Center identified and trained neighborhood leaders to participate in a comprehensive revitalization of the city. The neighborhoods mentored by CNE received more than $75 million in grants and became participants in $700 million commercial and industrial revitalization.
Training and Technical Assistance: The Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, since its founding in 1981, has provided training to more than 2600 leaders of grassroots organizations across the country; given technical assistance to thousands; and has affiliates in 39 states. In Washington, DC, some 40 organizations in the high-crime, low-income Wards 7 and 8 have received technical assistance from CNE through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Project.
Milwaukee Case History Building a Network
At the request of Milwaukee foundations, the Center identified more than 70 effective neighborhood program leaders, provided training and helped them access more than $5 million in grants.
Promoting Faith-Based Programs
Bob Woodson and CNE have brought to national attention the effectiveness and identified the barriers facing faith-based programs, saving some important faith-based programs from unfair regulatory actions. When state regulators threatened to close a Texas Teen Challenge chapter, CNE organized a protest that led to then Governor Bush introducing legislation to exempt the faith-based programs from the kind of regulations governing medical programs. The Center also marshaled forces to reinstate the rights of participants in faith-based programs to receive food stamps, after the government had suddenly begun denying them.
Resident Management of Public Housing
CNE worked with residents of public housing to create a national consensus for empowerment of residents. By commissioning a cost-benefit analysis by Coopers & Lybrand and helping public housing leaders make presentations before the U.S. Congress, legislation was passed almost unanimously by the Congress to allow residents to manage their own public housing developments.
Solutions to Youth Violence
CNE Violence-Free Zone programs are dramatically reducing crime and violence in Atlanta; Baltimore; Dallas; Milwaukee, and Richmond, VA, and are creating a national model. In Milwaukee, a Baylor University study found that six public high schools that had the Violence-Free Zone program for at least one year had significant reductions in violent and nonviolent incidents and suspensions, and improvements in attendance and GPAs. www.isoreligion.org. In Atlanta, class disruptions at Ben Carson Middle School went down 59%. In Dallas, after two years with the Violence-Free Zone initiative, gang incidents went from 113 to none in one high school, from 34 to 1 at another.
Welfare Reform: The Ohio Project
The Center assisted the state of Ohio in developing partnerships with neighborhood and faith-based organizations in welfare reform programs. The model developed by CNE for five counties was adopted throughout the state.