Northside Planning Council - NPC
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NPC Executive Director’s Column: February/March 2018

Abha Thakkar

When I think 2018, I think “relationships.” One of the things I have struggled with most during the growth and change at the Northside Planning Council (NPC) these last two years is that I, personally, haven’t had as much time as I’d like to nurture the Northside relationships that fuel our work.

We run some fantastic programs that truly change people’s lives — FEED Kitchens, FEED Bakery Training Program, Healthy Food For All, MarketReady. The Navigator program through the Stable Families, Strong Community initiative has allowed us to more effectively reach our diverse neighbors. And, of course, this newspaper has been the voice of the Northside for over two decades. In the end, though, all of this is better with relationships. In particular, every conversation we have with Northside residents helps us better coordinate our various programs and resources to specifically meet Northside needs. And what better time to refocus on those conversations than now, as part of NPC’s 25th Anniversary year.

25 Years and Counting

Twenty-five years ago, NPC was founded as a neighborhood organizing group in response to rising violence in some of our neighborhoods. Originally, our board was made up of representatives from various neighborhood associations. In those early years, NPC’s work was focused on building capacity at that neighborhood level.

Northside residents took on leadership roles in many impressive accomplishments: developing the Warner Park Community Recreation Center, launching the Northside News, establishing the Friends of Troy Gardens, expanding Lakeview Branch Library, founding the Northside Farmers Market, among other significant achievements. Back then, we accomplished most of this through in-person conversations and meetings.

Of course, with tools like Nextdoor and Facebook, community and neighborhood organizing look a bit different nowadays, but there is still no substitute for face-to-face conversations. This is what NPC hopes to bring back to the Northside in 2018 through the Northside Community Council.

Northside Community Council

We’d like to recreate the richness of our past board structure through the new Northside Community Council (NCC). As in the past, this council will be a coalition of Northside neighborhood associations, civic groups, nonprofits, businesses, schools and faith communities staffed by NPC. The NCC will act as a clearinghouse of information, a mechanism for assessing the Northside’s short- and long-term needs and a platform for collective action on behalf of the Northside.

We held two organizing meetings in 2017, and we’ll be meeting again Jan. 31 at 6 pm at the Goodwill Community Room (it’s likely you won’t receive this issue in time for that meeting). We also have a fourth meeting scheduled for Feb. 22 at 6 pm, location TBA.

But we can’t expect to rebuild a truly effective coalition by simply putting announcements in the Northside News. With that in mind, I would love to attend an upcoming meeting of your organization to learn more about the work your Northside group is doing and what would draw you to the Northside Community Council — what type of issues would you like to see the NCC address? What kind of involvement would you like to have? And how can NPC more generally support the work you’re doing? Most importantly, how can we work together? I’ll be joined by one or more of our Neighborhood Navigators, and we can share some of the work we’ve been doing around reaching vulnerable families and working at a systemic level to address the causes of youth violence.

We’ll be reaching out to you, but if you can spare 15-20 minutes at an upcoming meeting, please let me know. We’d appreciate your time.

Northside Planning Council

The mission of the Northside Planning Council is to improve the quality of life and foster equity on the Northside through community organizing and economic development.

Our Major Initiatives

Northside Economic Development Coalition

Northside Economic Development Coalition

MarketReady

MarketReady