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August 2018 Issue

From the Executive Director:
PKF Strategy Update


Beyond School Bells


Nonprofit Association of the Midlands


Seventy-Five North

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Seventy-Five North leads revitalization of Highlander Neighborhood

Raising the Bar | Economic Growth & Opportunity | August 2018

In March of 2016, Peter Kiewit Foundation awarded Seventy-Five North Revitalization Corp. a $1,000,000 grant to provide capital support for the Highlander Neighborhood Redevelopment Project.

Seventy-Five North was founded in 2011 with one purpose in mind—to facilitate the revitalization of a healthy, sustainable mixed-income community in the Highlander Neighborhood, just about eight blocks north of former CHI Health Creighton Medical Center along 30th street. Mission accomplished.

Phase one…

Of this $90 million dollar project has been completed on 36 acres of land providing 101 units of mixed-income housing and a 65,000 square foot center for community engagement and enrichment called The Accelerator. All 101 units are leased with potential future renters awaiting vacancies. Construction of a 64-unit senior structure is expected to begin early next year and plans are being made to offer single family homes for sale in the surrounding neighborhood also in 2019.

“My two besties and I love our beautiful home. Wouldn’t want it any other way!”

– Mollie Ogden, Highlander Resident

“We’re starting to see the kind of activity we set out to try and spark,” says Othello Meadows, president and CEO of Seventy-Five North, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. “We’ve had several block parties and always have events going on in the neighborhood. It’s starting to feel alive and like a real thriving community.”

The Highlander project is fashioned heavily after the Purpose Built Communities Model pioneered in the mid-1990s in Atlanta, Georgia to address deeply rooted issues of intergenerational poverty, safety, high crime and failing schools in the area’s East Lake Neighborhood. It proved a huge success seeing violent crime down 95%, adults earning incomes over the poverty line up tenfold, fifth grade students meeting the state standards for math up from 5 to 95 percent and the high school graduation rate up from 30 to 78 percent. Purpose Built Communities are being developed in more than 10 cities nationwide, including Omaha.

“The housing is the most visible thing people see and plays an important role in the fact that you really stabilize a community by building high-quality housing that is economically diverse,” Meadows says. “But there are two other components to the model that are equally if not more important.”

One is the creation of an expanded and supported educational pipeline within the neighborhood that starts at birth and continues throughout. Seventy-Five North just broke ground on its brand new early learning center right next door to Howard Kennedy Elementary school, a central partner in the revitalization project. “The goal is to have kids go to the center as young as six weeks of age and keep the continuum of high quality very intensive focused learning in the neighborhood,” Meadows says. “That will be our long-term barometer of success.”

“Kennedy’s partnership with Seventy-Five North is unique in comparison to other school reform initiatives that rely solely on the schools to transform improved student performance. Seventy-Five North’s partnership brings a variety of resources to support families and their neighborhoods in ways that will prepare students to be ‘school ready’ and open doors of opportunity for success beyond school.”

– Rios “Tony” Gunter, Principal, Howard Kennedy Elementary School

Phase two…

The second component is creating a network of community amenities, support and services. “Blurring the line between what might be considered services and enrichment,” Meadows says, “we are trying to bring in as many really high quality partners to our neighborhood as we can to create a network of strong providers to help people reach their full potential in a lot of different areas.”

“The unique partnerships at Highlander demonstrate collaboration at its finest. Relevant learning experiences and expanded access are at the heart of the robust collaboration taking place in the Accelerator.  Partnerships such as these are important because together we are empowering lives and moving this community forward.”

– Daphne Cook, Manager, Metropolitan Community College North Express Center

Current partners include Creighton University at the Highlander, AIM Interface School: Highlander, Metropolitan Community College North Express and Whispering Roots Inc., an urban farm facility. Hardy Coffee Co. is open for business and Big Mama’s Kitchen will be relocating to The Accelerator at the Highlander soon. This vibrant community enrichment center is a social gathering place with space for community and business events as well.

Seventy-Five North hosted The Highlander Community Day, Saturday, August 25, as a grand opening of newly completed facilities and homes. Open-house activities included neighborhood tours, a bounce house, face painting, food, pick-up sports, live music and fireworks.

“A vibrant community in Omaha. Housing, swimming pool, playground, coffee shop and education amenities! Love it”

– Alexis Bromley, Highlander Resident & Seventy Five North Employee