Rising Stars, New Innovative Program from Rise

Rise would like to announce its pilot “Rising Stars” Program. This program will serve as a mentorship, education and hands-on training program for exceptional university students or recent graduates interested in careers in community economic development in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Rise will provide education, supervision, professional development plans and otherwise prepare the Rising Stars for placement in real-world environments. Ultimately, our desire is to develop an emerging group of community development practitioners, “Rising Stars,” that can be placed in positions at local community development non-profit organizations, bank community development corporations and/or public sector planning and community development offices.

Rise was awarded a grant from the Opus Foundation for $25,000 in support of the pilot program. Earlier this year, Rise was invited by the Opus Foundation to submit a grant application to their Impact Fund in the Community Revitalization category and on December 2nd, Rise received notification that the application was successful. For our press release concerning the Opus Foundation’s funding click here.

The Rising Stars Program concept came about due to the need for capacity building in local Community Development Corporations (CDCs). Often, CDCs lack adequate staff to advance their mission and goals. However, with Rise as the intermediary in the Program, we have the ability to educate and develop an emerging group of practitioners through paid on the job training while building the capacity of  CDCs by placing its Rising Stars with them.

We will keep you informed as the program emerges in 2016.

Rise Receives Federal and State Tax Credits for Adams Grove Development

December 14, 2015–Rise Community Development received approval from the Missouri Housing Development Commission on December 4, 2015 for a reservation of tax credits for its Adams Grove affordable housing development. The development will consist of 50 townhomes and garden apartments, incorporating contemporary design, green building and universal design principles in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood in the City of St. Louis.  The project architect is Trivers Associates and the general contractor will be Altman Charter.  The project is part of a larger, more collaborative effort with Forest West Properties, Inc. (FWP), a subsidiary of Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation (WUMCRC).  Forest West Properties has solicited numerous developers to build up to 150 additional market rate homes in the part of the neighborhood that lies south of Manchester.  Rise’s work in the Forest Park Southwest neighborhood, which began fifteen years ago, has been a major catalyst for the redevelopment of the neighborhood and the area now known as “The Grove.”

About Rise (www.risestl.org) Rise is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities to build stronger, more equitable St. Louis area neighborhoods.  Rise develops both affordable and market-rate housing, particularly in neighborhoods with the potential to enhance economic diversity.  Rise has developed or assisted in $700 million in neighborhood redevelopment in the St. Louis area.

About WUMCRC (www.wumcrc.com) Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation (WUMCRC), is a partnership between BJC Health Care and Washington University School of Medicine and works to improve the quality of life for the neighborhoods surrounding the medical campus. In order to achieve this goal in Forest Park Southeast and the Central West End , WUMCRC has invested millions of dollars toward regenerating the market for private investment in businesses and real estate, enhancing human and social service opportunities, and improving the level of physical and personal security.

Rise Hosts Third Annual Rise Up Festival – Celebrating Revitalization in Washington Avenue Historic District

Rise Community Development is producing a one day free street festival to celebrate revitalization in St. Louis. The festival, scheduled for August 21, 2015 on Washington Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets, will kick-off at 4 PM and end at 11 PM.

The event will include live entertainment featuring the Dirty Muggs, the Jeramiah Johnson Band, and the Bottoms Up Blues Gang. Tom “Papa” Ray will emcee the event and Alexsis Tucci will DJ. The Blues Society of St. Louis and STLBlues.net are once again partners in the event. Also featured will be fire dancers and roaming entertainers. The Kids Carnival Area will have games, a hula-hoop workshop, and face painting.

The Downtown St. Louis Restaurant Association will be providing a generous sampling of food from local business owners and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company will provide the microbrew. Other local organizations will be showcasing their programs such as CityArchRiver and the Downtown YMCA. A juried fine arts and crafts show managed by Cultural Festivals (founders and managers of the Saint Louis Art Fair) will feature local fine artists competing for best in show and selling their work.

“With our Rise Up Festival we focus attention on urban revitalization and the importance of neighborhood and community development to the region as a whole,” said Stephen Acree, President of Rise. “We know, and we want others to know, that having strong, economically diverse, livable and thriving neighborhoods is a very important part of our whole regional economic growth agenda.”

About Rise (www.risestl.org/) is a nonprofit organization that connects key groups working to revitalize communities and neighborhoods in the St. Louis area. Rise develops affordable market-rate housing in partnership with community development corporations, particularly in neighborhoods with the potential to enhance economic diversity. Since 2000, Rise has helped secure $560 million in funding and support for redevelopment projects in area neighborhoods.


Cross-sector partnership will work to place more young people in summer jobs/ develop a more citizen-centered justice system.

St. Louis has been selected for a national initiative of Living Cities, Code for America and the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership to harness civic data and technology to improve the lives of low-income residents.

Under this initiative, Rise, Open Data STL, and St. Louis County will collaborate to implement technology solutions to help people navigate the criminal justice system locally, including traffic ticket resolution, appearing in court and resolving warrants. Better collection and analysis of data will help improve the operations of these systems. The partners will also collect stories about people’s interactions with the justice system in order to identify and push for additional solutions. A $200,000 grant has been awarded for implementation of the initiative. Rise is the fiscal agent for the grant and will manage the funding.

We are honored to be part of this important collaboration,” said Eleanor Tutt, Data Management Coordinator for Rise. “Improvements in data collection and analysis can result in significant enhancements in people’s relations with local governments.”

For the national partners, this initiative advances two goals: (1) demonstrating what is possible when data and technology are intentionally applied to address problems affecting low-income people; and (2) strengthening collaboration at the local level between civic technologists, neighborhood data practitioners and government officials.

“When it comes to addressing poverty in America’s cities, our pace of change is too slow, and the scale too small,” said Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities. “We want to prove that the disruptive power of data and technology can be harnessed to achieve dramatically better results in the lives of low-income people, faster.  In order to do that, you have to have all the key partners at the table, working intentionally towards a shared result.”

“Smart, data-driven decision-making can become the norm,” said Sarah Rosen Wartell, President of the Urban Institute, which coordinates the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership. “But it requires close collaboration among people who can organize and analyze the data, communicate the insights, and act on the findings. Because these projects have brought the right players together, as they unfold, they’ll teach us a great deal about building strong local data cultures that can respond to what communities need.”

Both projects aim to improve local government processes that touch the lives of low-income city residents.  “At Code for America, we believe that government can work for the people, by the people, in the 21st century,” said Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director of Code for America.  “That cause is best advanced through partnerships among local government leaders, civically-minded technologists, and community data practitioners.  We’re excited to help these groups move the needle on an issue that matters.”

The program is supported through a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  “We see data and technology as critical accelerants to the community development work we have been supporting for decades,” said Julia Stasch, President of the MacArthur Foundation.  “We are pleased to be partnering with Living Cities, Code for America and the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership to push the envelope on this important work.”

About Rise

Rise (www.risestl.org) is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities to build sustainable and equitable St. Louis area neighborhoods. Rise is a community lender, develops affordable and market-rate housing, particularly in neighborhoods with the potential to enhance economic diversity, and provides capacity-building technical assistance to community-based development organizations. Rise also maintains a variety of data and mapping for areas throughout the St. Louis region as well as assisting in the collection and creation of new data specific to a particular development or neighborhood. Rise aggregates information to aid efforts around food access, financial services, economic development and housing through the St. Louis Neighborhood Gateway. www.datagateway.org

About Open Data STL

Open Data STL is a group of civic-minded data-savvy citizens of St. Louis and the surrounding metropolitan area that has come together to provide resources for finding openly available data related to the growth, history, productivity, and demographics of our fair city. Learn more at www.opendatastl.org.

About Living Cities

Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places. Additional information can be found at www.livingcities.org.

About Code for America

Code for America is a national non-profit that believes government can work for the people, by the people, in the 21st century. In collaboration with communities, companies, and government, Code for America builds open source technology and organizes a network of people dedicated to making government services simple, effective, and easy to use. More at www.codeforamerica.org.

About the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) is a collaborative effort by the Urban Institute and local partners to further the development and use of neighborhood information systems in local policymaking and community building.  For more information, please visit www.neighborhoodindicators.org/.