Jan 15, 2014

Foundations Support Parkside Neighborhood Hub Initiative

Funds to Move a Collective Impact Model Forward

For Immediate Release


Contact:           James Gemmell

Director of Communications, The Opportunity Alliance



CONTACT: Jim Gemmell, The Opportunity Alliance



For Immediate Release – January, 2014


Foundations Support Parkside Neighborhood Hub Initiative

Funds to Move a Collective Impact Model Forward

(Portland) – Several foundations have given The Opportunity Alliance nearly $500,000 to support the first phase of a collective impact model of service delivery in Portland’s Parkside neighborhood. The Parkside neighborhood hub initiative is the first phase of the agency’s move to bring its supports and services, in partnership with those of other service providers and community partners, to neighborhoods throughout Cumberland County where they are needed. The funders of this initiative include the Wildflower Fund; the Sam L. Cohen Foundation; the John T. Gorman Foundation, and the United Way of Greater Portland. Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) is also supporting this initiative through its Healthy Community grant program as is the Maine Community Foundation through its Community Building Grant Program.


The Opportunity Alliance believes that integrated, collective energy from a continuum of stakeholders, including foundations, service providers, interfaith communities, schools, businesses, and state and local governments, is necessary in order to address the complex issues facing our neighborhoods, such as health, education, safety, housing, and food insecurity.  For the past several years, the agency has been moving toward a community centered model of service delivery where its supports are localized in neighborhoods. “We’re incredibly excited about The Opportunity Alliance’s adoption of a more community-based approach to service delivery,” said Tony Cipollone, President and CEO of the John T. Gorman Foundation.  “We know from best-practice research that when multiple community stakeholders successfully work together, they can create supports and opportunities that are more integrated, responsive and relevant --- a precursor for achieving more powerful results and increased cost-savings over time.”


The agency has offices in Portland, South Portland, Biddeford, Westbrook, and several other locations across the state.  In many of these locations, such as the Parkside neighborhood and the Red Bank and Brickhill neighborhoods of South Portland, it has created neighborhood hubs where, in collaboration with residents of those neighborhoods and other community partners it addresses the most pressing needs identified by the residents. One such need brought out in a recent needs assessment meeting of residents of Portland’s Parkside neighborhood, is an intervention to the transient nature of the neighborhood itself and the continual mobility of neighbors. Long term Parkside residents expressed frustration at the inability to form a cohesive and supportive neighborhood fabric when so many of their neighbors lived in the area on a temporary basis, moving in and out of apartments in short periods of time. “The implications of a transient neighborhood are very serious both at the community level and at the individual family level, where children are moved from one school system to another and critical social connections are nearly impossible to maintain,” said Andrea Paul, The Opportunity Alliance’s Vice President for Neighborhood Engagement and Partnership Development.  “Excessive mobility happens for a variety of reasons,” she said, “including housing costs, lack of employment, and social isolation.  An effective intervention to this issue will require the collective efforts of many different community partners, including the residents themselves.”


The hub initiative’s primary objectives are to develop community leadership, connect families and individuals residing in the neighborhoods to one another and to community supports, and to realize more measurable and sustainable outcomes. The Parkside neighborhood hub will serve as a model for other communities throughout Cumberland County and beyond.


For more information on any aspect of this story, please contact: Jim Gemmell, Director of Communications: 207-523-5014,

Download the Press Release PDF