News

Jul 11, 2014

Hudson Foundation to Fund TOA Project Addressing Racial Bias

Project to Build Neighborhood Unity and Connections in Parkside

PORTLAND (July, 2014) The Hudson Foundation, a charitable family foundation dedicated to strengthening communities in Maine, has awarded The Opportunity Alliance a three to five year grant with the first year funded at $70,000 for the OPEN Project which will address issues of racial bias in Portland’s Parkside neighborhood.

Hudson Foundation to Fund TOA Project Addressing Racial Bias

Project to Build Neighborhood Unity and Connections in Parkside

 

PORTLAND (July, 2014) The Hudson Foundation, a charitable family foundation dedicated to strengthening communities in Maine, has awarded The Opportunity Alliance a three to five year grant with the first year funded at $70,000 for the OPEN Project which will address issues of racial bias in Portland’s Parkside neighborhood.

     The goal of the OPEN Project it to empower a diverse group of youth leaders in Parkside to work together with adults in the neighborhood to build neighborhood unity and connections and to create sustainable positive change in their community. Using best practice approaches, it will attempt to increase the capacity of youth of color to overcome barriers associated with racial bias.

     Parkside is the most diverse and densely populated neighborhood in Portland, making it a logical focal point for working to diminish the barriers for youth of color. Moreover, the issue of race and racial tension has been identified by Parkside residents as an area where the neighborhood faces challenges and one where they would like to seek community-based solutions. Refugee and immigrant youth face their own particular challenges. Immigrant adults in Parkside worry about their capacity to guide their children trough the U.S. landscape and many feel a lack of community supports to help them. Further, emerging bilinguals are a significant percent of Portland’s student population, presenting new challenges for both students and schools.

     The OPEN Project will work with three of The Opportunity Alliance’s programs: Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN); Resident Leadership; and Family and Community Mediation Services.  MYAN has extensive experience in developing leadership skills in youth and boosting the capacity of adults to partner with youth leaders; Resident Leadership provides opportunities for community residents to access information, become engaged, develop skills, and increase connections in order to advance their aspirations; and Mediation Services provides training opportunities to youth and adults in conflict mediation. Through the combined efforts of these programs and other community partners, the OPEN Project will provide youth and adults in Parkside with an opportunity to independently and jointly develop their leadership capacity.

     The project is a combined effort of The Opportunity Alliance and its community partners. It will leverage and build upon existing community engagement efforts in Parkside and serve as a model for other neighborhoods.

     The Hudson Foundation, based in Portland, has in recent years concentrated on funding non-profits who serve the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and populations, as well as community-based programs that empower at-risk immigrant and refugee youth.  

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