Youngstown Promise Neighborhoods to Close, Councils’ Work Will Continue

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown Promise Neighborhoods will end its operations at the end of the year.

The decision was reached by the nonprofit’s board of directors at its most recent meeting.

“This decision was not made lightly. Nor was it made until all solutions had been thoroughly considered and exhausted,” wrote board President April Alexander in a letter announcing the dissolution of the nonprofit. “While Youngstown Promise Neighborhoods was able to raise small amounts needed to support programs and events – especially through the diligent efforts of [executive director] Trina Benson – the funds necessary to build a staff and the capacity to administer those programs did not materialize.”

The work of the councils under Youngstown Promise Neighborhoods’ umbrella will continue “through a revised structure led by the same collaborative organizations,” she added.

Founded in 2015 as Taft Promise Neighborhood, the nonprofit was a collaborative effort by organizations across the city to address systemic inequities in the Taft neighborhood on the city’s south side. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

The four tenants of the organization was to improve access to educational opportunities, healthy lifestyles, economic mobility and neighborhood safety. Eventually, the organization spread to work across Youngstown.

In the five years it operated, Youngstown Promise Neighborhoods worked with more than 50 partners. 

“The list of city departments, fellow nonprofits, County agencies, and various foundations, institutions and individuals that walked with us on our five-year journey is quite lengthy and will be published on our website. We are forever grateful to each and every one for their hard work and dedication to the cause,” Alexander wrote.

The board of directors specifically acknowledged the work of its major partners: AmeriCorps Vista, the city of Youngstown, Community Legal Aid Services, Mercy Health, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Youngstown City School District, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., 7th Ward Citizens Coalitions and Scott Smith at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.