Investing in Community Transformation

This was the theme of a Faith and Community-Based Symposium and Grant Writing Workshop held in Jacksonville on June 27-28 at The Potter's House Christian Fellowship. The event was also the first step in an evolving process to help build the capacity and sustainability of nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to meeting various community needs throughout Florida.

HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings Jr. participated in the statewide conference, attended by 275 emerging and established nonprofit organizations and members of the Florida State Senate and House, Jacksonville Council members and business leaders. "We know that neighborhoods of concentrated poverty struggle with unemployment, crime, poor schools and health care. Many interventions focus on assisting poor households in particular neighborhoods but have failed to take a broader, community-based approach", said Jennings.

Also in attendance was Alvin Brown, the new Mayor of Jacksonville, who shared his vision for improving Jacksonville's neighborhoods and the need for job creation. The Keynote address was delivered by Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin, founder of The Potter's House Christian Fellowship which hosted the event and was mentioned as a model for economic empowerment, neighborhood revitalization and community transformation.

The event was designed to foster collaboration and networking opportunities among established and emerging nonprofits and faith-based organizations, and federal, state and local agencies that address housing, health and economic/community development concerns. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Jacksonville Field Office was one of more than two dozen organizations involved in the symposium that aim to regularly meet to create a local forum.

One of the expected outcomes of the event is to advance collaboration with and among Jacksonville and Florida-based nonprofit organizations in using housing as a platform to enhance the quality of life and economic opportunities for residents in underserved areas. Stakeholders of the Duval County area are invited to join the First Coast Health Zone One Consortium, a group dedicated to improving the lives and economic opportunities for residents of Jacksonville's urban core-"Health Zone 1." Access the membership form ( Significance/First Coast Health Zone 1 Consortium_membership form.pdf) to get involved.

For more information:

HUD and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities

HUD Grants

EPA Showcase Community (

Northeast Florida Regional Council (


Content Archived: January 7, 2014