While we are out and about in the community or engaged online on platforms such as Twitter, we like to make connections between the Firm and local nonprofit organizations. By doing so we learn new things, see what’s happening out there in our region, and identify fundraising initiatives and unique projects to get our employees involved in. We connected with ReNU Niagara COPC, a non-profit through Niagara University on Twitter this week.

The mission of the ReNU Niagara COPC was to improve the quality of life for Niagara Falls residents by initiating and supporting asset based, target activities in partnership with community leadership. COPC addressed the urgent multidirectional urban problems of community capacity building, economic development and employment, and environmental justice and health.

As a cornerstone of NU’s active engagement in the community and through its work with faculty, staff and collaborative partners, ReNU Niagara COPC completed projects to address urgent community needs and challenges. Examples include the establishment of community vegetable gardens, tax preparation assistance, resident and organizational training (entrepreneurial, business development, fundraising, nonprofit management), and GIS asset mapping.

ReNU Niagara worked collaboratively with community partners to establish two community garden projects in Niagara Falls. In March 2008, ReNU Niagara partnered with several organizations to help with recruitment of local youth interested in planning, implementing and maintaining the “Keeping it Green” community vegetable garden. This garden is located in the south end of Niagara Falls, on land owned and adjacent to the Niagara Falls Neighborhood Housing Service’s executive offices and senior housing complex. The Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club has taken on garden responsibilities since its first season.

Planning for the second garden began in January 2009 when ReNU Niagara partnered with the Highland Community Revitalization Committee Inc. as well as the Henry J. Kalfas Magnet Elementary School to establish the Highland (Area) Community Vegetable Garden. Built on a lot adjacent to the Kalfas School, the community garden consists of 25 raised garden beds, rain barrels and composters, promoting sustainable gardening practices.

The Highland Greenfields project and the 2008 “Keeping it Green” community garden project were instrumental in shaping ReNU Niagara’s future programs and services. These two projects clearly demonstrated ReNU Niagara’s ability to mobilize an entire community of residents, bring people together from different neighborhoods and different age groups, build human and social capital, identify different assets in the community and leverage resources.

The two green neighborhood improvement projects gave ReNU Niagara a unique identity among community stakeholders and a defined niche. Instead of being perceived as just a connection to Niagara University and its resources, ReNU Niagara became recognized as a trusted partner in Niagara Falls by local nonprofits, community-based organizations and residents as an individual program that is willing to take on “out of the box” projects and connect others to neighborhood improvement resources.

Some of the organization’s signature projects include: GreenRoots Leadership Development Program, Highland Community Greening, Vacant Lot Initiatives, and a Niagara University Campus Garden.

We thought all of this is pretty cool and wanted to help this great organization get connected online. They are just starting to get a social media presence going, so here are the links so our ‘Freed Style” readers can get connected and hopefully engaged with the organization online.

http://renuniagarablog.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ReNUNiagara

https://twitter.com/ReNuNiagara

Hope you connect with them and learn about all the great things they are up to in our community!

ReNU Niagara engages, empowers and educates diverse community stakeholders to mobilize their collective capacity and resources to improve Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas based on a collaborative vision consistent with the mission and core values of Niagara University.