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Mid-City CAN Blog

Third grantee retreat ‘building better connections’

Grantees drew and illustrated charts to show milestones in their Building Healthy Community Initiative-funded projects.
Grantees drew and illustrated charts to show milestones in their Building Healthy Community Initiative-funded projects. To see the charts they created, click here.

About 60 participants attended the Building Healthy Communities Initiative Grantee Retreat on Oct. 26 at the City Heights Family Health Center. The purpose was to learn about other grantees' work and share best practices.

After a short introduction by Mid-City CAN Collaborative Director Diana Ross and The California Endowment Program Manager Steven Eldred, attendees watched “Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street.”

The film follows a Boston neighborhood, from its decline in the 1960s and ’70s through redevelopment plans in the mid-’80s. Originally, the effort was a conventional redevelopment with no resident involvement. Community advocates demanded resident representation and community jobs, affordable housing, and eminent-domain power.

After the film, Eldred and Ross led a discussion.

Eldred pointed out how the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative started out with major foundation funding, but as the effort matured, the residents became the drivers of the effort and the foundation took a back seat.

“You saw over time the shift from foundations, to organizations, to residents,” he said.

Another activity was visual facilitation, led by Marc Meyer, associate director of the Training Institute at The National Conflict Resolution Center, and Dorothy Zirkle, director of health services at Price Charities.

During this exercise, participants drew visual representations of their project’s highs and lows and charted their progress.

The final part of the half-day event was keynote speaker Richard Figueroa.

Figueroa, director of health and human services for The California Endowment, said that the Endowment is “all in” in supporting health-care reform and talked about how important the Affordable Care Act is to California.

Participants appreciated the half-day of training

Michele Melden, director of policy advocacy, training and development at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, said the film “Holding Ground” was one of the highlights for her.

“I really liked in the film the idea of [residents] turning the tables,” she said. “I thought there were great lessons to be learned for our own community”

Melden also valued the informal networking.

“One of the nicest things was to get to see what other people were doing,” she said. “The formatting was great for learning about what was going on in the community. The people who presented were very impressive.”

Gary Rotto, director of health policy and strategic communications with the Council of Community Clinics, said he found the video inspirational, as well.

“What I take out from today is just building better connections and learning more about organizations that we continue to partner with in the Building Healthy Communities Initiative,” he said.


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The Mid-City Community Advocacy Network's mission is to create a safe, productive,Quotation (Right)
and healthy community through collaboration, advocacy, and organizing.




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