orking together and solidarity, can we find it anywhere? With the change in administration at national, regional, and local levels due to the elections, many questions have now surfaced regarding what is next for sustainable development. Where is sustainability headed moving forward? The concerns quickly arise with potential budget and cost reductions, especially for local government and community development programs. The major issue that has continually surfaced is where will funding resources come from for both existing and new programs that rely on federal funding?
Today, many communities and neighborhoods within our major cities rely on federal and state funding, as well as the public sector for access to basic services for residents and growth of local economic development opportunities. With these expressed issues and concerns, is there a community model being developed that is visionary and embraces a self-sustaining neighborhood? The answer is yes, and Seeds of Promise is that model.
Seeds of Promise (dba of Community Development Impact Ministration, Inc.), is a non-profit organization located in the SE area of Grand Rapids, Michigan that represents the collective voices of over 16,000 local residents. The vison for Seeds of Promise is to build a sustainable community that fully meets the needs of its current and future residents and stakeholders, measured by a high quality of life, abundant servant leadership, and equal educational opportunity. Compassionate leaders continuously seek to improve the community’s economic vitality, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship. The mission of Seeds of Promise is to transform the neighborhood through collaboration and community stakeholder partnerships, sustainable development practices, local resident leadership and trust, deep listening to community voices, and meeting the needs and wants expressed by community members.
The guidelines for this self-sustaining neighborhood model are:
Unique to Seeds of Promise is its ‘bottom-up’, organic approach that empowers residents to improve their own prosperity. This model is in direct contrast to the previous model that focused on reducing poverty from a top-down, centralized approach that invested more in overhead than into direct service.
Prosperity is defined as having the following direct and supporting impact dimensions:
Direct impact dimensions
Supporting impact dimensions
Today, Seeds of Promise is directed by local residents who serve as the Host Neighbor Governance Board. They have been trained in leadership and administration, project management, and decision-making, and now chair the following impact team areas:
These impact team areas collectively represent what the local residents have described as necessary for their well-being and improvement in quality of life. Seeds of Promise has endured difficult times over the last 10 years, but has also gained consistent progress and great traction in becoming more of a self-sustaining neighborhood community since inception. Today there are over 50 endorsing stakeholder partner organizations that are actively collaborating by providing resources, in-kind contributions, support, and assistance to the various impact teams. The real difference today is that the resident voices are heard, residents define their own well-being, residents direct their own strategies, and residents make the decisions on behalf of the local neighborhood. A collective sustainability impact report is available on the organization website.