"Starting a Training Center"
N T M E T OF H AR EP O US U.S. D ING T AN EN D M R U BA P N D E VELO Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A Howto Guide for Property Owners and Managers U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Multifamily Housing Programs www.NeighborhoodNetworks.org (888) 312–2743 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers The guides in this series offer information on starting a center, creating programs and identifying center partners, marketing and media outreach, sustainability, funding, and much more. These updated guides feature new contacts, resources, case studies, and helpful information. Neighborhood Networks is a community-based Initiative established by HUD in 1995. Since then, centers have opened throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These community learning centers provide residents of HUD insured and assisted properties with programs, activities, and training that promote economic self-sufficiency. This guide was published in 2005. To receive copies of this publication or any others in the series, contact: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Networks 2277 Research Boulevard, 5J Rockville, MD 20850 Neighborhood Networks Information Center Toll-free: (888) 312–2743 E-mail: email@example.com TTY: (800) 483–2209 All publications are available from the Neighborhood Networks Web site at www.NeighborhoodNetworks.org. Copies of this TA guide are available in Spanish and can be requested from the Neighborhood Networks toll-free Information Center at (888) 312–2743. i Table of Contents Part I. The Benefits of Starting and Working With a Neighborhood Networks Center on Your Property ......................................................................................................................................... 1 How Do Neighborhood Networks Center Participants Reap Benefits? ................................................... 1 Owner and Manager Focus Groups Address Neighborhood Networks Participation .............................. 2 Profiles...................................................................................................................................................... 3 Part II. How to Start a Neighborhood Networks Center: A Guide to What Is Involved for Property Owners and Managers ........................................................................................................... 7 Preplanning............................................................................................................................................... 7 Preplanning—Before You START .......................................................................................................... 8 Step 1: Beginning the Process .................................................................................................................. 9 Step 2: Program Planning ....................................................................................................................... 13 Step 3: Marketing and Outreach............................................................................................................. 17 Step 4: Organization and Management .................................................................................................. 19 Step 5: Planning for Center Operations .................................................................................................. 20 Step 6: Budgeting and Fundraising ........................................................................................................ 22 Frequently Asked Questions About START .......................................................................................... 25 Neighborhood Networks Information ..................................................................................................... 27 iii Part I. The Benefits of Starting and Working With a Neighborhood Networks Center on Your Property For more than a decade, Neighborhood of certain eligible property funds to help with Networks centers throughout the nation have startup and operation costs. HUD Coordinators provided computer access, afterschool activities, in each state can provide more information about job-training programs, education programs, and property funds that can be used for much more to residents of HUD insured and Neighborhood Networks centers. Starting a assisted housing as they move toward self- center could: sufficiency. A Neighborhood Networks center • Make your property more competitive, benefits everyone involved—residents, owners attract new residents, lower vacancy rates, and managers, partners, and the community. and stabilize your tenancy. How Do Neighborhood • Decrease security and upkeep costs by giving residents a greater sense of pride in Networks Center Participants the property and a greater stake in the Reap Benefits? overall well-being of the community. • Help build lasting, mutually beneficial Residents relationships with residents and local The immediate beneficiaries of a Neighborhood partners that work with the center. Networks center are the residents. Neighborhood Networks centers help residents gain self- • Reduce crime by providing increased sufficiency through education, improved life and economic opportunities, activities, an work skills, computer literacy, and job- attractive gathering place, and supportive preparation training. Centers typically offer a atmosphere for youth. variety of programs and activities to residents of HUD insured and assisted housing, including: Partners Partners and centers build relationships that • Technology training and access. meet their specific needs and interests. Local • Education. partners typically include businesses, • Job preparation. corporations, schools, colleges, hospitals, social • Health. service agencies, nonprofit organizations, and • Microenterprise development. government agencies. Forming a partnership • Childcare. with a Neighborhood Networks center may help • Afterschool programs. an organization: • Social services. • Access an untapped workforce that it can train to meet its needs. Property Owners and Managers • Provide internship and volunteer Property owners and managers benefit directly opportunities to residents. and indirectly through gains by residents, partners, and the community. • Open an additional link to new markets in the center’s community. A Neighborhood Networks center can improve a • Meet its philanthropic commitments. property’s bottom line. HUD may allow the use 1 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers • Develop a partner’s image as a positive Call the Neighborhood Networks force in the community and make a real Information Center toll-free at (888) 312– difference in the community’s economic 2743, TTY: (800) 483–2209. health. Successful partnerships can work in many ways: Owner and Manager Focus • A social service agency provides support Groups Address Neighborhood services at a Neighborhood Networks center Networks Participation and reaches a new group of constituents. Recent focus groups consisting of owners and • A corporation works with a center to managers of Neighborhood Networks centers develop a job-training program and gains and owners and managers not yet involved in the access to a newly trained workforce. Initiative focused on center successes and • Area colleges and universities provide explored how HUD could reach uninvolved student interns to teach afterschool owners and managers. More than 1,000 programs, providing both interns and center Neighborhood Networks centers have opened on participants with a beneficial learning HUD insured and assisted properties since 1995, opportunity. offering computer access, staff assistance, and a range of training resources. • Hospitals and community health centers develop programs and activities to work The focus groups found that properties with with centers on public education and to Neighborhood Networks centers attract residents improve the community’s overall health. who are more motivated to participate in the socioeconomic mainstream. This, combined Communities with the federal preferences waiver that broke up A sound local economy is rooted in the financial concentrations of very low-income families in resources of the people who live in the assisted housing, created a strong mixed-income community. When residents prosper, so do their resident population for properties. communities. Neighborhood Networks centers foster partnerships of local groups and Neighborhood Networks centers foster greater businesses working together toward common opportunities for residents’ personal goals—partnerships that can strengthen the development, which has a positive impact on the fabric of a community. By equipping people property. Participants reported that graffiti is with the skills to participate in the information reduced. Kids are no longer hanging out; revolution, Neighborhood Networks prepares instead, they are in the centers learning. them to take a more active role in our society. Residents complain less about their environment, are more focused on improving Interested? For more information, write: themselves, and increase their involvement in community activities. U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Networks centers can improve Neighborhood Networks the image of assisted housing. While 2277 Research Boulevard, Mail Stop 5J collaborating on center programs, neighbors, Rockville, MD 20850 partners, and residents develop mutually beneficial relationships. As a result, the Or visit our Web site: community may view the property more www.NeighborhoodNetworks.org positively. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 2 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers To maximize the effectiveness of Neighborhood Advantage Centers in Minneapolis, Minnesota— Networks centers, the focus groups Neighborhood Networks offers tangible benefits. recommended that: The Seward East Advantage Center, which opened in 1999 to serve 813 residents, is, like • Programs should strongly emphasize Seward West, a registered Neighborhood expanding overall resident self-sufficiency, Networks center. The Advantage Centers are not just computer skills. CommonBond Communities’ model for • A resident service coordinator should be combining affordable housing and onsite responsible for helping the community services to help residents succeed. become self-sufficient, not just for helping residents obtain services. The Seward East center offers educational opportunities for residents including tutoring Neighborhood Networks center staff need to programs coordinated with local schools, have opportunities for training to understand general equivalency diploma (GED) programs, complex issues such as welfare to work and lack English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, of childcare, transportation, and job training. and employment-preparation training. Structured programs are coordinated by CommonBond staff Profiles and the center has become a place for success that is a point of pride in Minneapolis’ Seward Property Owner and Manager Share neighborhood. CommonBond, a 27-year-old nonprofit organization that joined the Vision of Neighborhood Networks Neighborhood Networks Initiative in January Potential 1998, had begun operating onsite computer and An apartment owner in Chicago and a property resource learning centers even before HUD manager in Minneapolis share a vision of what launched Neighborhood Networks. can be accomplished with a strong commitment to Neighborhood Networks. “We have people moving into full-time jobs with benefits and we have people who have “We thought this [opening a center] would be a become homeowners,” says Errigo. “Kids are wonderful idea for children to improve their improving school performance through our computer skills and for adults to learn those mentor program.” One of the most important skills,” says Loretta Orme of Illinois Parkway impacts of the program, he says, is that “folks Gardens Associates, owner of the Parkway are seeing their neighbors succeed.” Gardens complex in Chicago. A Neighborhood Networks center opened at the 694-unit Errigo believes Neighborhood Networks development in 1999. represents an opportunity to broaden the definition of affordable housing. “It’s more than Orme says Illinois Parkway Gardens Associates bricks and mortar,” he says, “affordable housing envisioned the center as a place where children is a stepping stone to self-sufficiency.” For can practice skills learned in school, since they Errigo and other apartment managers and do not have computers in their homes. owners nationwide, Neighborhood Networks is a Ultimately, the Neighborhood Networks center key item in HUD’s toolkit for addressing urban is “for the benefit of the residents, not our gain,” problems. she says. “It is about trying to improve the lives of the people who live at Parkway Gardens. Property owners and managers who want to Hopefully some will be able to move up and learn more about Neighborhood Networks can out.” contact the Neighborhood Networks Information Center toll-free at (888) 312–2743 or visit the For Joe Errigo, president of CommonBond Neighborhood Networks Web site at Communities—a nonprofit corporation that www.NeighborhoodNetworks.org. Local HUD operates the Seward East and Seward West Neighborhood Networks Coordinators can also 3 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers provide information about the program. You can According to Jones, a Neighborhood Networks locate contact information on HUD Coordinators center is a good marketing tool for attracting by state on the Web site under “Resources for residents. “For our company, it’s the only tool. Existing Centers.” Neighborhood Networks increases residents’ involvement in the property,” she says. “They For more information on CommonBond have bought into the program and they take Communities Neighborhood Networks Centers, better care of the property. Where we have contact: centers, there is less vandalism. We don’t have any security [at the centers] and we have never Deb Sakry Lande, Communications Manager had a break-in. The residents watch it.” CommonBond Communities 328 Kellogg Boulevard West IRM also sees other indirect and direct St. Paul, MN 55102 incentives for owners and managers that provide Phone: (651) 290–6225 centers, Jones says. “We also have a Fax: (651) 291–1003 development side, where we compete for HOPE E-mail: email@example.com VI contracts. ‘What are you doing for the Web site: www.commonbond.org community?’ is what they want to know. We present our Neighborhood Networks program to For more information on the Loretta Orme the public housing authorities as well as to the Activity Center of Parkway Gardens residents,” she says. “On the management side, Apartments, please contact: Neighborhood Networks helps us acquire more contracts, too. Property owners want to know Vera Stewart what do you bring to the table? Well, we have 6416–18 South Martin Luther King Drive these programs.” Chicago, IL 60637 Phone: (773) 684–3160 Depending on the location, some HUD hubs Fax: (773) 684–3923 may also allow property managers to charge E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org higher management fees for properties with computer centers, Jones points out. Interstate Realty Management Company IRM generally funds its Neighborhood Networks centers directly from each property’s Interstate Realty Management Company (IRM), operating budget. “The centers are pretty fiscally headquartered in Marlton, New Jersey, counts stable, and the properties are pretty sound, so it’s 25 Neighborhood Networks centers located on not that hard,” Jones notes. its more than 188 properties in 17 states, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. For For the few centers that do struggle for Jacqueline Jones, IRM vice president of social sustainability, Jones says, “we do creative things services, there is no question that the centers are about getting assistance, for example from a direct benefit to the property management universities. Resident groups have received firm. grants … we have received a lot of computer donations. That helps, if the computers are good Property owners and managers who wonder enough to be worth the effort. If you have a whether a community technology center will personal staff that is aggressive, you can get a help their bottom line, Jones says, should check lot of donations. You get more nonprofit comparative data on IRM’s costs and expenses partners who contribute goods and services.” for properties with and without centers. This would “show them the way it [Neighborhood Because of the way IRM funds its centers, they Networks] does enhance market values—we are not directly eligible for foundation and know it does.” federal grants targeted to nonprofits. However, the resident groups and councils at the properties 4 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers are eligible to apply for such funding support. For more information on IRM Neighborhood This also serves to keep the residents involved in Networks centers, contact: planning and developing center programs. Jacqueline Jones IRM actively and aggressively courts partners Vice President, Social Services for its centers. Marketing and outreach are Interstate Realty Management Company essential, Jones says. “Corporate brochures, One East Stow Road brochures for individual sites, occasional P.O. Box 994 newspaper ads—it’s key that they look good, Marlton, NJ 08053–0994 and very professional,” she notes. Phone: (856) 596–0500, ext. 2815 E-mail: email@example.com 5 Part II. How to Start a Neighborhood Networks Center: A Guide to What Is Involved for Property Owners and Managers This guide is not intended to be a complete step- by-step procedure manual. Instead, it provides This remainder of this section lays out the center an overview of the process of planning and startup and business plan development process starting a center. For more complete starting with a preliminary step of envisioning information, you can refer to the Strategic the center followed by six action steps: Tracking And Reporting Tool (START), a business plan development program on the Preplanning Neighborhood Networks Web site at Reflecting, brainstorming, and envisioning the www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/mfh/nnw/nnwbusiness. center. cfm. START is a unique and effective way to develop, manage, and track center operations. Step 1: Assessing Center Mission Once you have decided to open a Neighborhood Networks center, you should complete the Includes center benefits to various stakeholders START workbook and then use START online (parties with a stake in your center’s success) to work through the development process. including owners, managers, and property staff; residents, community members, employers, and The START process will produce a business other key stakeholders. It also covers assets in plan, which is an integral part of becoming a the community and beyond, staffing resources, Neighborhood Networks center, to serve as the and center users and their interests and needs. framework for a center’s operation. It is essential to have a business plan in order to Step 2: Program Planning receive funds from many sources of public and Includes programs to be offered; targets for private support. The plan also will help standard annual outcomes that can be measured maximize the achievement of goals and and evaluated; customized goals, activities, and minimize costs. The START workbook is outcomes; and a center program calendar. available on the Web at www.hud.gov/utilities/intercept.cfm?/offices/hsg/ mfh/nnw/resourcesforcenters/nnwstartguide.pdf. Step 3: Marketing and Outreach Includes developing both an internal and an The workbook contains all the steps and external marketing plan targeting potential information included in START online, but the center users, potential partners, and the larger PDF file will not perform necessary calculations community; a list of potential partners who can or filing processes. help meet programming needs; and a plan of action to develop partnerships to help a center Please call your local HUD Neighborhood meet its goals. Networks Coordinator or the Neighborhood Networks Information Center toll-free at (888) Step 4: Planning for Center 312–2743 for technical assistance. Another good Organization and Management resource is the Community Technology Centers Structure Network (CTCNet) Center Start-Up Manual, a comprehensive guide to starting a community Defines the roles of residents and an advisory technology center, which is available on the board or board of directors; the benefits and Internet at www.ctcnet.org/toc.htm. advantages of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status; a 7 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers timeframe for developing accounting • Is the center unique? If so, how? infrastructure and personnel policies and procedures; and a list of goals, activities, and • What would be the benefits for all of the outcomes for the organization and management stakeholders? of the center. Another important question that should be answered at the outset is who will be involved in Step 5: Planning for Center designing the center? The center organizer (most Operations likely the owner or property manager of the Answers questions about space and equipment housing development), one or more resident requirements, accessibility, maintenance, representatives, representatives of the local retrofitting, security, and developing a center business community, representatives from the operations timeline. educational community, and one or more professionals should be involved. Step 6: Budgeting and Fundraising Individuals representing those interests will Includes estimating startup costs and center constitute a steering committee. The steering operating expenses for the first 3 years, and committee is important because the center developing potential sources of funding such as organizer rarely has the time (or all of the HUD funding, user fees, foundation grants, and experience) needed to establish a center. The business development. organizer should recruit and select people who possess the necessary skills and experience to develop and grow a community technology Preplanning—Before You center. START The roles and basic tasks of each participant are Before you begin, take some time to think about discussed below. the prospective center. Write down ideas triggered by the following questions: Neighborhood Networks Center • Who are the stakeholders (residents, owners, Organizer the community) that will have an interest in The center organizer is the individual who had the center? the original idea to establish a center, who • Who will the center serve (residents, coordinates all aspects of center development, community residents, neighborhood and who makes key decisions about how to children)? make the center operational. • What are the demographics of the Resident Representative population to be served by the center? For example, what languages, cultural groups, One of Neighborhood Networks’ main goals is age groups, income levels, and family status to help residents achieve economic will be represented among center users? independence. Thus, residents play a large part in the center development process. The resident • What will the center do? representative, or representatives, publicizes the • Where will the center be located? developing center among residents and provides them with information. A representative can • When will the center begin its work? What help assess residents’ needs by distributing is the timeframe for startup? What hours surveys or questionnaires among residents and will the center be open? collecting information. The representative also can encourage resident participation at the • What is the center’s purpose? center. • How will the center be successful? 8 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers Local Business Community How Long Will It Take to Create a Representative Neighborhood Networks Center? The local business representative can bring The time required to develop a center depends special skills, expertise, and other business on many variables such as staff, computers, support to the center. For example, a local participants, space, and available funds for technology company representative could offer operations. For example, a community knowledge about computer hardware and technology center can be established within a software. A corporate representative from a short time if a supervisor, hardware, and space human resources company could provide are readily available. In general, however, it is expertise in staff development and training in likely to take at least a year to establish a addition to help with job preparation and Neighborhood Networks center. This timeframe placement. assumes that the organizers and steering committee members have constraints on their Representative From the Educational time, such as full-time jobs and families. These Community constraints usually mean that time given to the center will be limited. The educational representative (from a local school, community college, college, or university) will be a valuable contributor with Step 1: Beginning the Process knowledge about what the local school system offers; this individual may provide entry to other The purpose of this section is to provide a systems as well. The educational community complete and accurate assessment of the may be a valuable source of volunteers, conditions under which the center will operate. instructors, and survey takers. As you think about programs for the center, it is essential to collect data on the needs and interests of residents, on community assets and Professionals resources, and on potential community partners. Professionals may be needed at various stages of Completion of this section will result in: center development. For example, an accountant can help set up an accounting system to track • Creation of a mission statement for the and report income and expenses to keep you center. within your budget and to provide • Identification of center stakeholders and documentation to potential partners and financial benefits they can expect to receive. supporters. An attorney can help establish the center as a nonprofit corporation under state and • Determination of assets available to your federal laws, obtain zoning variances to use a center in the community and elsewhere. vacant apartment as a community learning • Definition of needed staffing resources. center, review leases for center space, and review any insurance policies. • Identification of center users, their interests, and their needs. Other Participants Create a Mission Statement Other participants can be added as center planning and startup progress. People with A mission statement tells the world what an knowledge of equipment acquisition, organization does, who it serves, and why it fundraising, hiring, and training can be valuable. exists. An example of a mission statement might As you identify neighborhood partners with be “to increase job opportunities for the useful resources, you can bring representatives residents of the Evergreen Terrace community of these partners into the planning process or by providing reliable access to computer consult with them frequently. technology and training.” 9 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers Modify the mission statement as the process Try to determine the benefits the center will continues or as experience with operating a bring: center grows. Having a mission statement on paper will help to focus planning efforts and • To the owner, manager, and property staff. help potential partners understand how to work • To residents. with the center. • To the community and employers. • To other key stakeholders. Identify Neighborhood Networks Center Stakeholders Identify Community Resources Stakeholders are the people and organizations Partners that can be found in the community that will be affected by a center. Residents have include businesses, organizations, and schools. a stake in the success of a center because it Use the following table as a sample of how to provides services for them. The community list those entities, then brainstorm about what might have a stake in the center because it they could offer your center. improves residents’ employability. Look back at the preplanning process: Who are the center’s List all community institutions that are potential stakeholders? partners and the resources they might contribute. This list will help identify the best possible partnerships in Step 3 of this process. The more possibilities on your list, the better. Institutions Resources Colleges Equipment Community-based organizations Experts Faith-based organizations Funding Government agencies Potential jobs Hospitals Programs Libraries Space and facilities Local businesses and corporations Other National Neighborhood Networks partners Nonprofit organizations Police Property owners/managers Public housing authorities Schools Television stations Others 10 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers What Resources Are Available national conference, through speakers, Through Neighborhood Networks? workshops, and discussion sessions. Community technology centers that are part of Telecommunications. Neighborhood Networks Neighborhood Networks gain access to many provides e-mail and fax distribution of important resources. announcements; conference calls on topics of interest to center staff; and telephone, e-mail, Communications and technical assistance. and in-person advice and support (including Neighborhood Networks staff and the workshops at regional and national meetings). Neighborhood Networks Web site offer a variety of resources for centers, including: Opportunities to share. Engage in • Materials such as newsletters (semiannually collaborations with other centers. Share in online and in print); fact sheets and technical hardware and software donations. Present assistance guides on a wide variety of topics, successful strategies at regional and national including planning for sustainability, meetings. fundraising, developing partnerships and consortia, and obtaining software donations; Identify Staffing Needs and and Web-based articles and resources, Resources including weekly funding opportunity The quality of its staff and volunteers is vital to announcements and success stories. the success of a Neighborhood Networks center. • Monthly conference calls that discuss topics Resourceful, friendly, helpful, and reliable staff of interest to community technology centers. members will make people want to visit and Conference call transcripts and audio files return to a center. are archived on the Neighborhood Networks Web site for easy reference. In general, interpersonal skills are more important than technical expertise. Technical • Neighborhood Networks banners that can be skills can be learned, bought, or volunteered, but borrowed for grand openings and other the ability to relate easily with a wide range of celebrations at centers. Staff can assist people, to give them confidence, and to centers with community and media outreach recognize and appreciate the abilities they to promote special events. already have, is critical. Staff should be able to • Neighborhood Networks staff provide communicate in the languages spoken by technical assistance on improving a center’s participants. Otherwise, both parties are at a self-sufficiency and sustainability. disadvantage. Information on volunteer recruitment, training, and leadership is available in When thinking about staffing, consider: addition to consortia and partnership • How many staff members will the center development. need? • Fundraising support through regional • Will the center need administrative and training workshops, identification of computer staff support and a center director? potential partners, announcements of funding availability, awards, and publication • Will the center use volunteers from of success stories recognizing center volunteer agencies, schools, or the achievements and best practices. community? Staff development. Regional technical Before developing a staffing plan or making that assistance workshops (RTAWs) can help with first hire, it is wise to consider all the tasks that center staff development, as can the annual make up a successful Neighborhood Networks center operation. These tasks are divided into 11 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers five categories: administrative, community – Housekeeping. outreach and development, direct services, – Refuse removal. facilities and equipment, and clerical support. • Technical support. – Troubleshooting hardware problems. Administrative. Duties include: – Arranging repair and maintenance. • Program development, management, and – Supply storage. assessment. – Registration, warranties, and insurance. – Recommendations for future purchases. • Fiscal accountability. • Liaison with governing/advising bodies and Clerical and support services. Duties include: funders. • Generating publications and announcements. Community outreach and development. • Assembling and organizing mailings. Duties include: • Sorting and routing incoming mail. • Cultivating and sustaining relationships • Updating bulletin boards and center within the community. information packets. • Promoting collaborations within the • Maintaining inventories. community and beyond. • Recordkeeping and filing related to finance, • Overseeing public relations and attendance, scheduling, resources, and so on. development planning. • Researching, writing, and followup for grant For a small center or a pilot program, all tasks proposals and other funding. may be the province of a single paid staff person supported by a carefully selected group of Direct services. Duties include: volunteers and the members of the steering committee. Larger operations require a greater • Educational activities. number of paid staff. It is also possible that – Teaching/supervising classes and public participants themselves may eventually take on access. some operational tasks. – Orienting individuals, volunteers, and groups. – Creating and facilitating special projects. Identify Center Users – Counseling for job, health, and personal A Neighborhood Networks center serves issues. residents of the HUD property and may also choose to serve members of the extended • Reception. community. • Welcoming visitors and participants. The center organizer should collect data on the • Answering and routing phone calls. intended community of center users, both in the • Monitoring sign-in/sign-out procedures. HUD property and in the community at large. It may be helpful for the property owner or • Providing information about center activities manager to first compile data on property and classes. residents and then separately list estimates for • Scheduling orientation sessions. other community members. Facilities and equipment maintenance. Duties Determine Property and Center include: Demographics • Site management. Compile demographic information for the entire – Security. population to be served by the center (residents, 12 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers community, or both). START online and the Neighborhood Networks in 1995. Today, the START Workbook contain worksheets for jointly managed Northport Apartments and collecting and compiling information on the age, Packers learning community centers operate a gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic very successful program with 40 high-end characteristics of the expected center population. computers, onsite employment training by a local vocational college, coordinated job- This information provides an overview of the placement programs that have permanently needs and characteristics of the population the placed more than 120 residents with various center will serve. It is important to use an corporate employers and public institutions, and effective approach to data collection that does educational programs ranging from Head Start not insult or demean the residents or the and K–12 to vocational training and college extended community, or make them feel that preparation. their privacy is being invaded. Mail an anonymous survey form, deliver it door-to-door, With all full-time staffing positions at or pass it out at a community meeting room or Northport/Packers filled by residents, Carmen meal site. If lack of response to a survey is a Porco, Housing Ministries of American Baptist problem, more creative ways of getting the director, sees resident involvement as critical to information may become necessary. Asking for the success of the Northport/Packers learning responses at a community meeting or focus communities. However, he recalls that at the group, or asking residents about their friends, time the Neighborhood Networks centers were relatives, or neighbors may provide a rough idea just starting out, few residents responded to of resident characteristics, but not exact surveys requesting input on their needs and numbers. If you are using multiple methods to interests. Because he realized the importance of gather data, devise a system for tracking their input, he eventually decided to approach responses, for followup, and to avoid duplicate individuals directly to ask for their suggestions. responses. However, it is critically important to This ultimately drew residents into the planning provide potential respondents with clear process and provided important guidance on information about how their responses will be what center users needed as well as what they used and how their privacy will be protected. felt would not be helpful. Identify Resident Needs and Interests “Don’t forget to try the direct personal approach and just ask people,” is advice that Porco The final step in this assessment is to collect continues to offer. “Remember that quiet, data on the needs and interests of the population observant people who don’t stick their necks out the center hopes to serve. This is critical before for attention may have some of the most you move on to program planning. A center’s valuable thoughts and suggestions, or needs that success depends on how well it meets the may have gone unnoticed.” interests and needs of residents and other center users. Step 2: Program Planning Profile: Do Not Overlook the Direct Program planning will help you to: Approach to Evaluating Resident Needs: Just Ask • Select programs to be offered. Housing Ministries of American Baptist is a • Develop targets for standard annual nonprofit umbrella organization that operates six outcomes that can be measured and HUD-assisted properties in Madison and evaluated. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Housing Ministries’ • Develop customized goals, activities, and Madison properties, Northport Apartments and outcomes. Packers Townhouses, were among the first in the country to add centers when HUD launched • Develop the center’s program calendar. 13 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers Use the information from the resident survey to Preschool and Family Programs develop appropriate programs that meet the These programs include times when parents can interests and needs of the center users. One way to consider program possibilities is to group bring their young children and work together to them by program function or by type of activity. explore appropriate software such as drawing, animation, and learning games. These programs Most centers will plan program offerings in two can be an opportunity to develop partnerships or more of the following areas: with a local Even Start, Head Start, or daycare • Public access or open lab time. program that may not have access to computers. • Preschool and family activities. The attention span of young children is limited, • Afterschool activities. so such sessions should be short, 30 to 45 minutes at most. Parents may need prior • Adult education. guidance in using the software to enable them to • Elder services. work effectively with their children, so plan an introductory session for parents. • Internet access (this can be a focus or a part of other offerings). Afterschool Activities • Career development and job preparation. Afterschool activities can be structured for • Job placement. different age groups or offered as open lab time for children. Children have an opportunity to • Electronic publishing (including video or hone their basic computer skills. They may multimedia). enjoy the following types of activities. • Electronic commerce. Subject-area activities. Includes commercial Public Access and/or Open Lab Time software that offers homework help, tutorials, and other activities covering subjects such as Most centers include some public access and/or reading, writing, mathematics, sciences, and open lab time. Public access offers members of other subjects (see step 5 for evaluation the community the opportunity to use computer guidelines.) and communications technologies to explore their own interests, develop skills, and discover Games. Games can be effective tools for getting how the technology works. Some centers ask children and young adults interested in learning participants in open labs for a voluntary more about computer technology. Exercise contribution of $1–2 to help defray the costs of caution in choosing games: some are violent, printer paper, cartridges, and disks. and others are mindless (see section 5 for evaluation guidelines). It is important to schedule time both during the day and in the evening. Evenings will normally Exploring the Internet. Children may wish to be a heavy usage time, with a variety of improve their skills by surfing the Internet, using individuals all doing different things. It is the Internet to do research, or communicating advisable to have a high concentration of staff or with peers through e-mail. volunteers present, at a ratio of at least 1 for every 10 users. If public access includes Internet Multimedia publishing. Includes designing access, more than one telephone line or a high- personal Web pages, constructing family or capacity access line may be needed. Special neighborhood profiles, and creating project rules limiting a person’s access time may be reports for school. needed. Making music. Includes learning about and/or writing music and songs (may require additional hardware and software). 14 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers Adult Education Internet Access If a program is to be comprehensive, it needs to A number of community technology centers involve far more than computer access. There provide access to Internet technologies for those should be classroom or tutorial space for otherwise left out. Most centers offering Internet noncomputer-based learning and instructors with access have found that the main attraction for the experience and qualifications needed to their participants is either e-mail for initiating teach these classes. Rather than developing an and/or maintaining contact with friends, adult education program from the ground up, colleagues, and relations in distant areas; and/or consider a collaboration or partnership with an self-publishing (developing personal Web pages existing community program. Adult education and publishing stories, recollections, poetry, generally includes: music, still pictures, and video to a worldwide audience). People who are experiencing • GED (general equivalency diploma) classes. computer access for the first time need to obtain • English as a Second Language courses. a degree of comfort with a variety of applications before they are willing to explore • Adult basic education classes. cyberspace. A center with Internet access as its • Lifelong learning opportunities. focus must plan on offering introductory courses aimed at equipping its participants with basic • Basic computer comfort, including computer skills. workshops to introduce people to the keyboard, the mouse, and basic applications Career Development and Job that will enable them to use the computer Preparation without supervision and prepare them for more advanced computer training. A comprehensive focus on job preparation will entail additional noncomputer classroom space Elder Services and instructors with the experience and qualifications needed to conduct classes. Job Seniors often prefer to learn about computers in preparation generally includes both job-skills classes made up of other seniors. Offering training and job-search activities. Job-skills seniors-only courses may increase their training includes classes in basic computer satisfaction with the center and encourage them literacy, keyboarding skills, word processing, to return. Like everyone else, seniors learn better graphics applications, spreadsheets, and in smaller classes. Some older persons databases; résumé writing workshops; and particularly enjoy: classes highlighting interviewing skills, proper • Mentoring young people. workplace attire and behavior training, and how and where to look for a job. • Games such as chess, go, or backgammon. • Telecommunications contact with relatives If job preparation will be a center’s focus, the and friends. steering committee should form an employer advisory council that will match the types of • Telecommunications and CD-ROM-based training offered, software selection, and program travel explorations. emphasis with the types of jobs available in the • Financial planning assistance. community. A focus on job placement requires a collaborative effort with an existing community • Family tree programs and family history service. If a center offers job placement to productions. complement its job-training program, its • Healthcare and other services information. activities will be similar to those available at some employment agencies. 15 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers Electronic Commerce set of high-level, measurable outcomes toward which the Neighborhood Network center can A variety of business activities can be conducted work. at a center including outsourcing, small business support, self-employment, and entrepreneurship. Customize goals, activities, and outcomes. START offers opportunities to create unique How Does a Center Organizer or goals, activities, and outcomes for a center. Steering Committee Set a Program Focus? Goals set a clear direction for action and set Use the data obtained through the processes program priorities. They answer the question: described in step 2 and the material presented What does the center want to achieve? above to determine a center’s program focus. A report of findings related to the interests and Activities are specific tasks required to meet needs of neighborhood residents and a report goals. They answer the question: What does the summarizing complementary programs already center need to do to achieve its goal? available in the community could be helpful during the planning process. Outcomes are the results of activities. They can be measurable results or positive differences The data collected will provide a good indication made in the lives of people and community. of the initial offerings and populations that Measurable results are anything that can be should be the focus of a center’s programming. counted, such as: Although the data should be considered when • People (class participation, GED graduates, making program planning decisions, the data residents who interviewed for jobs, residents should not be regarded as the final word. who gained employment). For example, suppose data relating to resident • Activities (course offerings, regular interests and needs indicates that many have meetings) or materials (brochures, manuals, only an elementary school education or less and curricula). no experience in computer technology. It might seem reasonable to rank adult education high on Other outcomes may include positive differences your focus list. If, however, the steering in the lives of people and the community made committee is not ready to commit to a full- by educating people, bringing families together, fledged adult education program, it could improving the community, or changing the way collaborate with an existing agency by providing people behave. Outcomes are the effect of the computer access in return for other services. center’s services on clients, program participants, financial supporters, the For assistance with program selection, feel free community, and partners. to call the Neighborhood Networks Information Center toll-free at (888) 312–2743 Examples of goals, activities, and outcomes will or contact your local HUD Coordinator. For a be provided in each remaining section of this listing of HUD Coordinators, see the guide. Neighborhood Networks Web site at www- domino4.hud.gov/NN/contacts.nsf/CoorSearch. Goals, activities, and outcomes for program planning. An example of a program goal is: Annual Program Outcomes • Increase residents’ ability to gain After selecting a center’s programs, determine employment and become more self-reliant. standard outcomes for the programs. The purpose of having these outcomes is to have a 16 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers Examples of activities that support this goal • A plan of action to reach those partners who are: can best help the center meet its goals. • Offer programs that build on residents’ skills (assets) and respond to employment Goals, Activities, and Outcomes for opportunities. Internal Marketing • Offer career placement and ongoing support To market a Neighborhood Networks center to during the early months of employment. potential users, try to set goals that are both achievable and measurable. An example of an outcome for this set of activities is: An example of an internal marketing goal is: • Fifty percent of participants will become • Promote the center to residents as a great employed within the first year of a center’s community resource that will help them operation. Thirty percent of those who achieve their personal goals. become employed will hold these jobs for a year. An example of an internal marketing activity is: • Involve as many residents as possible in the A goal worksheet is available both in START design and delivery of programs and online and in the START Workbook. Look at services to ensure maximum satisfaction. the center’s goals and think about how to evaluate whether or not the goals have been An example of an internal marketing outcome is: achieved. Try to set goals that can be measured. • Ten percent of residents will be involved in Program Calendar planning and/or marketing. The final step in program planning is Goals, Activities, and Outcomes for establishing times and dates for specific classes External Marketing and programs. Remember, these programs, classes, or events should relate to the program Take a look at the goals and think about how planning conducted earlier, center goals, and they will eventually be evaluated. Try to set anticipated outcomes. goals that are achievable and measurable. Step 3: Marketing and Outreach An example of an external marketing goal is: • Identify corporate and other national It is important to plan how to market the center, partners who will support the center with both internally to potential users and externally volunteers, cash, and equipment donations, to potential partners. Data collected in step 1 ensuring their maximum participation in the will be helpful in making these marketing center’s program. decisions as will the programming decisions made in step 2. An example of an external marketing activity is: This section will help you to develop: • Build relationships with local police and fire departments, schools, banks, churches, • An internal marketing plan targeting temples, libraries, and local businesses. potential center users. • An external marketing plan targeting An example of an external marketing outcome potential partners and the larger community. is: • A list of potential partners who can help • The center will establish linkages with three meet programming needs. social service organizations, two 17 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers community-based organizations, and two In a Neighborhood Networks technical faith-based organizations. assistance conference call on successful grant writing for sustainability, presenter Carmen You can use the goals chart from START online Porco urged center coordinators to think and the workbook to enter goals, activities, and creatively in looking for potential supporting outcomes for internal and external marketing. partnerships among local institutions. (Porco is Repeat for each goal you develop. Feel free to president of Housing Ministries of American continue to add additional goals, but remember Baptist, owner/manager of six HUD-assisted that each goal requires staff time to implement. housing properties, and director of a number of Be careful about how many goals are proposed. very successful Neighborhood Networks centers.) “United Way is often overlooked as an Partnership Planning excellent databank of local nonprofit organizations and key community leaders,” he Review the Neighborhood Networks partnership says. section at www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/mfh/nnw/ nnwpartnerships.cfm. Select the best potential Do not forget to check the local telephone partners based on resident needs and interests; directory for professional associations such as goals, equipment, and funding needs; and the Human Resource Training Group, the local partners’ interests and capabilities. For board of REALTORS®, and the Society for assistance in partnership selection and Training and Development, which may be development, please call the Neighborhood willing and able to help your center. Just Networks Information Center toll-free at (888) remember to evaluate carefully whether 312–2743. potential partners share enough of your organization’s philosophy and mission to be able Partnerships that work. The CTCNet Center to work together successfully. Other potential Start-Up Manual (page 17) contains a partners include local churches, unions comprehensive listing of types of community (especially socially active groups such as partnerships that have worked for community teachers’ and government employee unions), technology centers. and government bodies such as state agencies. (See sidebar about a successful partnership with IRM manages 25 Neighborhood Networks the Wisconsin Technical College Board System centers among its more than 188 properties in 17 in the Fundraising section of this guide.) states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. According to Jacqueline Jones, Partnership profile form. START provides a IRM’s vice president of social services, “IRM useful Partnership Profile Form, in which to aggressively seeks to identify and enlist partners store essential information about potential before it opens a new center. IRM reaches out partners. into the local community and approaches businesses to establish partnerships early and Partnership tracking log. Once a partnership designs training programs specifically to meet profile for a potential partner has been entered, the needs of local employers.” information can be recorded in a partnership tracking log. The log will be a useful way to When establishing a new Neighborhood track contacts and commitments and is a Networks center on one of its properties, IRM reminder to maintain communication with a holds a launch session that includes potential partner. Typical actions might be: representatives from the community, employers, and residents to determine what jobs are • Letter of introduction sent. available and what skills are required for those • Followup call made. jobs. • Initial meeting date set. 18 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers • Followup call made. determine how effectively the center serves its • Partnership established. target population. Funding commitments. Track resources and Management infrastructure. Describe the commitments from partners. Include partner center’s management team: for example, outline name, resources donated, donation value, and the supervisory roles of managers and the type of in-kind donations. If a partner reporting structure. Describe how the center is contributes more than one type of resource, enter operated. Who is responsible for which tasks? a separate funding commitment for each so that How are responsibilities divided among you can track contributions by resources and supervisors? How do managers coordinate their funding types. efforts? Step 4: Organization and Governance structure. Which group or groups (board of directors, residents’ groups, advisory Management committee) is involved in providing input and overseeing center activities? The number of This section focuses on the center’s governance persons involved depends on center needs. structure. A center’s ability to manage funds and Consider having people from diverse groups develop programs is important to financial (such as residents, businesses, educators, and supporters. Steps to consider: other professionals) provide advice. Answer questions about the center’s Action management structure, including the roles of residents and an advisory board or board of Think about your responses to the questions directors, and the center’s 501(c)(3) status. below, and sketch in answers if available. Not all centers will find every item applicable to • Develop a timeframe for setting an their situation. accounting infrastructure. • Develop a timeframe for setting personnel 1. Is there a residents’ committee? If not, when policies and procedures. will one be created? Describe the residents’ committee or the plans to establish one. • Set goals, activities, and outcomes for the organization and management of the center. A residents’ committee is comprised of people from the community who will participate in the Management, Governance, and center. Their role is important because their Staffing perspectives ensure that the center meets It is important to have well-planned resident needs. The committee can propose ideas management and governance systems to support to the center director for review and the center. This section helps a center organizer consideration. The voting power of the think about some essential components of committee will vary from center to center. organization and management, because organization and management affect ability to 2. Is there an advisory board or a board of attract funding. The presence of a sound directors? If not, when will the board be accounting system and IRS 501(c)(3) tax- established? Describe the advisory board/board exempt designation often determine if a funding of directors or plans to establish one. source is willing to commit resources. 3. Does the organization have bylaws (that is, Organization and management also affect center rules that govern the internal operations of a effectiveness. The way in which a governance group or committee)? If not, when will bylaws structure is established and the role residents be adopted? have in the decisionmaking process will 19 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers 4. Is the center a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit Important Considerations organization? If not, when will it apply for tax- The center environment is as important as exempt status? hardware and software. You need to think about 5. Is there an accounting system to track money computer equipment, software, and office supplies; maintenance, retrofitting, and security; received and money spent? If not, when will a space requirements; equipment; security plan; system be in place? Describe the accounting accessibility plan; and a center operations plan, detailing who will handle accounts and the timeline. A successful center is one where accounting methods the center will use, including any automated or computerized tasks. people want to visit, want to stay, and want to come back. Some of the features that can contribute to a welcoming environment include: 6. Does the organization offer employee benefits? Does it have a personnel manual, a • An open, friendly reception area with flyers staff training plan, or a staff evaluation plan? about the center, membership applications (if appropriate), center schedules, current Goals, Activities, and Outcomes for class registration information, and someone Organizational Structure to welcome people and dispense information. Walls can be used to display An example of an organizational goal is: photos of center staff and volunteers (with • Create an environment that continually names and relevant information), lists of evaluates residents’ needs and interests and sponsors and donors, and newspaper articles adjusts center programming accordingly. about the center and its participants. There should be a community bulletin board on An example of an organizational activity is: which participants can post notices of meetings, services, or opportunities to • Implement feedback opportunities, such as further heighten the impression that this focus groups and placing suggestion boxes place is of, and for, the community. throughout the center. • Comfortable, noncomputer social spaces or An example of an organizational outcome is: workspaces. Users may want to take time for a break, relax, exchange information with • Twenty residents will participate in the others, read a magazine, or do pencil-and- planning, operation, and management of the paper work in connection with their center. computer projects. If possible, situate this social space within close view of the center How will the organizational structure of the itself so that reticent individuals, such as center contribute to its success? Examine the parents, can get a sense of what goes on and goals and consider how they will be evaluated. may become intrigued enough to participate Try to set goals that are both measurable and themselves. achievable. Computer equipment and office supplies. Step 5: Planning for Center Think about how much and what kinds of Operations equipment will be needed. How much space is available in the center for computers and users? This section focuses on what is needed to open How many users is the center planning to and operate a center. It answers questions about attract? Where can the center receive in-kind space and equipment requirements and donations of computer and office equipment? accessibility issues and helps develop an operations timeline. 20 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers Maintenance, retrofitting, and security. directly impact, and will be impacted, by the Consider the following issues: type of computer hardware available. • What type of security does the center need? Selecting software is not an easy task. If the (Security includes locks, locking cabinets, center director or coordinator has been specific computer security, cameras, and in identified, he or she should be directly involved. some cases, a security guard.) Some local partners, especially computer- • What office supplies and storage are training educational institutions, information needed? (For example, file cabinets, paper, technology firms, or associations, may be able to and pens.) help with software selection and acquisition. You can also request assistance through the • Does the center need construction or Neighborhood Networks information line toll- maintenance to be operational? free at (888) 312–2743. Neighborhood Networks can put you in touch with successful center Space requirements. Describe the center’s operators who can provide suggestions from physical infrastructure and location. For their own experience. example, is the center located in community space or an offline unit? Is retrofitting required? Regardless of its size, constituency, What is needed to make this space work? If programmatic goals, hardware configuration, or construction and/or renovation is needed, budget, every community technology center estimate start and end dates. must make certain kinds of software available to its participants. These fundamental computing Center equipment. A major component of a tools are: new center is its computer equipment, which can be purchased, leased, or donated. Based on your • Word processing and desktop publishing. programming plans, determine: • Spreadsheets. • How much space (in square feet) there is for • Databases. computers and users. • Graphics. • How many computers the center can • Communications software. support. Each computer needs approximately 20 square feet. Variously referred to as productivity tools, application software, or business applications, • How many computers are needed for the this software forms the building blocks of program. computer comfort and skill. In fact, much of the existing commercial software library has been • How many computers are available. created using combinations and permutations of • The minimum number of computers these tools. Creative teachers and instructors required for startup. find ways to use these tools in the service of many disparate objectives such as adult literacy, When determining how many computers and job training and jobseeking, preschool support equipment are needed, consider how education, homework help, virtual travel, and many residents and users the center hopes to group projects. serve at once. Consider peak use periods. If there will be up to 30 residents in the center at Develop a plan to obtain any additional one time, be sure there are sufficient computers computers and equipment needed Based on to serve them. previous information, consider when to obtain and begin testing computer equipment and how Software selection and criteria. The planned long testing will take. Keep in mind that some programmatic focus of the center will affect the local or national partners may offer in-kind software needed. The software selected will 21 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers donations of computers, software, and other • To develop goals, activities, and outcomes needed equipment. for a fundraising plan for the center. Security plan. Does the center have a security Budgeting. Once center programs have been plan? If not, when will a security plan be designed, funding and other resources must be developed? When will the plan be in place? determined. What is and will be done at the center drives the funding needs. There are two Accessibility plan. Is there a plan to ensure types of budgets—startup and operating. A access for persons with disabilities? If not, when startup budget includes all of the one-time will an accessibility plan be developed? When expenses associated with developing and will the center be accessible to persons with opening a Neighborhood Networks center. An disabilities? operating budget includes all of the ongoing expenses related to center operations. Describe the plan to provide access to the center, equipment, and programs to persons with Budgeting requires two types of estimates: disabilities. This plan may include wheelchair access, voice recognition software, location of • Estimates of startup costs and operating services, and other considerations. expenses of the center. • Estimates of potential sources of funding Center operations timeline. Develop an (for example, user fees, foundation grants, opening and operating timetable based on business development). compiled data. Try to set a schedule that is both timely and realistic. Avoid unnecessary delays The START Workbook contains a Budget but do not set a schedule that will be difficult or Expense Worksheet that can help a center impossible to meet. For assistance in planning develop a complete budget. the center’s opening and operational schedule, please contact your local HUD Neighborhood Center Funding Networks Coordinator or call the Neighborhood Networks Information Center toll-free at (888) A center can be funded in various ways. Several 312–2743. potential sources are listed below. • HUD funding. HUD funding may be Step 6: Budgeting and obtained from one or more of the following: Fundraising – Residual receipts account. Funds from the residual receipts account may be used to Now that the work of the center and staff has fund a center to the extent that HUD been determined, it is time to locate the determines that these funds are not programs and resources necessary to make the required to maintain the habitability of center successful. In this section, the focus will units or to meet other building needs. be on calculating the cost to start a center and – Owner’s equity. The owner of a limited- developing operating budgets for the first 3 distribution property can increase the years. This section will enable the center: amount of the initial equity investment • To develop expense budgets for the center’s (and, in turn, the yield on distribution) by startup and operational budgets for the first investing nonrepayable funds in the 3 years. center. A rent increase, however, will not be approved to provide for additional • To review potential sources of funding and yield. build a revenue budget for the center’s startup and operational budgets for the first • Funds borrowed from the Reserve for 3 years. Replacement Account. Funds from the Reserve for Replacement Account may be 22 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers used to fund a center as long as HUD • Class fees. A center can charge an determines that these funds are not required attendance fee for classes it offers. In to meet anticipated repair and replacement addition, if neighborhood institutions use the needs. If this source of funding is used, then center to conduct classes for their own a center must submit a scheduled repayment members, they can be charged a fee for the plan that illustrates how the Reserve for use of the center. Replacement Account will be replenished. • Public access fees. Visitors can be asked to • Rent increase. The owner of a property make a contribution to the center. However, where rents are set under the budgeted rent no one should be denied access because they increase process may request an increase to have not made a contribution. cover center costs. These increases may be approved at HUD’s discretion. Business development. A variety of income- generating business activities can be conducted • Requesting a special rent adjustment. at a center. Business development may include Under certain conditions established by outsourcing, small business support, self- HUD (see Reference Materials), the employment, and entrepreneurship. If the center maximum monthly rent for units under a has a role in training individuals to become Section 8 contract may be increased to meet successful in business or if the center is used for the center costs. certain business activities, it might be • Excess income. For properties that generate appropriate for you to develop a system for excess income, HUD Notice 00–17 sharing profits in lieu of payment. authorizes the retention of excess income to help develop a Neighborhood Networks Fundraising events. Fundraising is an excellent center. source of funding for a center. It also generates community support. Creativity is key to a Private and corporate contributions. Private successful fundraiser. An event is that extremely contributors include individual donors, some of successful for certain organizations may not be whom may wish to remain anonymous. as successful for others. Corporations and community foundations often will provide funding for operating and program/ Types of fundraising events a center might project support. Corporate contributions include sponsor include: contributions made by corporations’ charitable • Annual events. Start a tradition with an foundations. Community foundations receive annual bike trip or walk-a-thon for which money from the public and award grants to people collect pledges. organizations within their communities. • Develop a fundraising event that is part of a User fees. Charging a reasonable user fee is one center’s Neighborhood Networks Week way to generate additional funding. activities. Neighborhood Networks Week is held each year to celebrate the • Membership fees. Memberships can be achievements, talents, leadership, and skills offered at individual and family rates. of families living in HUD insured and Residents could be offered the option of assisted housing. This weekly celebration paying the membership fee on an annual includes national Web casts as well as local basis or on a per-visit basis. The fees should activities at individual centers. be reasonable and affordable, equivalent to local bus fare or subway fare. For example, • Auctions. the Harlem Community Computer Center charges individuals $30, families (up to five • Cosponsored events. Cosponsor an event people) $35, and seniors and children $15 with other organizations or seek sponsorship for a 6-month membership at the center. from Neighborhood Networks partners. 23 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers • Other organizations’ events, festivals, or An example of a fundraising activity is: fairs. Set up a booth to solicit donations and • Contact prospective financial supporters distribute information. identified in the business plan and seek support. In-kind contributions. In-kind contributions are donations given in lieu of money. Most in- An example of a fundraising outcome is: kind contributions must be solicited and often require a formal request. Examples of in-kind • Provide 10 computers and GED software for contributions include: initial center programming. • Computer hardware. Look for creative ways to secure funding • Software. support through partnerships. Budget support • Space. can be developed through community • Volunteer supervisors and teachers. partnerships. The Northport/Packers learning • Clerical assistance. centers operated an employment training and • Accounting services. placement program with training provided by the local Madison Area Technical College Sources of funding worksheet. Once potential (MATC). The program was supported by sources of funding have been determined, Community Development Block Grant funding calculate the center’s budget deficit or surplus. If through the city of Madison. After several years, budget results show a deficit, look carefully at the city decided to discontinue funding training itemized expenses and consider whether programs. The Northport/Packers centers then additional items might be donated. As always, turned to the Wisconsin Technical College contact your local HUD Neighborhood Board System, the public governing and funding Networks Coordinator or call the Neighborhood parent body of MATC, for support for its Networks Information Center toll-free at (888) employment and adult education and literacy 312–2743 for assistance. program, which now serves as the basis of the employment training program. This partnership solidified a near-perfect match between the Fundraising Plan Goals, Activities, Northport/Packers residents’ needs and the and Outcomes technical college board’s mission. MATC now After the necessary funding level has been has an expanded student body with no need for determined, it is time to locate financial additional classroom or parking space. supporters. Moreover, funding for the Northport/Packers learning centers’ employment training, adult An example of a fundraising goal is: education, and literacy program is now institutionalized as part of the Wisconsin • Raise sufficient funds to begin initial center Technical College Board System’s 3-year programming. funding cycle. 24 Starting a Neighborhood Networks Center: A How-To Guide for Property Owners and Managers Frequently Asked Questions About START 1. What is START? 5. Where is START’s resident involvement? Center directors can use START, the Strategic Resident involvement is incorporated throughout Tracking And Reporting Tool, to effectively START. It drives center programs and success. manage and operate their centers. This online START includes a resident interest survey so business planning tool enables Neighborhood that appropriate programs and services can be Networks centers to track every aspect of center offered. development. 6. I do not have enough staff. How can 2. Is my center required to do this? START help me? Beginning in 2005, centers are required to use START can help you think in a very structured START to develop their business plans. START and strategic way. It can identify resources in helps both new and existing centers with your community, identify potential partners, and strategic and program planning. Because it is an can increase resident participation. This online tool, there are many links to important structure can result in a more efficient way of resources in areas such as funding and technical serving residents. assistance. 7. How long does the START process take? 3. Am I required to update? That depends on the amount of information There are no update requirements. However, entered. Enter information incrementally and at START does provide a data collection tool that your own pace. helps centers track valuable statistics such as how many residents have been placed in jobs or 8. How will I benefit? completed computer training. This data After completing START, you can produce a demonstrates success and can help with business plan that summarizes center activities fundraising efforts. and programs. START will help the center make informed strategic decisions and provide a 4. START has a tracking component. Why management tool that illustrates the impact and are you tracking centers? assesses center performance. It will also target Both centers and Neighborhood Networks areas of technical assistance that can be provided technical assistance staff can track a center’s to the center. activities. A center tracks its own activities in order to measure achievements. Other tracking components help show how technical assistance and resources can be targeted appropriately. 25 Neighborhood Networks Information For more information about Neighborhood Neighborhood Networks Consortia Networks, visit the Neighborhood Networks List of Neighborhood Networks consortia. Web site at www.NeighborhoodNetworks.org or contact the Neighborhood Networks Information Senior Properties Center toll-free at (888) 312–2743, or TTY at List of senior properties with operational (800) 483–2209. The Web site contains valuable Neighborhood Networks centers. information for centers, including: Online Networking HUD NN Coordinators Talk with Neighborhood Networks staff and Neighborhood Networks Coordinators listing. stakeholders via online networking. Center Database Publications Information about operational centers and those • Fact sheets. Fact sheets are one-page in planning. Neighborhood Networks centers summaries of various topics relevant to the across the U.S. listed geographically by state. operations of Neighborhood Network centers. Fact sheets that are currently Property Database available include an overview of the Information about Neighborhood Networks Initiative, health information, childcare, properties listed geographically by state. transportation, seniors, and community improvements at Neighborhood Networks Resources Database centers. Information about funding, technical assistance, publications, and Web site resources. • Network News (current and past issues). A semiannual newsletter that highlights News Database national achievements for a wide audience, Articles, press releases, success stories, and including partners and the public. grand openings relevant to Neighborhood Networks. • NNewsline (current and past issues). A semiannual newsletter that highlights topics List of Conferences of interest to Neighborhood Networks Calendar of conferences and training events. centers and Coordinators. List of Resident Associations List of Neighborhood Networks properties with active resident associations. 27 EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY