From sea to shining sea, there are dedicated nonprofit organizations working to rebuild and revitalize local communities in the United States.
Whether it’s building a playground or planting a community garden, this is the work that matters when rebuilding a community. Here are five organizations who do the work worth doing, and each one tackles revitalization from a different angle. No matter what your city or town needs, chances are these organizations are taking it on.
Revitalizing Downtown: Main Street America
Main Street America launched 27 years ago as a part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The nonprofit was a response to disinvestment across the nation in urban areas, causing small businesses to close and residents to relocate to the suburbs. Main Street America works to rebuild these districts, and have rehabilitated more than 260,000 buildings in 2,000 communities through their Main Street Approach, focusing on economic vitality, design, promotion and organization.
“What sets us apart is our commitment to work with communities at every stage in the revitalization process. [In] each of our designated Main Street Communities, there is a professional manager who wakes up each and every day with the goal of making that downtown a better place.”
Patrice Frey | President & CEO, National Main Street Center
Get Involved by Rebuilding Your Community
Look for an expanded Main Street America in 2017. They are working to grow their influence in urban centers across the country, in addition to focusing more on the intersection of health and economic development.
See if there is a Main Street America Affiliate in your area, and learn how you can take an active role in rehabilitating your downtown neighborhood.
Planting for a Cause: America in Bloom
America in Bloom works to provide every community with a vibrant and welcoming space to live and play, all through planting flowers and trees. The organization promotes beautification programs as a part of a push for towns and cities to have a clean and healthy environment for residents.
Since its founding in 2001, America in Bloom has helped 240 cities in 41 states revitalize their community, and that number will continue to grow in 2017.
Get Involved by Organizing a Local Contest
Bring the beauty of natural landscapes to your town by organizing a local contest. America in Bloom promotes community involvement in their mission, and provides a framework for neighborhoods to appeal to residents and businesses alike. Competitions range from balcony displays to “Best Bloomin’ Business,” so there are plenty of ideas to inspire you.
Encouraging Playability: KaBOOM!
Sound familiar? You might recognize this organization from a cameo appearance it made on “Parks and Recreation” in 2008, and yes, it’s real. KaBOOM! is a nationwide nonprofit working to revitalize local communities by giving children safe places to play and explore. With 16,000 completed projects that improved or built new playground spaces, they are strong advocates for a healthy and active community.
Get Involved by Encouraging Active Play
KaBOOM! is hoping for community members to become advocates for active play spaces in their neighborhood. That is because those communities with bike paths, better sidewalks, green spaces, playgrounds and other areas that encourage playability see a drastic improvement in their quality of life.
Creating Healthy Housing: Rebuilding Together
What began as a small group of community members rehabilitating homes in Midland, Texas, has now grown to a nationwide nonprofit with a wide-reaching impact. Rebuilding Together works at the local level, assisting homeowners with repairs to increase the safety and health of their homes. “Every year, Rebuilding Together affiliates complete nearly 10,000 projects with the help of 100,000 volunteers,” explains Caroline Blakely, President & CEO of Rebuilding Together.
The organization is currently focusing on National Rebuilding Month in April, where they are scheduled to work on 1,600 projects. “We will continue to repair homes and community spaces throughout the summer, and this fall we will concert our efforts in Baltimore, MD for our Building a Healthy Neighborhood event,” says Caroline.
Get Involved With Your Local Affiliate Chapter
“Local residents who want to support our organization or want to help their neighbors in need and volunteer their time should reach out to one of the 142 affiliates we have across the country.”
Caroline Blakely | President & CEO, Rebuilding Together
Find your local affiliate chapter, and volunteer at one of their upcoming events.
Eliminating Abandoned Structures: The Blight Authority
When you walk through your community, do you notice any abandoned buildings, homes and lots? You probably even dream of turning them into a green space or usable community center. That’s exactly what The Blight Authority is aiming to do.
Working in Michigan, this organization has helped eliminate more than 100,000 blighted structures in order to provide a more clean and safe neighborhood for local residents. They clean up lots of any trash and debris that has collected, in addition to handling the demolition of any abandoned buildings and structures on the lot.
Get Involved With Blight Elimination
You can support The Blight Authority and the work that they do by making a donation. If you know of an area that needs help with blight elimination, see if your city takes urban renewal requests where you can submit a lot or area to be cleaned up and removed.
If you are in need of a dumpster for your community organization, project or know of a worthwhile organization please complete Budget Dumpster’s donation request form.