Capacity building is an important part of the Promise Zone designation. It is about empowering residents and stakeholders, through resources, collaboration, and connections, to be able to revitalize and maintain healthy, active communities. Capacity building is about gathering support that enables the power to do, experience, or understand something.
Promise Zone designations have been granted to 22 urban, rural, and tribal communities. The designations were earned through three rounds of competition. The residents and community leaders of Indy’s Near Eastside worked together to demonstrate a consensus vision for their neighborhood in their application. The Near Eastside has a long history of coming together to plan and implement community projects. Those projects became practice at growing the abilities that will allow the Eastside to achieve results that are measurable as well as sustainable over time. The community’s ability to come together for past projects that led up to the Promise Zone application process also demonstrated that they have the capacity to carry it out and create measurable results.
One of the many examples of capacity building in the IndyEast Promise Zone is the development of the Near Eastside Quality of Life Plan (QOLP) by community members. Since its development, the QOLP has been used by organizations, such as John Boner Neighborhood Centers (JBNC), Near Eastside Area Renewal (NEAR), and Englewood Community Development Corporation (ECDC), as a guide for following Near Eastside residents’ vision for their community. Capacity building also involves recognizing the obstacles that keep communities from realizing the goals they have set for themselves. Collaboration between organizations like JBNC, NEAR, or ECDC and neighborhood residents is an important step toward overcoming such obstacles. For all stakeholders, collaboration in capacity building becomes an investment in the community’s future and sustainability.