History

In the summer of 2002, Councilman Al Vann convened a diverse group of community and nonprofit leaders serving the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant to unite around the immediate economic, physical, social and human development needs of the community. The Councilman recognized the value in having such a group to serve as an informal, centralized communications vehicle and “think tank” regarding local community and economic development. As a result, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Economic and Physical Development Task Force, which included approximately 25 community organizations, was created. The Task Force met faithfully every six weeks and more frequently in committees. During its existence it became a valuable community communications network, successfully advocating on behalf of the community with respect to land-use issues, specific development projects and policies impacting Bedford Stuyvesant.

Additionally, the Task Force, actively working in concert with Community Board #3, became a place for public officials, developers, community groups and other entities involved with economic and physical development to come for advice, feedback and support. In partnership with the Community Board, the Task Force also acted as guardian of the values and goals expressed in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community’s 197(a) Plan.

In the fall of 2005, the Task Force, with a grant from the Independence Community Foundation, institutionalized itself as the Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant (CIBS). Today CIBS represents a unique neighborhood coalition of nonprofit organizations dedicated to Bedford-Stuyvesant. Member organizations bring diverse experience and expertise to the community in such varied fields as real estate development, commercial revitalization, workforce development, human services, youth development, financial education, and foreclosure prevention. In aggregate, CIBS members represent a lifeline for much of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community, serving thousands of individuals and families annually with critical support.

In 2014, the three leading partners of CIBS formed a collaborative with the goal of driving community-level change by empowering Bedford-Stuyvesant residents living in poverty. This collaborative project, named All For One (A4O), centers on the basic idea that a community is made up of the people who live and work in it. Efforts to empower a community benefit from engaging the residents, one household at a time, by peers within the community.

CIBS identified A4O as its primary direction in 2015. As the name suggests, this initiative represents the harnessing of all community partners’ resources and strengths, with a data-driven service model, special emphasis on community engagement, and state-of-the-art technology providing the logistical framework. The objective is to draw on the strength and spirit of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community and facilitate the ability of its residents to lift up one another, together.

Aided by a grant from the Citibank Foundation, A4O is currently being conducted as a pilot initiative, anchored at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration with support from fellow founding partners Bridge Street Development Corporation and Pratt Area Community Council, to develop and offer a menu of integrated services to residents of select areas of northern Bed-Stuy. CIBS members and other community leaders are being called on to be a part of this network, addressing the following focus areas:

  • Housing Stability
  • Financial Education & Asset-Building
  • Workforce Development
  • Business Vitality
  • Health & Wellness

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