Letter: Time to refocus on the community

By A Better South Norwalk Team

We stand with the people in the communities of South Norwalk. Many residents of South Norwalk are hurting. They are in need of jobs and programs within the community. While a number of non-profits located in South Norwalk are receiving funds for the purpose of serving the community we are watching these same organizations do the exact opposite once they receive the funding.

These non-profits are responsible for providing fundamental resources to residents; resources that make a difference of whether or not a family has food on the table or a roof over their head. We want to remind the leadership of these organizations of this and ask them to remember that their job is to serve the community. At a minimum the organizations and their leadership should be committed to:

 Create economic opportunities for the community – Employment of residents from South Norwalk who are in disadvantaged situations … at a living wage

Fiscal Responsibility – Full disclosure of financial records, when requested, to show where the funds are going as well as a commitment to ensuring that the required percentage of each dollar reaches the program

High Quality Programming – A commitment to run performance-driven programs that have a proven positive influence on the community

Serve the entire community regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, or affiliation

It’s time all of those who have been allotted public funding with the task to serve and benefit the community commit to do just that. We are calling for these non-profits to shift their priorities so that they are focusing on strengthening their own organizations internally and also re-engaging with the community. A publicly funded organization should be about empowering the people in the community with the goal of strengthening the community.

If not, we need to open the door for new young leaders from the community to start programs, as so many aspire to do. We have community members who wish to start programs to work with our young girls and young boys, create youth sport youth leagues, as well as music programs.

It is time to act. We call for an end to superior treatment of organizations without a demand for superior outcomes.


A Better South Norwalk Team

Travis Simms

Sandra Stokes

Ernie Dumas

Phaedrel (Faye) Bowman

Martha Dumas


4 responses to “Letter: Time to refocus on the community”

  1. Casey Smith

    Hear. hear!!!

  2. SoNoCC

    South Norwalk Community Center (SoNoCC) fully embraces the spirit of the letter written by A Better South Norwalk. We look forward to better-serving the needs of the ENTIRE South Norwalk community. Our only public funding is the Community Development Block Grant, which runs through this June. The $100,000 funding is specifically earmarked for renovations and handicap accessibility for the first floor at 98 South Main Street. Renovations are ready to commence, now that NEON has [almost] vacated our space on the first floor. We are partnering with Norwalk’s finest institutions to provide an early childhood education program and a comprehensive after-school enrichment program, including STEM initiatives, the “3 R’s”, arts and crafts, music, and recreational programming. Our volunteer staff has made do without public funding until now and we look forward to expanding our outreach into the community with additional resources. Our full programming will be announced shortly and will include extensive initiatives for our ENTIRE South Norwalk adult community as well. Since March 2013, our all-volunteer staff, save one part-timer, has served 4,605 individuals: 395 with (unfunded) case management, 447 with seminars, 914 with celebratory events, 236 with civic forums and 2,511 referred to other nonprofits, plus 102 with our own enrichment programs. This does not include the 1,000 coats and 250 holiday gifts that were distributed in collaboration with our friends at A Better South Norwalk and others.

  3. Ruby

    The comment from SoNoCC , what are they trying to do beef them selves up. Its noway they have accomplished any. Do they think we are stupid. Even with the pass Director Josie. Most things that she did were done through Neon. Also certain Staff could go and ask for assist for someone in the community. Anyway when I see more of a diversity in management and staff, the I will believe it for the community and not just the Latino, cause right now music etc, that’s all I see!!!!!!!!!! Some people think because they have family in high places that they can do any thing. The funds earmarked for renovation, are they having bids or just given the jobs to the Latinos?

  4. SoNoCC

    We invite you to visit us at SoNoCC. Please come and introduce yourself. We’d love to show you the excited initiatives that are taking place for the entire community. A new management team has been in place since last March, on a volunteer basis. Yes, we love music, we embrace diversity, and our numbers have absolutely nothing to do with NEON. Although Latinos make up the majority of the minority in our community, our programming is available to everyone in the community. Oh, and the bidding process for the renovation will be published in the newspaper within the next few weeks. 🙂

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