Local News

A Louisville community organizing group that rose to prominence through encouraging civic engagement and leadership will cease operations in July, citing a lack of adequate funding.

The Network Center for Community Change—known as NC3—often packed community centers during its monthly “Network Nite” with people interested in creating more equity throughout the city. The group has more than 5,000 members, its leaders say, and has been a key stakeholder in city engagement.

“NC3 was formed to build new leaders, advance educational opportunities, and strengthen neighborhoods,” according to a news release announcing the move.

NC3’s annual budget is around $670,000, says executive director Dana Jackson. A majority of that funding is grant-based. The reality, she says, is that NC3 is dedicated to its mission, “but it really is about having the funding that supports the mission.”

Jackson says NC3 has been able to sustain itself, until now, despite a gradual decrease in funding over the years. However, she remains optimistic that NC3 has created a network of community partners and people that can sustain some of the work it will leave behind.

The group has mapped vacant properties, participated in the Violence Prevention Task Force, and (full disclosure) has partnered with WFPL to survey West End households on education issues.

“NC3 is not a helicopter organization. Rather than dropping into a community to tell them what they need, we knock on doors, establish relationships, and listen,” the release says.

The last day of operation will be July 11. 

What NC3 has built is unprecedented in our community and exists few places in our nation, Jackson says. “NC3 and the Network are a movement for change—a Louisville where street address doesn’t determine life chances. It bridges differences, real and perceived, and creates a strong ‘one Louisville.’ The work of the Network lives on through its 5,100 members.  This transition is tough, but I believe in the power of people to move forward and stay connected to the work of justice.”

From a message on the NC3 website:

More than a decade after the birth of the Network, we find ourselves at a crossroads. Prematurely and with work still to do, NC3 as we have known it will cease operations effective July 11th, 2014. The leadership is working to ensure a smooth transition, and everyone remains optimistic that we will build on the momentum we have all created.

NC3 will no longer help lead the Network as a brick and mortar organization, but that certainly doesn’t mean the Network will disappear.  From day one, the Network has been bigger than we have all understood. The Network is greater than the sum of its parts. Each person, experience and victory is the Network. We all count on each other to continue the hard work that was started years ago.

There will be a realignment and adjustment period moving forward. While it isn’t clear yet how things will come together, we have faith that the people of Louisville will continue to focus and drive the conversations around still unresolved issues surrounding equality, opportunity, and engagement in our most marginalized communities.