In 2010, the New York Community Trust funded Community Resource Exchange (CRE), through an innovative Neighborhood-Focused Capacity Building project, to address the capacity building needs of four neighborhoods: Washington Heights, Highbridge, Brownsville/East New York, and Far Rockaway. In the Rockaways, CRE conducted outreach to local community leaders and service providers, and held its first convening gathering in November of 2010.
After a series of meetings where individuals identified a range of community needs and challenges, as well the ways in which CRE’s presence would be helpful to them, the group agreed on two priorities to address as a collaborative: the development of Rockaway youth and strengthening the Rockaway nonprofit network.
Since this time, the Far Rockaway/Arverne Nonprofit Coalition has not only identified its mission, vision of success, and goals, but has also piloted a community needs survey, launched four youth-led summits, and played an active leadership role in the 2014 Participatory Budgeting process in District 31. In the face of challenges such as decreased funding opportunities and Hurricane Sandy, the Coalition's member organizations have also consistently relied on one another as partners in delivering services to Rockaway residents.
In 2013, the Coalition was awarded grants from both the New York Community Trust and the Fund for the City of New York, allowing the Coalition to increase its visibility and impact in the community as well as strengthen its growing network. Additionally, the Coalition hired its first full-time staff member to coordinate its efforts to ensure that the needs of youth and youth service providers on the Peninsula are met.
The Coalition continues to convene monthly to work toward its mission.