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One America - CommUnity-St. Louis

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One America

Program: CommUnity-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Contact(s): Maggie Potapchuk, Project Director: (314)-241-5103
Purpose: To decrease racial polarization in the St. Louis community

Background Program Operations Outcomes


CommUnity-St. Louis is a project of the National Conference for Community and Justice, an organization that has over 60 years of experience in intergroup relations in the St. Louis region. Initiated in the religious community to create and strengthen long-term, intentional anti-racism processes within faith organizations, the program has expanded to include major political, media, business, education, nonprofit, and civic organizations. In development since 1992 and formally established in 1997, CommUnity is a four-year, $1.6 million regional intervention program that decreases racial polarization and individual/institutional racism through programs focused on increasing the awareness of individuals and creating racially inclusive organizations.

Program Operations

CommUnity-St. Louis offers many diverse programs. Both the Dismantling Racism Institute and the Anytown Youth Leadership are six-day residential programs that develop skilled leaders to address issues in their respective institutions. The CommUnity Dialogue Groups, facilitated by a racially mixed team, provide people the chance to participate in 5, two-hour discussion sessions over a 6-month period. The CommUnity Collaboration Council, facilitated by CommUnity-St. Louis, is comprised of over 20 organizations that have made dismantling racism a priority in their mission and in their community efforts. In addition to their established programs, CommUnity-St. Louis staff members will also meet with clients to develop and deliver individually tailored programs for an organization. In 2001, when the program ends, the National Conference will continue to provide basic coordination of services in support of the institutions and people who, by then, will be advancing the mission of CommUnity-St. Louis through their own efforts.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Over 140 citizens have attended the Dismantling Racism Institute. They have made a two-year commitment to participate in 40 hours of community service and go back to their respective institutions and facilitate a meeting on how to create a more inclusive environment. Over 650 citizens attended the Building An Inclusive Community workshops, one-day workshops held in community and organizational settings to promote multicultural awareness. More than 100 citizens have attended workshops and presentations on dismantling racism. Over 120 residents have participated in CommUnity Dialogue Groups. Also, the program is being replicated nationally, with the first new process taking place in Orlando, Florida. CommUnity-St. Louis is in the process of being assessed by the Philliber Research Associates in New York.

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