COVENANT IN ACTION (RESULTS)
An informal group of leaders and community members united and made a commitment to work together over three years ago.
Here's a partial list of accomplishments...
We thank God for His great blessings and favor!
The Network has worked together and partnered to help continue the transformation that is occurring in our community and city. Members of the Network have been busy at work over the past three years. Here’s just a sampling of the type of work that has been completed:
* Helped bring together over 500 organizations and thousands of participants;
* Presented the State of African-Americans in person to over 1,000 individuals and hosted four State of African-Americans and North Omaha Summits to update the community on status and progress;
* Distributed over 10,000 copies of the Empower Omaha! Covenant;
* Met with city leaders, elected officials, business executives, faith leaders, and community organizations to discuss plans to improve the quality of life in Omaha;
* Supported African-American businesses, organizations and cultural events;
* Created an Empowerment Network web-site and e-mail blast to provide community organizations a new way of connecting with leaders and community members;
* Helped organizations and individuals develop new relationships and partnerships through networking events, meetings, and forums;
* Provided the opportunity for African-American and North Omaha restaurants to generate thousands of dollars in revenue by catering Network and community events;
* Supported African-American cultural arts, history, and entertainment organizations;
* Help community organizations to increase memberships and participants;
* Led prayer walks and community outreach efforts in high-violence hot spots and targeted neighborhoods;
* Partnered with churches and neighborhoods to host neighborhood block parties and outreach, reaching hundreds of residents;
* Partnered with churches to launch adopt-a-school and adopt-a-block strategies;
* Partnered with healthy family organizations to launch Marriage is Cool initiative reaching hundreds of High School students;
* Partnered with healthy family organizations to create and expand mentoring initiatives;
* Partnered with housing organizations to promote home ownership and prevent foreclosures;
* Hosted meetings, conferences, and major events, engaging hundreds of participants focused on economics, health, education, violence prevention, and voting;
* Helped to enhance, develop and promote existing and new communications and media vehicles, including newspaper, magazine, internet, e-mail, etc.
* Coordinated an important economic and community development networking trip to Kansas City to support cultural arts and entertainment growth;
* Provide training opportunities for churches, non-profits, businesses, and other organizations;
* Worked together to produce an African-American physicians directory and African-American behavioral health directory;
* Partnered with Building Bright Futures to host the first interactive community outreach meeting and launch significant community initiatives to improve academic success;
* Supported efforts to help hundreds of High School students receive college credits and make the successful transition to post secondary opportunities;
* Partnered with the North Omaha Voters projects to help increase voter turnout and participation in the state first caucus;
* Hosted the 2nd Annual Rebuilding the Village Conference, including 3 national speakers;
* Partnered to host the National Stop the Violence Conference;
* Hosted the Violence Prevention Summit and Conference with over 150 participants;
* Launched the Great Summer Program providing life skills, work experience, internships, and educational training to over 700 youth and young adults
* Expanded the Great Summer Program 2009 to include summer school, GED programs, College Prep, entrepreneurship, home rehabilitation training, weatherization projects, internships, employment, computer training, media projects, and other long-term projects...serving over 150 high at-risk youth and young adults.
* Partnered with African-American Unity Fund to host workshops for small, grassroots organizations and provide $450,000 to small non-profits for community work;
* Raised funds to help with Neighborhood Redevelopment efforts;
* Raised funds to assist with Violence Intervention efforts;
* Assisted organizations with grant writing and capacity building;
* Partnered to help register over 13,000 new voters;
* Helped generated record voter turnout in targeted areas of Omaha;
* Hosted the 1st North Omaha Green Economy Workshop, focused on jobs, job creation, housing, neighborhood development, business development, and manufacturing opportunities, providing the opportunity for large and small organizations to learn about emerging trends;
* Partnered with other organizations to host the 1st Omaha Economic Summit with elected and appointed officials, leading business executives, educators and administrators, non-profit executives, philanthropists, and others to focus on reducing employment, increasing high school graduation rate, moving from jobs to careers, and developing new African-American and North Omaha business;
* Partnered with Omaha Economic Development Corporation to develop and expand the Economic Development and Real Estate Planning Academy for residents;
* Received local, regional, and national attention from media outlets concerning the state of African-Americans, North Omaha and development of plans to improve the quality of life in a collaborative way;
* And, partnered with participating organizations to support other major events and efforts.
A sampling of comments from participants about the Network, Covenant, and people DOING THEIR PART...
"Being a part of the Network and the Covenant has helped me to agree with my wife to adopt. We have started the adoption process and I have changed my schedule to attend the classes. I have also made a commitment to host singles' and marriage conferences in North Omaha. I will write about the Covenant and continue to contribute strategically at meetings."
- Femi Awodele, Author, Speaker, President - Christian Couples Ministry, Int.
"The Covenant has brought folks together with varied gifts and talents...with the goal of improving our community. It has brightened my spirit. I have expanded my knowledge of what is going on in all areas of our community. I have assessed my personal commitment in all areas of the Empowerment Challenge. I'm committed to sharing the covenant with others, staying involved with the planning, and searching for Federal economic opportunities to bring to the table. We need to keep the energy."
- Louise Latimer, Office of Senator Ben Nelson
"The Network has given me renewed energy and hope. I have been an active participant, promoted the work of the covenant and contributed financially to support the Kick-off luncheon. Timing for the Covenant couldn't be better. We have formed a housing consortium and alliance that will advance the work of providing better housing and commercial development in North Omaha."
- Michael Maroney, President - Omaha Economic Development Corporation
"A a part of doing my part, I initiated a community walk. Though our group is small in size, we completed our 7 week commitment to walk together 4 days per week. Now that we have experienced the benefits of regular exercise we are continuing our walks. I'm also working with the health team on the Empowerment Walk."
- Gladys Harrison
"It's helped me to step up to the plate and step out on faith to help make our community a better place for our families, youth and our elders. Looks like something is finally going to happen in our community. As a part of doing my part, I'm working with the Tuskegee Airmen to help open a museum in their honor and the Alfonzo W. Davis Chapter. I will be supportive of the Network, the Covenant, and work to make this dream come true."
- Dr. Dennis Edwards
"It has provided hope to a community...we can control our own destiny and this personally makes me feel good about participating. The Network has been extremely valuable. I have gained knowledge, met new people, and have increased time to reflect on the future for North Omaha and African-Americans. I'm working harder at staying healthy, exercising, and encouraging others to get involved. I plan to stay the course until we make something happen to improve the human and economic condition of African-Americans in Omaha. We will continue to help improve the health status of African-Americans and I will serve in whatever capacity that I am needed. The process has been inspiring, informative, challenging and fresh. We must keep the momentum going and begin to track our accomplished outcomes."
- Dr. Richard Brown, CEO Charles Drew Health Center
"Finding a network of individuals that have similar goals as mine and are determined to make a positive change in Omaha. I love how everything is broken down into groups...that way the Network can focus on many areas at the same time."
- Creighton University Student
"The covenant has provided hope for our community. I'm working to help bridge the gap between the Omaha Police Department and the community. Seeing leaders come together has been very positive. Personally, I have supported African-American owned businesses by purchasing books, dining at restaurants... I'm also living the Covenant by going into the schools to speak to young people. I'm also working to bridge gaps with the broader community. I've made a personal commitments to see the Empowerment Network, North Omaha Concerned Clergy and Leadership Roundtable come together on the issue of violence in our community.
- John Ewing, Douglas County Treasurer
"Witnessing various African-American leaders coming together for the good of our people. I have had the opportunity to work with leaders in various areas to stress the importance of behavioral health as a component of health. I'm reminded by the Covenant to strive to be healthy and challenge others to be healthy. My personal commitment to do my part is purchasing books from the African-American Bookstore and attending church. I'm networking with other African-American leaders, participating in Network planning meetings and inviting others to join."
- Doris Moore, President Center for Holistic Development
"Networking is crucial to the success of the African-American community. The planning process has started with me making a personal covenant and commitment. I am supporting the covenant events and activities, spreading the word, and volunteering to support specific efforts."
- John Newsome, Community Advocate
"The Network has made me more passionate about what I'm trying to do in the community. I'm very hopeful that we have a direction now and a movement has started. I personally am supporting more African-American owned businesses...I'm adopting-a-school, attending meetings, spreading the word, joined the NAACP and Malcolm X Foundation, subscribed to the Omaha Star and spend more with African-American businesses. We finally have a plan."
- Willie Hamilton, Founder - NANOSO, Black Men United
"The Covenant has given me great hope in the future...the "like-mindedness" of leaders and individuals to change things in our community. Because of the Covenant, I have shopped at businesses that I didn't know existed. It has required me to think even more about how my actions fit into the bigger efforts of the Network. I'm working on a "Second Chance Summit" for ex-offenders to get back into society. The Network has been great...getting a group of people to take responsibility for the issues and working together to move us forward."
- Chris Rodgers, Douglas County Commissioner
"I haven't seen the community come together like this...the entire time that I've lived in Omaha. We are positioned to make a real difference. I thank God that I've lived to see the day when the community would work together in a positive, solution-focused way. It's about community. It's about people. We have to embrace and address all areas of life. Pastors are coming together. Leaders are working together. The community is getting engaged. It's a wonderful thing."
- Pastor Jeremiah McGhee, Senior Pastor - Mt. Sinai Church
"The Network has motivated me to personally commit to a weight loss program. As a leader I have helped to convene and facilitate meetings. I'm committed to continuing to develop Healthy Marriage and Teen Pregnancy programs. I'm making a commitment to work with others to help address racial and ethnic health disparities."
- Doris Lassiter - President - DORAL Group
"This is the best cooperative effort of Black people that I've ever seen in my lifetime in Omaha. The Network is well-organized and has done a great job of keeping us informed. My hope is that God will continue to provide the leadership and wisdom, and that we continue to follow it. I personally want to help launch community block parties and figure out ways to recognize, thank and reward teachers and others who are making a difference. Since the covenant started, I have become more active with ministries in my church, started my own business, spent more time reading and less time watching tv, spent more quality time with my family, and I'm working on a newsletter and web-site."
-Rodney Nichols, Community Advocate
"I personally support the Empowerment Network and the development and implementation of a Covenant and Strategic Plan designed to empower African-American to dramatically and tangibly enhance our quality of life and build a great future for our children."
-Janice Gilmore, Columnist - Omaha World-Herald and Revive! Magazine