The North-Missoula Community Development Corporation was first incorporated in 1996 — 20 years ago!
The NMCDC’s Board proudly believes our focus neighborhoods would be significantly less desirable if our grass roots nonprofit had not consistently been there for all of us!
NMCDC has been all of the following and more:
- Perennial advocate for neighborhood schools;
- Principal neighborhood advocate for White Pine Sash Superfund cleanup;
- Historic advocate for open space preservation and playground development;
- Principal neighborhood advocate for planning and participatory democracy;
- Longtime advocate for non-motorized travel: pedestrian bridges and bike paths; and,
- The City’s primary developer of, and advocate for, permanently affordable home ownership opportunity.
Considering that last bullet point, a Missoulian article this past summer reported “A recent national survey of housing affordability called out Missoula among the ‘expensive surprises’ coming out of a look at 300 metropolitan areas in the U.S.” Missoula residents’ invidious distinction of being some of the most housing-cost burdened people in the nation demands action. Please join our advocacy to promote local investment and local policy that would include affordable housing and economic opportunity for all Missoulians.
The NMCDC has been aware of growing local opportunity inequalities since the organization’s founding. Because we love our neighborhoods and value our city’s diverse history, we hold an organizational vision of healthy neighborhoods and communities of opportunity in which people of all ages and abilities can live, work and play.
Please consider a seasonal donation to the NMCDC. This will be our only general operating solicitation of the year. We feel that over the years the community’s investment in the NMCDC has been rewarded tenfold in the community improvements the organization has brought forward.
What’s next for the NMCDC?
Burns Street Center still houses the Missoula Community Food Co-op, the Burns Street Bistro and the Western Montana Growers Co-op. We are growing the monthly “Real Meals” community cooking program and we hold free community dinners, for all, on a quarterly basis. We’ve recently entered into a partnership with the Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, the Clark Fork Market, the Community Food Co-op and the Western Montana Growers Co-op to organize the “Double Snap Dollars Program.” This effort provides a $1.00 to $1.00 match at both Farmers Markets and both Co-ops, enabling EBT (food stamp) users to double their bulk-food and produce purchases.
This spring, the NMCDC was gifted a downtown property on Front Street, where we will construct our 4th Community Land Trust (CLT) housing project. It will provide the first contribution of permanently affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying city center. The donor of this property is a central staff person with the national Democracy Collaborative and an informed fan of the CLT effort. We are proud and excited that the NMCDC is an established and recognized practitioner in the CLT movement — increasingly, becoming an international movement (USA, Canada, Great Britain, Nigeria; Belgium, Australia, et.al.). Even though population densities, demographics, urbanities and geographic regions differ, the land tenure dynamics and community benefits of CLT inclusivity of opportunity for all remain the same.
We need the funds to pursue these ends. Please know that we can’t accomplish anything alone. The NMCDC is dependent on grass level community support like yours and together we can accomplish a great deal — “Many hands lighten the load.”
You are our base!
We continue to believe that Missoula’s centrally located neighborhoods should still provide opportunities for people of all ages and incomes – including the current upswing in young families wanting to put down roots. These new neighbors are assets – current incarnations of more than one hundred years of proud working class history. We’re pleased to say that because of many supporters, like you, we’ve helped neighbors and neighborhoods prevail.
Here are a handful of the projects that NMCDC has led:
- We raised the funds enabling volunteers from all over the community to build the Lowell School playground, where children now run under sprinklers in the summer and older kids play basketball late into the evening. People come from the whole community to picnic and celebrate children’s birthdays there.
- We were the primary advocate for building the Northside Greenway and the walkway over the railroad tracks, connecting the Northside with downtown. This bridge makes it possible for neighborhood residents to commute to work and walk to the weekend farmers’ markets. People also walk and bike from the Westside and Downtown to enjoy the Historic Railroad District’s amenities: the Northside Kettlehouse; the Stensrud Playhouse; and, the Zootown Arts Community Center – synergistic improvements that would have seemed impossible 20 years ago when the NMCDC first began.
- We built the B Street Community Center, where neighbors can gather seven days a week for breakfast or brunch or shop for groceries at the Co-op. The café space is the most affordable event rental space in town and is the site for a summer afternoon children’s feeding and enrichment program.
- We’ve run Missoula Outdoor Cinema, a summer-long film festival in the historic neighborhood, since 2001.
- We were the resident board for the North Missoula Housing Partnership and built Burns Street Commons, Clark Fork Commons, and Whittier Court, providing opportunities for more than 75 first-time home-buyers who, previously, had been priced out of the market.
- We advocated for the preservation of, and have managed, the City of Missoula’s Moon-Randolph Homestead for 15 years – honoring the site’s cultural, historic and open space values.
- When the School District almost closed Lowell School in 2004, we raised a powerful collective voice to keep its doors open. Today, it is extremely heartening to see that an upsurge in attendance now requires rebuilding and enlarging the school, while preserving the building’s historic façade. This neighborhood improvement was part of the recent voter-approved bond issue — a wonderful example of the community’s willingness to invest in education while, at the same time, investing in their neighborhoods.
Likewise, your investment in the NMCDC – the Northside, Westside and residential downtown neighborhoods’ nonprofit arm — will contribute to greater community well being. When you support Missoula’s core neighborhoods, you enrich all of Missoula. Please pitch in and join all of us who give of ourselves to maintain the NMCDC.
Beyond our own accomplishments, we’re committed to helping aid other nonprofits. We secured the grant funding to first kick-off the Missoula tool library, providing opportunities for people to embark on DIY home improvement projects, even on the most modest of budgets. We helped the Clay Studio of Missoula get its start. We helped Home Resource get on its feet, and we helped the Bike Walk Alliance of Missoula throughout its formative first year.
The Board and Staff of the NMCDC take pride in feeling that we have helped lay the groundwork for a milieu of inclusive community improvement. Please support our neighborhood revitalization work. Please help make the Northside, the Westside, Downtown, and all of Missoula better places to live. We’re here for you. Please be here for us. Thank you for your time and attention and please have a joyous holiday season.
Sincerely, From All of Us
Jack Rowan, President
Board of Directors: Staff:
Jack Rowan Bob Oaks
KD Dickinson Jerry Petasek
Terri Roberts Hermina Harold
Mark Byington Heidi West
P.S. Please consider a monthly gift so that we can best focus on the things you care about – making our neighborhoods even better places to live and play. If you prefer to donate online, please go to www.nmcdc.org.
P.P.S. Many thanks to our neighbors at St. Patrick Hospital / Providence Health and Services for defraying the cost of printing and mailing this letter.