The District Bridges Model
District Bridges is unique among the organizations that operate DC Main Street programs. Typically, when a new Main Street program is designated, a new nonprofit organization is born. This new nonprofit then, in under a year must set up all the systems necessary to effectively function, hire an executive director, develop programming and community support, participate in a variety of trainings, and of course, fundraise.
Unlike other DC Main Street organizations, District Bridges is one entity that manages multiple Main Street programs. Our Main Street programs include the Chevy Chase, Cleveland Park, Columbia Heights | Mount Pleasant, Logan Circle, Lower Georgia Avenue, and U Street Main Streets.
As the first multi-Main Street organization, District Bridges has developed a model that makes launching new Main Street programs a turnkey operation streamlining the operational setup of a new program, creating economies of scale to achieve greater impact, increasing staff capacity, and most importantly developing a strategic approach to community development that looks at the holistic needs of a city to create collaborative solutions that leverage each communities unique assets to address the most pressing and critical needs they face.
Community Built. Community Driven.
The most successful community development organizations are built by and for the communities they serve. Successful Main Street programs rely on the direct input from community stakeholders.
To ensure each one of the District Bridges Main Street programs remains connected to the communities they serve, we developed advisor boards made up of key community stakeholders. We can these advisory board Neighborhood Strategy Councils.
The Neighborhood Strategy Councils provides leadership on neighborhood priorities for community-based economic development through District Bridges Main Street programs. Each Main Street program develops an NSC that works as a team to apply their experience and local understanding of community needs to support the designated Main Street neighborhoods. Specific activities of individual members may vary based on expertise, capacity, and availability.
The basic roles and responsibilities are as follows:
- Prepare for and attend regular Neighborhood Strategy Council meetings.
- Represent community priorities and concerns.
- Disseminate information to the broader community.
- Identify and develop Neighborhood Transformation Strategies.
- Lead or support Committees/Action Teams for specific events, programs, and priorities.
- Set priorities for annual workplans.
- Approve annual budget workplan allocation.
- Recruit volunteers for Main Street activities.
- Support the identification and cultivation of financial and in-kind contributions for priority activities.
- Work with the Program Manager/Director to give or get $500/year towards the program’s fundraising goal.