How to Grow Services to Underserved Communities?
Cleveland is one of the most segregated cities in the US, right behind Milwaukee; partly because of redlining from the ‘20’s and ‘30’s. The Cleveland chapter has rethought community outreach to underserved communities. We began working with an informal initiative with the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce to bring eco-system providers together (SBDC’s, Score, Urban League, CDFI’s, etc) to improve eco-system responsiveness & coverage of entrepreneurs in underserved neighborhoods that can also drive job creation in the City of Cleveland.
The volunteers leading this project are: Bob Cohen, Chapter Chair; Bob Fedor, Partner Committee Chair; Mark Krosse, project manager.
We connected 2Q21 with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, a 501c3, that is focused on improving the capacity of over 20+ CDC’s serving the many neighborhoods of Cleveland. In July 2021, we entered into a formalized (MOU) partnership with the Lee-Harvard CDC which serves Cleveland Ward 1, a 95% black neighborhood area.
[NOTE: National SCORE used this model as part of the SBA Community Navigator Bid submission]
We have seen significant client mentoring growth by referrals from the CDC. We set up a landing page on cleveland.score.org and do targeted Constant Contact emails to the neighborhood merchants. We zoom bi-weekly with CDC management to identify joint work efforts. We use custom ENGAGE (CIC) reports to measure progress. We are helping the CDC design outreach to local banks and to local churches [which are key, trusted community organizations in many communities].
We are now in negotiations with our 2d CDC partnership - “Slavic Village” CDC, a neighborhood formerly of Eastern European immigrants near the Cleveland steel mills. We are now reaching out to a 3rd CDC, MetroWest, which has Cleveland’s largest LatinX neighborhoods.
FY21 Q2: Initial engagement
- Provides capacity development services to +20 Cleveland CDC’s
- Jointly identified several CDC’s as possible pilots
FY21 Q3: Signed MOU with Lee-Harvard CDC [95% minority]
Press release, City of Cleveland Ward 1 councilman event
- Bi-weekly ZOOM status meets with Lee-Harvard management team & CNP
- Client referrals to cleveland.score.org, joint email marketing, landing pages; SCORE table at CDC neighborhood event
- CIC monitoring & custom ENGAGE report(s)
Lee-Harvard CDC landing page - https://cleveland.score.org/hcsc
FY22 – Expansion Planning & Measurable results
- Essential to use Trusted partner relationships
for initial entry
- Establishing a proof-point & building
word-of-mouth is essential for building
community trust & driving services growth
- Need for MOU to clearly define responsibilities of both parties
- Not all CDC’s have the capacity to partner; some have limited resources or are on the edge of failing
- SCORE can also help the CDC itself build capacity
- Need a vol to own each CDC relationship: 2-4 hours monthly
- Expect differing agenda’s within the CDC and with any oversight org such as CNP
- Refer-mentor entry is best done online by the CDC; clients sometimes don’t act on a verbal referral