Alternate content for script

Press Release

Release date: 7/17/2018

Lindsay Moore

NeighborWorks America recognizes local heroes 

Education and youth support are themes among nominees

Washington, D.C. — Six individuals from cities ranging from Moorhead, Mississippi, to Wasilla, Alaska, are this year's recipients of the annual Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership, NeighborWorks America announced today. The awards honor residents who go "above and beyond" to improve their communities, with many of this year's honorees volunteering to expand opportunities for youth.

The award, which will formally be given to honorees at NeighborWorks America's annual Community Leadership Institute Oct.11-14 in Houston, was named for a Pittsburgh-based pioneer in the community-development movement whose work to ensure more affordable homes in her city was the inspiration behind the creation of the agency that eventually became NeighborWorks America.

"This year's honorees are people who identify a problem and step up to find a solution," said Paul Singh, acting vice president of community initiatives at NeighborWorks America. "They honor the spirit of Dorothy Richardson with their passion and commitment to improving lives and strengthening community. Resident leadership is the key to achieving the NeighborWorks vision that every community in America will be a place of opportunity."

About the honorees: 
  • Undaunted by challenges such as her duties as a single mother and caregiver for a terminally ill father, J'Tanya Adams (Charlotte, North Carolina) has become a powerful force for change in her neighborhood. Among her achievements is the development of a neighborhood hub that includes student housing, community conference space and the only non-fast food restaurant within two miles. Likewise, she spearheaded the founding of Historic West End Partners, a nonprofit that promotes and preserves the cultural identity of the neighborhood. Under Adams' direction, youth now have a safe and positive place to engage in cultural and other activities.

  • Gloria Cartegena (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) has become the "voice" of her neighborhood, securing resources and support for even the most marginalized. She leads a resident group, Somerset Neighbors for Better Living, and has—for example—negotiated with city officials to respond proactively to a crisis in homelessness and abuse of drugs such as opioids. 

  • Johnny Carter (Moorhead, Mississippi) organized his fellow residents to challenge local authorities and reverse the economic, social and infrastructural inequities that plague their neighborhood. Led by Carter, Eastmoor residents filed a federal lawsuit and forced the county, city and private developer to pave the streets, fix the sewage system and enforce local codes. Today, homes are being rehabiltated and the residents' association is thriving.

  • Michelle Overstreet (Wasilla, Alaska) took action when she saw one young person too many sleep in his car because he lacked a safe haven. The centerpiece of her efforts is a nonprofit called MyHouse, which provides housing opportunities, employment training, and access to food and other basic needs to homeless and other youth facing challenges in southcentral Alaska.

  • Audrey Stubbs' (Cleveland, Ohio) passion is to work with youth to help them develop into community leaders who can bring about positive change. Acknowledging that many barriers stand in their way that are beyond their control, Stubbs has broadened her focus to the whole family, targeting issues such as violence and self-esteem.

  • Alame Uluave (Salt Lake City, Utah) was inspired to run as the first Polynesian-American in the state to serve on the school board after noting the high dropout rate among students of color in the west side of the city. Uluave served two terms and achieved his goal to build new schools and include more west side representation on the board, giving its residents more of a voice in educational decisions.
NeighborWorks America's community building and engagement program supports comprehensive community development by promoting resident leadership development, facilitating community-building events and activities, and supporting resident-driven groups and initiatives. Similar to the goals of the Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership, the Community Leadership Institute brings together resident leaders who participate in training and networking and are given seed grants to implement local action plans. 

Find more information about the Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership honorees.

About NeighborWorks America
For nearly 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. (d/b/a NeighborWorks America), a national, nonpartisan nonprofit, has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and safe, affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $34 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

Subscribe to NeighborWorks