Community Collaborators

Get Active Orlando

Orlando, Florida 
Population: 238,000 
Contact: Jill Leslie, Project Coordinator, (407) 245-7313,
Image removed. 

Washington Shores 5K Walk and Health 
Fair (Photo: Get Active Orlando)

Get Active Orlando, which started in 2003, unites representatives from public health agencies, hospitals, bicycle clubs and shops, neighborhood associations, community organizations, the university and city government to promote physically active living throughout the community. Its mission is to serve the community by inspiring the public to make active and healthy lifestyle changes. The organization offers resources and creates programs to support the integration of physical activity into daily lives.

The project received its initial funding from national and local non-profit groups and a local governmental agency to conduct a "get active" survey. One hundred volunteers evaluated the engineering and aesthetic aspects of the urban walking and bicycling environment. As a result of these findings and other considerations, the city developed a downtown pedestrian and bicycle transportation plan.

The city set aside $25,000 of gas tax revenue for the development of bike paths. In addition, a state grant was used for making trail and sidewalk improvements, building bike parking and planting urban gardens. In response to citizens' interest, other activities to promote healthy living were started, including senior walking groups, golf lessons and hip-hop classes.

The organization influenced the creation of the Mayor's Advisory Council on Active Living. The council, established in 2006, serves as a liaison between citizens and the mayor. It impacts the decisions made by the local government regarding infrastructure changes and other initiatives that support active and healthy living.


Austin, Texas 
Population: 790,000 
Contact: Mark Nathan, Chief of Staff for the Mayor, (512) 974-2250

AustinCorps is a year-long civic education and leadership development program for Austin high school seniors. The program was launched in September 2010 by Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, in cooperation with the Austin Independent School District.

The two-semester program is designed to provide Austin students with in-depth knowledge of the operations of city government and hands on opportunities to participate in city government.

In the first semester, students attend twice-weekly sessions where they learn in classroom settings and hands-on exercises from representatives from more than 30 city departments and offices. During the second semester, students are assigned to an internship for 10 hours a week in the city departments. For example, the students have helped to plan community meetings for the Transportation Department and worked in Austin Public Library's Recycled Reads bookstore.

In the spring of 2011, 22 high school seniors were honored at the Austin City Council meeting for completing the first AustinCorps session. Based on the success of the program, the Mayor's Office is expanding the program in the 2011-2012 academic year, in partnership with city staff and the Austin Independent School District.

City Partners with Nonprofit to Beautify the Area

Buffalo, New York 
Population: 261,000 
Contact: Paul Maurer, Chairman of Re-Tree Western New York (WNY), 
(716) 843-0133,

The City of Buffalo has partnered with Re-Tree Western New York (WNY), an initiative of Keep Western New York Beautiful, to carry forth the Community Reforestation Empowerment Initiative for the city. Re-Tree WNY was established in late 2006 by a group of 40 Western New York residents as a response to the snowstorm in October of that year, which destroyed many trees in the area. The initiative's goal is to mobilize the community, build capacity in the neighborhoods to take action and re-forest public areas in the region.

In spring 2011, Re-Tree, in cooperation with the City of Buffalo, planted over 1,200 new trees throughout Buffalo and Western New York, and effort that involved more than 400 volunteers from the area. The initiative continued in autumn 2011. To date, over 18,000 trees have been planted throughout the Buffalo area. The group's ultimate goal is to replant 30,000 trees in Western New York. During the campaign, North American Breweries, a local headquartered brewer of Genesee Beer, and South Park Avenue-headquartered Consumers Beverages provided shirts for the participants.

Neighborhood Partners Program (NPP)

Chattanooga, Tennessee 
Population: 168,000 
Contact: Donna Deweese, Project Specialist, 425-3718,
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A project of the Neighborhood Partners 
Program (Photo: Neighborhood Partners 

The Neighborhood Partners Program (NPP) is administered by the city's Department of Neighborhood Services and Community Development. Its purpose is to provide funding and support for neighborhood projects that impact the community. The program is open to neighborhood groups located within the Chattanooga city limits.

There are three categories of projects that are supported: (1) neighborhood development, (2) neighborhood tree planting, and (3) neighborhood beautification. The first one includes projects that develop strong neighborhoods and encourage awareness in the communities, such as meeting signs, pride/house banners, special event banners/signs, newsletters, meeting supplies and memo boards. The second category consists of projects that allow organizations to plant trees and participate in the Chattanooga's green initiative. The third one covers projects that focus on beautification and landscaping. For example, passive parks, community gardens and landscaping community entrances.

NPP was established in 2009 under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). NSP provided the city with $2,113,727 in federal funds. Thirty-three neighborhood associations in Chattanooga received $82,000 in funds through the 2010-2011 from NPP.

Neighborhood Pride

Columbus, Ohio 
Population: 787,000 
Contact: Bruce Black, Neighborhood Pride Coordinator, (614) 645-8927,
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Mayor Michael B. Coleman with 
community members and neighborhood 
leaders (Photo: Neighborhood Pride)


In 2000, the City of Columbus established the Neighborhood Pride project. The goal of the project is to make the city's neighborhoods safer and cleaner by utilizing teams that include city departments, neighborhood groups, individual citizens, businesses and other partners.

City staff hold meetings with representatives from neighborhoods. At these meetings, concerns about the infrastructure are identified, and plans are made for finding solutions. Residents select neighborhoods in need of assistance, and the city provides intense service delivery with the help of volunteers over a week-long period. City services include street cleaning, lawn care, the replacement of street lights, fire prevention outreach and evaluations of exterior housing for code compliance.

Neighborhood Pride is designed to be an ever-evolving program to meet the changing needs of residents. Since the program has been implemented, city government has become more friendly and accountable to its citizens. Moreover, residents find that their neighborhoods are safer and cleaner.