It has been quite some time since we've sent out communication from The Manchester Bidwell Replication Project and that is because we have been hard at work, trying to figure out a way to achieve our mission despite some setbacks.
As many of you know, we had the opportunity to receive funding for the feasibility study from the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board. In just three weeks we were able to amass letters of support from 159 individuals ranging from university presidents, state senators and congressmen to single mothers on welfare vying for their children and all in between. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to write a letter, we truly appreciate it!
Unfortunately we were not able to get the funding we applied for. We want to express our gratitude to the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board for their time and committed attention and diligence to our proposal. We hope to continue a relationship with them in the future.
Also, this latest occurrence has pushed us to realize we must change our direction. As many of you know, there is a specific process to a replication of Manchester Bidwell, with the first step being the funding of a $150,000 feasibility study, all of which would go to Manchester Bidwell. In addition to this, over the course of the first few years there is a significant amount of funding that would go to Pittsburgh to Manchester Bidwell for their help in setting up a center in Lexington.
After more than two years of pursuing this funding and exhausting every option we could find, we have realized that this process may not be right for Lexington, or at least for the current financial and philanthropic climate.
We will still have the same mission as a group but will be pursuing it on our own, without the Manchester Bidwell model.
We have determined as a group that our ability to achieve our mission may be more successful by utilizing local resources and grassroots efforts rather than a strong emphasis on an outside entity. Manchester Bidwell is a stunningly successful model that functions remarkably well in 8 cities across the country with innumerable additional cities currently pursuing a relationship with them. We have been so fortunate to work with such a great organization and hope they continue their incredible mission. We strongly encourage all communities and all cities to engage with their amazing work and determine if it is right for your city.
From founder Josh Nadzam: "Personally, Bill Strickland will always be a hero to me and an unbelievable mentor who is truly "changing the world." After spending much time with him I can honestly tell you he is as inspiring in person, one-on-one as he is on the stage telling his story and beyond deserving of his MacArthur Genius Award."
While we are disappointed that we had to change directions, we are excited about the possibility of beginning anew. We hope to continue our collaborative approach to this work by looking at various initiatives and entities around Lexington pursuing similar missions. Due to the urgency of our mission and the innumerable fantastic initiatives in Lexington we felt we could better achieve our goals by starting from grassroots and/or joining forces with other groups.
Thank you so much for all your continued support over these last two years. So many people have tirelessly supported this effort, attended fundraisers, hosted meetings, and advocated for this cause. We put our heart and soul into this project so we would be lying if we said we weren't a little bummed. We've worked endless hours to try to make this happen.
Nonetheless, we believe this new turn of direction will be exciting as we'll seek to establish a grassroots movement with the funding we have raised.
So, again thank you so much for all the continued support of this initiative. We will continue to march on with the same mission and goals, just a different approach. Thank you to all those who have donated, we will make every effort to put your funds to great use to help individuals in poverty.
In the meantime, we will be regrouping, restategizing, and reenergizing. Be on the lookout for a name change and new plan release sometime in the near future.
UPDATE: Check out the new website: www.mbrplexington.com! Here you can now make donations to be processed through the Blue Grass Community Foundation, an official 501(c)(3) to allow your donation to qualify for a tax exemption!
Hello, my name is Josh Nadzam and this is my dream.
For about a year I have been chasing it relentlessly. My dream is to replicate Manchester Bidwell
, a non-profit organization that began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Manchester Bidwell works with impoverished and at-risk youth through a visual arts after-school program that aims to inspire them and ensure they graduate high school. Founded by my hero Bill Strickland
, the center also works with adults through a workforce development program in which unemployed, underemployed, and displaced workers receive job training for a variety of professions.
The key aspect of Manchester Bidwell is its use of the arts and beautiful environments to heal the wounds of poverty and inspire its students. When you grow up in poverty, everything around you is gray, dreary, and broken. You think this kind of dilapidated world is all you deserve and you lose hope
. Manchester Bidwell has worked for years to break this trend and inspire the lives of thousands. To date, Manchester Bidwell has been replicated in Cincinnati, Cleveland, San Francisco, Grand Rapids, and New Haven.
My reason for doing this is I was one of those kids. I was one of those "at-risk youth" who was constantly in detention, being suspended, kicked out of athletic games, and living in an impoverished neighborhood. I may have made it out, but I refuse to let anyone else grow up in the same conditions I did.
My dream is to accomplish this in Lexington, Kentucky. I humbly ask for your help, every dollar helps and is greatly appreciated. With over 300,000 people in Lexington, imagine if everyone donated just 50 cents...