Neighborhoods in Transition: Development and Community Self-Determination
Date(s) - January 26, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Registration for this event is now closed! If registered, you should have received your unique log-in link from the FOCUS Virtual Campus (email@example.com). Be sure to check your junk/spam/promotions folder! If you do not see it, please contact Kayla Dix at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 657-4020.
Neighborhoods form the unique tapestry of our St. Louis region. Many of these neighborhoods are in transition, whether they are dealing with population loss or gain, rapid gentrification or vacancy and dereliction, large-scale development or simply seeking to build community alignment.
But who is making the decisions about the future of these communities? There are a variety of ways in which a neighborhood can organize to influence the shape of their own community, including neighborhood associations, community development corporations, and creating strategic development plans built on neighborhood needs.
This discussion forum will bring together active residents, organizers and development professionals to explore how our region is being shaped by neighborhoods taking power over their own future and the challenges and opportunities they face.
- Julia N. Allen, Co-founder, 4theVille
- Annissa G. McCaskill, Executive Director, Dutchtown South Community Corporation (DSCC)
- Vontriece McDowell, Neighborhood Solidarity Partner, Invest STL
- Angela Pinex, Executive Director, Spanish Lake Community Development Corporation (CDC)
- Treena Thompson, West End Resident and Board Member, Cornerstone Corporation (CDC)
This event is free and open to all.
Accessing the Event
This event will be hosted on the FOCUS Virtual Campus. Your unique log-in details will be sent a few days prior from email@example.com – be sure to check your junk/spam/promotions folder if you don’t see it.
If you have any questions regarding your registration, please contact Kayla Dix at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 657-4020.
Presented with support from
About Our Speakers
Julia N. Allen, MSW, is a 2010 graduate of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work. She is the recipient of the 2018 Eddie Mae Binion Southside Welfare Rights Organization Humanitarian Award. Most recently, Julia graduated from the 2019-2020 cohort of the Neighborhood Leadership Program. She has been an advocate for the underserved and unrepresented in her community for many years and is currently serving on the St. Louis Senior Fund Board, and the Prop NS Community Advisory Committee.
In 2018, Julia, Thomasina Clarke and Aaron Williams founded 4theVille in an effort to bring attention to the historic significance of preserving the cultural history of the Ville Neighborhood. 4theVille is a community-based tourism and arts organization created by multigenerational Ville residents and volunteers to restore pride and protect the legacy of the Ville, a historic African American Community in the heart off St. Louis.
Annissa G. McCaskill is Executive Director of Dutchtown South Community Corporation (DSCC). DSCC serves the South St. Louis neighborhoods of Dutchtown, Gravois Park, Mt. Pleasant, and Marine Villa, encompassing roughly 10% of the City of St. Louis’ population. She is a recent addition to the DSCC team, having come on board in June of 2021. A public sector professional of over 23 years, Annissa is a graduate of Livingstone College (B.S., Political Science) and Indiana State University (M.P.A.). At DSCC, Annissa is responsible for executive oversight of program direction/operations, finance/budgeting, strategic plan implementation, and maintaining relationships with partners and stakeholders. She is the proud mother of Micah, a high school student athlete and enjoys hiking, reading and cooking in her spare time.
Vontriece McDowell received her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in Sociology and African and Black Diaspora Studies in her hometown of Chicago. Vontriece later received her Master of Social Work from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis where she studied Social and Economic Development.
Vontriece has extensive experience in community engagement. For eight years she worked for Beyond Housing, a non-profit, community development organization that focuses its resources within the geography of the Normandy Schools Collaborative. As their Director of Community Engagement, Vontriece worked directly with the community to build resident leaders, understand community priorities, and help to align her organization’s efforts with the community’s needs. She is passionate about honest and open dialogue with clients and stakeholders, to ensure that their voice informs her work.
Vontriece most recently served as the Director of Community Based Interventions for Alive and Well Communities where she developed and provided direct oversight of a regional grassroots community engagement strategy. Her goal was to help communities, organizations, and neighborhoods understand the impact of chronic trauma and toxic stress and how to work together for healing and sustainable change. Additionally, Vontriece is adjunct faculty at both Washington University and St. Louis University’s School of Social Work. She resides in St. Louis City with her husband and three children.
Angela Pinex is a mission-driven professional who is currently the Executive Director of Spanish Lake Community Development Corporation (SLCDC). As the passionate leader of this nonprofit that is dedicated to comprehensive neighborhood and community revitalization, Angela leverages her extensive background in project management, strategic planning, community outreach, and community development to provide Spanish Lake families the quality life they deserve.
Treena Thompson is a 11-year resident of the historic West End neighborhood in St. Louis City, She is a powerful advocate for community voice and believes in breaking traumatic cycles and creating spaces where all people feel valued, heard, and prepared to do the hard work of community-building collaboratively. Treena draws upon her expertise in non-profit management, grantwriting, community engagement, and coalition building to help develop a stronger, sustainable West End community, co-authoring numerous successful grant proposals and serving in various leadership capacities with neighborhood groups. Treena currently serves on the Board of Directors for Cornerstone Corporation, an emerging faith-based Community Development Corporation based in the West End. At Cornerstone, she has led the Community Development Committee, provides administrative support to the West End & Visitation Park Development Review Committee, and advises the Steering Committee of the West End/ Visitation Park neighborhood planning initiative. It is Treena’s sincere hope that her efforts amplify the voices of her neighbors and build on the rich cultural legacy of her historic neighborhood.