Community Renewal International will build, design and implement training curriculum, and launch The Center for Community Renewal, creating a LEED platinum, net-zero energy green building, designed for the teaching and replication of the community renewal model worldwide. Through training, resource support, and the Institute for the Development of Social Technology, The Center for Community Renewal will help global practitioners systematically initiate, grow and sustain safe and caring communities with concrete, measurable results.
The Center for Community Renewal, at 264,000 square feet, will be one of the largest net-zero energy green buildings, with solar photovoltaic panels, use of wind, geothermal and biodiesel energy, and a recycled wastewater system, among other sustainability features. Not only will the building's design and construction be green, but it will be dedicated to the teaching, development and replication of CRI's model of social renewal. CRI's model is based on the belief that the disintegration and collapse of societies can be stopped and reversed if positive, committed, and intentional attention is given to human relationships. CRI's unique breakthrough is the development of an actionable and measurable model which applies this belief to whole cities. CRI's working model systematically initiates, grows and sustains safe and caring communities with concrete, measurable results. The Center will be a net-zero sustainable building housing a national and international program both on-site and via distance learning.
The Center will attract and serve a global population as a training center for community renewal efforts. The Center will serve as a symbol of renewal through the utilization of green technologies and LEED Certification in its design. It will provide training in the community renewal model for professionals, faith-based leaders, and non-profits from at-risk, vulnerable, and stressed communities in the U.S. and worldwide. Currently, training and replication efforts have begun in: Abilene and Austin, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and West Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, among others.
The Center will have three components which interact dynamically to give the very best hands-on learning experience possible: 1) Training - both broad conceptual training as well as tailored seminars that build to certification-with-standing in Community Renewal; 2) Resource Support - CRI personal and technical support through on-site teams, training materials and conferences; and 3) Institute for the Development of Social Technology - a cross-disciplinary think tank at the Center to support and evolve the CRI model through research and charrettes. In addition to teaching, training and research, The Center will provide on community renewal - education on green building and climate change mitigation will also be available.
Community Renewal International anticipates the lives of not just The Center's participants and trainees, but their communities and cities, to be positively affected by our Commitment to Action. They estimate occupancy of the Center at 8000 per year (40 weeks of 3 day conferences, 80% occupancy rate), with each person trained in Community Renewal positively affecting just one neighborhood each (600 people = one neighborhood). This is a conservative estimate.
Beginning in 2005, Community Renewal International acquired approximately $2.5 million from varied sources including HUD, EPA, the Department of Energy, and local organizations and government entities. These funds have been used to assess the extent of the asbestos and other hazardous wastes and to completely abate all hazardous materials in the former 'Petroleum Tower,' the sixteen-story building in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana donated to CRI. The abatement was achieved by an unprecedented partnership with the EPA, the City of Shreveport, Southern University at Shreveport, and others. As hurricane Katrina and Rita refugees, along with local at-risk individuals, were trained as hazardous waste abatement workers, they were immediately employed in an on-the-job training program. The EPA has featured CRI's program as being an outstanding, innovative and exceptionally successful training program. The building is now ready for renovation as a LEED certified Platinum level green building.
Community Renewal International, through partnerships with professional and sustainable organizations will implement the construction of the Platinum LEED-Certified Center for Community Renewal and the concurrent training programs. CRI has partnered with the architectural firm of Morgan, Hill, Sutton, and Mitchell for the design of the building and Platinum LEED certification. Also, in partnership with the University of Texas School of Architecture and their Center for Sustainable Development and Design under the co-direction of Professor Michael Garrison, CRI has committed the building itself to become a resource for training others in the Green Building movement.
Financial resources are needed to scale the Center for Community Renewal operations and reach.
Funding is also needed to incentivize replication in a manner that encourages local community to value and fund a new nurturing workforce. This workforce will reduce the social overhead of communities across the country and provide a foundational strategy to grow communities' capacities to innovate.
CRI seeks partners who are innovators in framework elements including health, safety, culture of caring, leadership, education, meaningful work, housing and the relational foundation.