Kansas City’s UNI Becomes 15th Purpose Built Community

Purpose Built Communities is proud to announce that Kansas City’s Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI) is now its 15th Network Member and its first in the state of Missouri. The UNI, one of the Kansas City, MO Chamber of Commerce’s “Big 5 Ideas” founded in 2011, is the community quarterback nonprofit organization established to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in a target area of the city’s urban core and will focus its Purpose Built Community efforts in the Wendell Phillips neighborhood.

By joining the Purpose Built Network, UNI is committing to a long-term revitalization plan for the neighborhood that includes mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness services and facilities. Purpose Built Communities President Carol Naughton joined the leadership of UNI on September 19 at a ceremony at the new Kansas City Neighborhood Academy to commemorate UNI’s Network Membership.

“Our Network Members are successful in their efforts to break the cycle of poverty when they have the right combination of leaders and partners – including the community. UNI has these ingredients,” said Carol Naughton, President of Purpose Built Communities. “With strong local leadership and the opening of the Kansas City Neighborhood Academy earlier this year, we are excited about the future of the Wendell Phillips neighborhood and all who call it home.”

“When the Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the United Way of Greater Kansas City, began this initiative five years ago, the intent was to find solutions that work for low income communities. We have found the right partner in Purpose Built Communities to help us break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and we are thrilled to be part of a Network of national leaders doing similar work,” said Steve Roling, Board Chair of UNI.

UNI is leading the implementation of the Purpose Built Model in the Wendell Phillips neighborhood by introducing new mixed-income housing; creating a cradle-to-college education pipeline, which is well underway with the opening of the Kansas City Neighborhood Academy, the only district-sponsored public charter school in Kansas City, MO; and introducing community wellness through multiple partnerships and initiatives throughout the neighborhood, including the Major League Baseball/Kansas City Royals Urban Youth Baseball Academy, Health Screenings and Resource Fairs.

Purpose Built Communities is a not-for-profit consulting firm that offers its services free of charge. It helps local leaders and organizations implement a comprehensive, long-term place-based redevelopment model with public and private partners in neighborhoods of concentrated urban poverty to create healthy, vibrant neighborhoods where all residents can reach their full potential. The Purpose Built Model includes mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness programs and facilities in a defined neighborhood, coordinated by a dedicated, nonprofit community quarterback organization. There are now 15 Purpose Built Communities Network Members across the United States.