Founded by Father Henry Browne in 1959, Strycker’s Bay Neighborhood Council, Inc. (SBNC)–a grassroots, community-based organization-assists over 3000 low-and moderate-income families of the Upper West Side and Harlem each year by providing direct counseling and services in the area of affordable housing, neighborhood stabilization, economic self-sufficiency, and youth development. By offering these comprehensive services, we give families and children access to tools, resources, and knowledge that will empower them to break the cyclical nature of poverty and welfare dependency. SBNC helps empower low-income residents to improve their quality of life.
The mission of The Dome Project is to promote education as a means to success. The DOME, an acronym for Developing Opportunities through Meaningful Education, was founded in 1973 to challenge the myriad threats to youth who had fallen through the cracks of the traditional school system. We provide youth with alternatives to the negative pressures they face every day through three program areas: Advocacy, Education, and Youth Empowerment. For over thirty years, The DOME has built a staff and service network that has successfully helped thousands of young people to regain a sense of self-worth and prepare for success in education and beyond.
The term “neighborhood commons” was first widely used by landscape architect, educator, and psychologist Karl Linn, who guided the creation of many spaces during the 1960s through 1980s. Linn envisioned a neighborhood commons in every residential block as a framework for the development of a new kind of extended-family living based on mutual aid among neighbors.
Stryckey’s Bay Neighborhood Council and The DOME Project have long served as “neighborhood commons” models for the community. It was the DOME/Strycker’s Bay partnership that involved children, storeowners, schools, parents, and religious institutions in saving seven local city-buildings as low income housing, creating a multi-generational, ethnically and economically diverse group of neighborhood stakeholders that worked together to raise funds through an annual street fair and make these buildings safe for the 200 families residing there. We believe in programs centered on area residents and community stakeholders. Their commitment, interest, and investment of time are what create the extended neighborhood family- the foundation of “the commons” we envision here.
In 2012, through a joint lease with The New York City Housing Authority, we secured the DeHostos Community Center located at 696 Amsterdam Avenue. The West Side Commons has since served as a hub for programs that help community residents access opportunities for personal growth and community empowerment. The Commons is a space for cross-cultural exchange and engagement, creating opportunities for giving and sharing across diverse populations in the community.
Together we are better positioned to secure the resources our community needs to thrive. Together we are stronger and our impact will be greater. Our combined funding base is diversified and networks are greatly expanded. Our partnership is a natural fit for two grassroots, community based organization looking ahead and strategically planning to continue the work needed on the Upper West Side to keep access to resources equitable.