Cassandra Green has served as the Executive Director of the Mill Creek Community Partnership, a community outreach initiative, spearheaded by The Church Down The Way for seven years. She was already well aware of the importance of linking communities with the city planning process when she attended the Citizens Planning Institute. As she told University City Review;
A plan is a written testimony of faith in our communities…As a neighborhood, we’re pleased to be invited to share our voices and to be part of this process.
And part of the process they are! MCCP is currently in the process of developing the West Market Street Task Force, the West Park District planning process, Mill Creek Advisory Council, West Philadelphia Financial Services Institute and has adopted Martha Washington Academic Plus School located at 44th and Aspen Streets.
They are also participating in a planning process in partnership with the People’s Emergency Center, funded by a Wells Fargo Regional Planning grant. MCCP’s mission is to serve as a catalyst in the revitalization of the Mill Creek community through arts and culture, education, community impact, economic empowerment, and accessible innovative programming. The MCCP has developed a task force to advance the acquisition and renovation of the Mill Creek Cultural Center located at 4624 Lancaster Avenue.
This experience really helped me to understand the importance and impact of planning, get past my reservations of the unknown and know that as front line soldiers we are not alone and share the same vision; a better city and future for all.
“Fine Art Through Our Eyes” Mask making at the 2011 annual Harvestfest at Martha Washington School
Cassandra with Martha Washington Academic Plus School students at Mill Creek Annual Harvest-Fest 2011
Update: Cassandra and New Kensington Community Development Corporation, 8/16/2021
Cassandra Green is continuing to use her CPI lessons to organize and implement in the many community organizations she is a part of. Cass remains the president of the Mill Creek Community Partnership (MCCP) and Director of the Fine Art Through Our Eyes Community Arts Initiative, but other roles that she has taken on more recently have allowed her to impact more Philadelphians than ever before.
Seven years ago, Cass went to work for the People’s Emergency Center (PEC) in West Philadelphia. As the Director of PEC’s community engagement and partnerships initiatives, she contributed to the groundwork of a federal Promise Neighborhood grant. This grant was used to for increasing educational and economic opportunities in low-income neighborhoods, the Action for Early Learning Initiative-AFEL, Community Connectors, Quality of Life programs, and the Barnes Lola 38 collaboration. While at PEC, she also organized the Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival.
After five years with PEC, Cass took on her current role with New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) as project manager for Department of Justice-funded Community Based Crime Reduction initiatives. Cass has been managing, We CAN-Change and Action Now Collaborative over the past 2 and half years. This collaboration is in partnership with HACE and Impact Services. The $1 million grant has been used for innovative programs. These include art workshops and exhibits, crime prevention through environmental design, resident driven capacity building, youth engagement through My Voice Matters Youth Conversations, as well as resource fairs and events to strengthen police-community relationships.
Building capacity through collaboration is one of our strongest accessible community assets.
These programs and initiatives are all created and facilitated through a trauma informed lens. The work that Cass is currently doing in Kensington is a part of the efforts being led by residents, local civics, and agencies to change the trajectory of long-term disinvestment, trauma, and gentrification being experienced throughout the community.
Cass mentioned that MCCP hosts classes through it’s Fine Art Through Our Eyes Community Arts Initiative (FATEO). This 15-year-old initiative provides a safe and creative place to explore the creative process and highlight artists of color. Not only does MCCP host classes, but they also have the On-the-Go ArtBUS, a mobile art studio/engagement space. This bus was gifted to the organization by the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the close of the PHLA Exhibition. Cass and the FATOE team use the bus to bring creativity and art to people around Philadelphia.
Cass has also participated in the Artplace-Philadelphia Assembly convenings and serves on various boards. She continues to make positive change not only in her neighborhood, but Philly at-large using what she learned at CPI.