ECP Communities |
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ECP Communities

The Neighborhood Empowerment Network’s Empowered Communities Program (ECP) leverages a community development approach to advance a neighborhood’s disaster resilience.  By fusing together methods such as human centered design and collective impact engagement with experiential leadership development, we’ve created a program that empowers neighborhoods to craft and implement culturally competent strategies that strengthen the communities to negotiate times of stress and protect the health and well-being of all residents, especially the vulnerable.


Click on the button below to download the ECP Program White Paper!

ECP Program Overview

Vision & Mission

Vision: Every resident lives in a healthy, safe and resilient community supported by local cross sector networks rich in trust and reciprocity.


Mission: The ECP Program harnesses the expertise and resources of the member agencies of the Neighborhood Empowerment Network to create strategies, tools and trainings that empower community residents and stakeholder organizations to advance their neighborhood’s overall resilience. 


In 2007, Mayor Ed Lee (then City Administrator) stood in the middle of New Orleans’ 9th Ward and saw first-hand one of the great social justice tragedies in modern US history.  The Mayor concluded that the incredible destruction and loss of life could have been prevented if the community had been brought to the table as an equitable partner by local government and actively participated in the creation of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery strategies.


Upon his return he called upon the Neighborhood Empowerment Network to craft a highly scalable and sustainable approach that would empower every community to craft and implement a culturally competent plan that would guide their collective investments for a resilient future.

ECP Approach

The NEN’s program development methods are built on four key tenets:

  1. Plan with communities – not for them
  2. Create tools, resources and strategies with the communities that will be charged with using them
  3. Offer real benefit for participation for all stakeholders across all sectors
  4. Transfer “ownership” of resilience back to the community
ECP Benefits
  • The Community receives the technical support, and resources, to draft and implement a culturally competent Resilience Action Plan that helps guide their advocacy/investments so that the essential ingredients of their socio-economic success (people, institutions, culture) are able to negotiate periods of severe lifeline interruption (electricity / water / sewer / communications / roads) interruption and recover quickly while protecting the health and well-being of the most vulnerable.


  • The Civic “community” has the opportunity to engage the community in a deep and meaningful way regarding the risks/shocks that they are likely to experience and work collaboratively to craft and implement strategies to mitigate their impact. As a result of this pre-event engagement, the civic leadership will develop higher levels of trust and reciprocity with communities which in turn increase cooperation during times of stress and help accelerate recovery activities.
ECP Program Elements

The HUB – A cohort of cross sector agencies (i.e. libraries, supermarkets, schools, faith based orgs. & non-profits) that reside in close proximity to each other that works together every day on advancing their individual resilience, and have the capacity to come together and support the needs of their surrounding community during times of stress.


The Neighborhood Support Center – This resource supports agencies of any sector advance their ability to meet their existing disaster resilience goals during times of stress as well as increase their capacity to expand, or modify, their mission to meet the needs of nearby organizations and individuals.


The Neighborfest – Social cohesion is an essential ingredient of any community’s ability to meet its disaster goals.  There is no better way to build social cohesion at the block level that by hosting a block party.  The Neighborfest Host Toolkit provides residents with a step by step process that helps them assemble a high performing team of volunteers to  craft and implement event plans that will bring their neighbors together and increase their individual and collective resilience.


The NEN Leadership Academies

An early academic partner of the NEN’s was the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Acting in Time Initiative who performed extensive research on community resilience in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.   A key takeaway was the importance of investing in the development of strong, effective local leadership.  Over the last four years, the NEN has partnered with two agencies, CORO & APRI, to create leadership academies that empowering today’s, and tomorrow’s, emerging leaders to steward San Francisco to a more resilient future.

  • The District 11 Leadership Academy
    This is a partnership between the NEN / Sup Safai and CORO.  The NEN Leadership Academy is a group-learning experience for cohorts of up to 20 community leaders. Participants meet over four months on four full-day Saturdays and four evenings. Program facilitators from Coro provide guidance and create experiences equipping participants with stakeholder skills in advancing their community’s resilience goals.
  • The Resilient Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) –
    This immersive, experiential leadership development program empowers youth to become stakeholders in advancing their community’s resilience goals in the face of stressors such as climate change and earthquakes.

Current ECP Communities

Neighborhood Empowerment Network is a cross sector cohort of city-wide resident leaders, community & faith based organizations, city agencies, private sector stakeholders, academic and philanthropic institutions that align their expertise, programs, technical and financial resources to advance the development of tools, resources and methods that empower communities to strengthen their capacity to advance their resilience goals.