RPOP’s past programming, like all its activities, focused on resident engagement, community building and shared learning.
Community Based Organization (CBO) Learning Circle
This program is focused on strengthening CBOs in and around the Russell neighborhood through collective learning and network building.
AdvancingCities Louisville, a project funded by JPMorgan Chase’s national Advancing Cities Program, was a $3 million, initiative to scale entry-level tech talent from historically underrepresented populations and geographies while creating a more connected community of wraparound service providers who support individuals seeking to gain tech skills and build careers. RPOP partnered with the Metro United Way of Greater Louisville and a number of other community organizations in this work.
Summer Learning Series
This program explored new concepts of community ownership and wealth building, including community land trusts, cooperatives and guaranteed income/universal basic income, in a shared learning environment that included RPOP team members, Russell residents and local and national individuals and organizations with expertise in each of the topic areas. These conversations helped shape RPOP's strategies and decision-making related to its future organizational form, ownership models and the YALift! Program. Summer Learning Series programs took place virtually and in person in Summer 2021 and 2022.
RPOP hosted an annual Juneteenth event in 2020, 2021 and 2022. These celebrations focused on the history of Juneteenth and offered family-friendly activities such as arts and crafts, music, children’s programming, a vendor fair, food and more. In 2023, RPOP supported partner MELANnaire Marketplace’s Juneteenth event.
This program was focused on strengthening connections between Russell residents, promoting resources and education for homeowners, homebuyers and renters, and sharing information about topics of interest to attendees.
2020 Russell for Russell Resident Coalition (R4R)
R4R included 26 Black Russell residents ranging in age from 22 yrs to 72 yrs. Together, the group co-created strategies that support Black wealth building and lead to investment without displacement of residents or businesses. The work of the group led to the development and co-authoring of the Russell Partnership Pledge.
2021-2023 Russell Workgroups
Over two years, 40 Russell residents participated in workgroups focused on defining RPOP’s future organizational form and the development of the property at 30th and Madison Street. Workgroups engaged in shared learning about community ownership options, made decisions about RPOP’s incorporation, traveled to visit model organizations in Boston, Baltimore, Seattle/Tacoma, Cincinnati, and Lexington, Kentucky, and participated in tenant development and site design activities. Workgroups made decisions using RPOP’s Partnership Pledge as a guiding document.
Young Leaders Academy
RPOP worked with the Coalition Supporting Young Adults to create and facilitate an interactive 9-week program designed to help young leaders cultivate personal leadership skills, gain a better understanding of what community means, and grow their advocacy skills to make impactful change in their communities.
YaLift! Guaranteed Income Pilot
YALift! offered 150 young adults, ages 18 to 24, in Louisville's Russell, California and Smoketown neighborhoods an opportunity to receive $500 per month for a year to demonstrate the many benefits of providing a basic income for all individuals. Modeled on programs in Stockton, California, and Jackson, Mississippi, YALift! funding came with no restrictions, giving recipients full control over spending it to meet their own unique needs. This program was a partnership between RPOP, the Metro United Way, Louisville Metro Government, Mayors for Guaranteed Income and numerous community partners who were essential in bringing a level of trust and community voice to the design of the pilot.
RPOP believes in learning alongside residents as we grow our collective knowledge, and has developed resources to promote opportunities to help us explore grow together.
RPOP hosted a series of virtual learning sessions featuring local elected officials discussing a range of issues and policies identified as significant to the Russell community. These events gave Russell residents a chance to engage directly with individuals representing them, to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the political system.
As part of the support offered to participants in the Russell for Russell Resident Coalition and RPOP’s Workgroups, RPOP created a shared virtual library with resources related to RPOP's wealth building pathways, our national models, and more. This living resource will continue to grow as RPOP engages in ongoing shared learning with Russell residents.
Ujamaa Workbook (Download)
The Ujamaa Workbook was co-written by RPOP team members and Play Cousins Collective to engage Black children and families in activities focused on generational wealth. Readers can go on a journey with main character, Harmony, as she learns about community building, cooperative economics, saving money, Black inventors, gardening and more from her village.
RPOP creates space for residents to have a significant voice in shaping their community and directly invests in place-based efforts such as housing, business development and community assets. Through our Partnership Pledge and our role as an accountability partner, we have united the voices of hundreds of residents and shifted the language and awareness of many community organizations working in Russell and the broader community on the importance of centering resident voice and leadership. We have influenced the strategic direction and plans of major institutions including our fiscal sponsor and city government.
Over the past five years the dual impacts of COVID and state violence have greatly impacted our work and the community. We became more vocal advocates for justice, equity and the prioritization of resident voices. We developed a robust online presence and the ability to manage complex long-running intergenerational programs in virtual and in-person spaces. We have cared for our community by providing safe and joyful events, protected time and resources for self-care, and a sense of belonging and family.