Woodlawn Foundation serves as a catalyst and facilitator for the transformation and revitalization of Woodlawn in Birmingham, Alabama, into a vibrant and sustainable community in which its residents have an opportunity to thrive.
The Vision of the Woodlawn Foundation is to grow a safe and healthy community where children learn and play, families live in quality housing, parents work in stable jobs, businesses thrive and everyone contributes to the growth of Greater Birmingham.
In 2010, Mike and Gillian Goodrich started Woodlawn Foundation, the lead organization or “community quarterback” of Woodlawn United – a comprehensive collaboration of partners committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in Woodlawn.
By working with residents and local stakeholders in the community, Woodlawn Foundation identifies needs within the neighborhood and leverages resources to fill those gaps with high quality services and programs.
WHAT WE BELIEVE IN
Integrity: Transparency in our work and mission, honesty and trustworthiness.
Equity: We embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion and use this as the basis of our decision making.
Passion: We are energized by our work and are fully immersed in our community and residents.
Humanity: By taking care of one another, we consistently strive to make Woodlawn the best it can be for ourselves and its residents.
Creativity: We seek new ways to be more effective in furthering our mission to the
greater good of our community.
THE FOUNDATION followsA HOLISTIC APPROACH TO COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION
The Purpose Built Communities model for holistic community revitalization was crafted from the successful transformation of the East Lake community in Atlanta, Georgia, in the mid-1990’s. Led by local real estate developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins, Atlanta Housing Authority President and CEO Renee Glover, local resident Eva Davis and key business leaders, the partnership took the community from a poverty-stricken, crime-ridden public housing development into a thriving community with quality mixed-income housing, a top-rated school, 95% reduction in crime rates and substantial investments in commercial and residential real estate.
By utilizing lessons learned through the East Lake transformation via high quality, mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness programs, Purpose Built Communities is helping to make a positive impact in some the country’s most challenging neighborhoods through organizations such as Woodlawn Foundation. To date, their Network Members lead comprehensive redevelopment initiatives in more than eighteen communities across the country.
Click HERE to learn more about Purpose Built Communities
In the Spring of 2013, several partners joined Woodlawn Foundation in a collaborative effort to create a model school feeder pattern …
Providing high quality, mixed-income and single family housing options to Woodlawn residents has been the primary real estate strategy for Woodlawn Foundation since its inception …
We believe community wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being …
Woodlawn Foundation’s education efforts address the entire cradle-to-college and career continuum. Our goal is to transform the Woodlawn feeder pattern into a dynamic, 21st century system of school options and create a seamless cradle-to-college and career education pipeline through which students can move seamlessly.
The new Community Navigator is the evolution of our former Managers of Community Partners. Navigators will collaborate with a wide array of community partners to meet the learning readiness needs of all residents, to create safe and supportive learning environments, to strengthen families in support of education and to support community advancement. The Navigator is charged with interfacing and planning with community partners and integrating programs and services into the community. Working with a community-based team, the Navigator facilitates activities within five domains of focus: youth development, comprehensive wellness, family support, education, and community engagement.
I3 Academy/Camp Invention: I3 Academy, Alabama’s most recently approved public charter school, brings the nationally recognized summer program Camp Invention to the greater Woodlawn community. Camp Invention was created by members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. This camp will serve students from grades K-4, providing them with an opportunity to experience project-based learning in the areas of reading, mathematics and STEM. This camp is being conducted at St. Barnabas Catholic School and will serve as a preview to the academic offerings of I3 Academy.
Summer Bridge: Summer Bridge is a free program designed to help familiarize high school students from Woodlawn with various aspects of collegiate life, both academically and socially. The program’s objectives are to assist students in an academically challenging high school environment; to expose students to, and engage them in, college project-based learning experiences to develop and reinforce academic skills; to provide students with an opportunity to begin building and utilizing community resources while building peer networks; and to acclimate students to a college campus and career planning. Week long camps will be conducted at both UAB and Jefferson State Community College campuses.
Woodlawn Music Tech Summer Camp: The Woodlawn Music Tech Summer Camp is for middle through high school age students and is designed to build awareness of the technology used in music production and recording engineering. Campers are exposed to the latest music and video production tools, such as Garage Band, Pro Tools, Reason, and iMovie. They learn how to compose and record their own songs and gain real-world experiences in the state-of-the-art recording studios and music tech labs at Audiostate 55.
The YWCA Central Alabama annually conducts a summer program called CREW (Creating Responsible Educated Working teens). This eight-week summer enrichment program offers job skill training as well as academic and personal development opportunities. Participants engage in a myriad of sessions which focus on the importance of education, dress code, work ethic, commitment, listening skills, responsibility, team building exercises and professional preparation. The program invites rising 8th through 12th grade students to attend while earning a weekly stipend during the summer.
The Healthy Families Initiative is a collaborative effort backed by the District Attorney, working in conjunction with area school districts, to identify resources to assist and prevent the families of students from entering the family court system. There are inter-agency-team (IAT) meetings comprised of different agencies including Birmingham P.D., JBS Mental Health, DHR, Family Court and others where information is shared to provide context concerning the experiences of individual families to discover root causes contributing to various identifiable issues. Community stakeholders work with the families to devise the best course of action to Help the Family resolve various issues and to hopefully avoid any future occurrences.
In response to the need for adult workforce training, Woodlawn Foundation recently launched Woodlawn WORx to holistically address the economic mobility needs within the community. By building key partnerships among best-practice providers, Woodlawn WORx creates an insulated pipeline of wraparound services, allowing our residents to overcome the barriers that have prohibited them from accessing and completing workforce development programs in the past and putting them on a path to economic success.
Woodlawn Foundation recently celebrated the graduation of the inaugural class of a new Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) program. Students completed the twelve-week program in partnership with Christ Health Center and Jefferson State Community College. The graduates will seek job opportunities in the community or with larger medical facilities across the city. The collaborative community-based CMA program is offered at no cost to participants and is the first of its kind in Woodlawn to provide certification opportunities that prepares and equips its graduates with the necessary skills relevant in the current job market as well as for future growth. Most importantly, it provides Woodlawn residents with access to increased financial opportunities. The CMA program will continue with future classes with the addition of new certification programs to follow.
Managers of Community Partners (MCP)
Woodlawn Foundation provides a Manager of Community Partners (MCP) in each of the five schools in the Woodlawn network whose sole purpose is to connect families to support services and coordinate partners in six areas: youth development, health, mental health, family support, education and community engagement. These school-level quarterbacks serve as front line support for parents at each school.
Early College gives Woodlawn High students the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit in high school. Early College is a partnership between Birmingham City Schools, University of Alabama-Birmingham, and Jefferson State Community College that gives Woodlawn High students the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit in high school. To date, Woodlawn High School students have earned more than 1100 college hours through Early College.
Greater Birmingham Math Partnership (GBMP) and WIN are working together to assist teachers in using inquiry-based instruction to increase student achievement. Teachers from Avondale and Oliver Elementary Schools began working with GBMP during the summer of 2017 when teachers took a 4-day inquiry-based mathematics course on “Equations and Expressions” which then modeled the instruction that teachers would implement with their students. During this school year, teachers have been participating in follow-up monthly Professional Learning Community meetings to plan and then observe in-the moment lessons with WIN students. GBMP’s research since 2004 has shown that when teachers implement inquiry-based curriculum, student achievement increases.
Our collaborative work led to:
We believe community wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. In order to cultivate the healthy and safe neighborhood that Woodlawn’s citizens deserve, we are working with residents and partners to provide access to health services, wellness programs in schools, more green space, walking trails, healthy food, quality retail amenities, and more.
Seeking to address the legal needs of residents in the community, Woodlawn Foundation partnered with Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyer’s Program to create the “Woodlawn Legal Help Desk”, a place-based program offering pro bono legal services in an accessible and equitable manner. Many estate-related topics are covered during the monthly sessions, including wills, housing issues, insurance challenges and other non-criminal areas.
In 2019 we saw new leadership emerge in the Woodlawn Community. At the foundation we are seeking to develop and expand leadership capacity for residents and will launch a new leadership program designed to help foster relationships and promote more community lead revitalization efforts. Residents continue to be the central focus of our work and we will continue to support them and amplify their voice.