For Immediate Release
March 27, 2023
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Roadmap is result of intensive community collaboration that included nearly 60 community organizations, residents, and civic leaders from 02908 and 02909 zip codes

Central Providence — ONE Neighborhood Builders and Central Providence Opportunities: A Health Equity Zone (CPO-HEZ) unveiled the Central Providence Roadmap during a community event at the WaterFire Arts Center. The Roadmap is the first comprehensive, community-built collective impact plan focused on the nine neighborhoods in 02998 and 02909 zip codes that make up Central Providence.

The Roadmap was developed with input from more than 60 community organizations, civic leaders, and residents of Central Providence. The Central Providence Roadmap is about collectively imagining – and working together to realize – a future with greater health and economic equity. It recognizes and aims to build upon the assets and potential in Central Providence – dedicated community members, innovative programs and services, and a shared commitment of organizations and residents to work together toward shared goals.

“Too many of our neighbors in Central Providence have been held back because of community-level conditions that are rooted in structural racism. These barriers can deny families access to quality education, affordable housing, good jobs, and adequate health care. Residents and organizations have been working for decades to remove these barriers. This collective effort represents an approach for bringing folks together and aligning on the overall strategy and mission,” said Jennifer Hawkins, ONE|NB President and Executive Director. “The Central Providence Roadmap is a decade-long collective impact plan that will transform the neighborhoods in Central Providence. This work will help promote economic mobility, empower local residents, create community wealth, and improve community health. I believe it will serve as an example for statewide scaling.”

“The Central Providence Roadmap provides clear goals and action steps to improve the quality of life for the residents of these nine neighborhoods. Over the next ten years, this plan will be a strong foundation for efforts to make housing, healthcare, and entrepreneurship more accessible to all,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “ONE Neighborhood Builders, the Central Providence Health Equity Zone, and the participating community organizations have done excellent work in creating this plan, and the State of Rhode Island looks forward to helping carry it out.”

Providence City Council President & Ward 13 City Councilor Rachel Miller said: “The Central Providence HEZ Roadmap represents a tremendous opportunity to build economic opportunity and chart a course for growth together with residents impacted by structural inequity as it relates to health, education, and affordability. I’m honored to partner with ONE Neighborhood as we undertake these challenges together.”

Last week, ONE|NB named Anusha Venkataraman as the organization’s first Managing Director of Central Providence Opportunities (CPO-HEZ). In this role, Venkataraman will oversee the implementation of the Roadmap with partners across the nine neighborhoods in Central Providence.

“Providence is strengthened by its vast network of community and grassroots organizations. I am excited to work with them to lead the implementation of the Roadmap’s bold vision,” said Venkataraman. “I share a belief that every resident in Central Providence can be empowered to shape conditions in their community. With a clear focus on collective impact and with commitment to shared measurements, we can cultivate healthy, vibrant, civically engaged, and safe communities in every part of Central Providence.”

In collaboration with dozens of partners, ONE|NB and the CPO-HEZ generated consensus on three pillars and six north star values to guide the next decade of progress for the neighborhoods in Central Providence:

Pillar 1 – Meeting Foundational Needs

  • Everyone has a safe and affordable place to live.
  • Everyone has access to the resources they need to be healthy and well.

Pillar 2 – Supporting Mobility Drivers

  • Every young person is ready to learn, and our systems are ready to receive them.
  • Everyone who wants to start or grow their own business has the opportunity to do so.
  • Everyone has access to dignified, sufficient, and sustaining employment.

Pillar 3 – Building Power and Capacity

  • Everyone is equipped and empowered to take action affecting change in their community.

Each pillar and north star is supported with clear cut strategies, desired outcomes, and measurable indicators. In addition, ONE|NB and CPO-HEZ have identified working groups and will convene a steering committee to provide guidance, accountability, and creative leadership to achieve the goals set out in each category.

“As a member of CPO-HEZ, we are proud to offer education programs, and individual support for Central Providence residents to develop digital skills for life, study, and work,” said Lina Bravo Digital Equity and Learning Coordinator of the Providence Public Library.

The greatest strength of the Roadmap is the inclusive and comprehensive nature of input from an array of community organizations, residents, and businesses with deep roots in Central Providence. The CPO-HEZ commitment to a collective impact model focuses on five key conditions to ensure ongoing coordination across the community. Those specific conditions are:

  • A common agenda: Partners share a vision for change that includes a common understanding of challenges and a coordinated approach to take action.
  • Mutually reinforcing activities: Each partner leads activities specific to their expertise, while also aligning with and supporting others in the network.
  • Shared measurement: Partners track outcomes in the same manner and engage in learning, evaluation, and accountability.
  • Continuous communications: With an emphasis on trust, respect, and transparency, partners commit to building and maintaining relationships and sharing information.
  • Strong backbone: One entity coordinates the larger group – providing focus, and dedicating resources. ONE|NB will serve as that backbone.

“Beginning in 2020, the State has partnered with ONE Neighborhood Builders and the Rhode Island Foundation to create a long-term plan that provides the framework for expanding the existing Health Equity Zone (HEZ) infrastructure, scaling HEZs to communities in need, and sustaining the model for the next decade,” said EOHHS Director of Strategy and Innovation, James Rajotte. “This significant community investment, in partnership with Blue Meridian, has provided a unique opportunity to accelerate place-based work in Central Providence while also understanding how the State can scale and sustain this work via the HEZ model.”

“Since the doors of the WaterFire Arts Center (WFAC) opened in 2017, we have been committed in investing in the Valley and surrounding neighborhoods in Central Providence by building the WFAC into a cultural anchor institution founded on access through programs like ArtLab@WaterFire and WaterFire Accelerate. We look forward to using the Roadmap as a guide to continue designing programs that support opportunities within our neighborhood and break down barriers in the arts and culture sector,” said Peter Mello, Managing Director and co-CEO of WaterFire Providence.

“Addressing the underlying causes of disparities in health, education and economic success are at the core of the Rhode Island Foundation’s work,” said Jenny Pereira, Rhode Island Foundation, vice president of grants and community investments. “We are proud to play a role in supporting the Central Providence Opportunities initiative and its partners as they centered community voices and collaboration in developing this roadmap for a more equitable future for these nine neighborhoods.”

ONE|NB and CPO-HEZ will release periodic reports on metrics outlined in the Roadmap to provide members of the community and key decision makers across the City and State with transparent and objective data that can help shape economic, health, housing, and education policy for Central Providence

Central Providence Opportunities: A Health Equity Zone (CPO-HEZ) is a place-based collective impact initiative working toward greater health and economic equity within Central Providence. CPO-HEZ is facilitated by ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB), a nonprofit community development leader in Rhode Island that aims to develop affordable housing and engage neighbors across Greater Providence to cultivate healthy, vibrant, and safe communities.


ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB) is a nonprofit community development leader in Rhode Island that is expanding its work to the broader Greater Providence area while maintaining its deep roots in its historic home of Olneyville. ONE|NB’s mission is to develop affordable housing and engage neighbors to cultivate healthy, vibrant, and safe communities. Since its founding in 1988, then as Olneyville Housing Corporation, ONE|NB has developed 466 affordable apartments; 130 for-sale homes for low- to moderate-income homebuyers; and nearly 34,000 square feet of commercial and community space—totaling more than $135 million of investments. ONE|NB is the convening entity of Central Providence Opportunities: A Health Equity Zone, which brings together residents, more than five dozen community-based organizations, health professionals, local businesses, elected officials, and others to address root causes of health disparities and to improve neighborhood conditions. As the convener, ONE|NB is the backbone organization of this collective-impact initiative to increase economic mobility for residents in Central Providence. ONE|NB also created the first free community wireless network in Rhode Island, providing high-speed broadband to nearly 3000 unique users in the Olneyville neighborhood.


Media Contact (for ONE Neighborhood Builders)
Mike Raia, Half Street Group
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