project leader
Erica W
1 University Blvd
(Normandy, MO)
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the project

The NLA provides hands-on neighborhood leadership training that emphasizes community building strategies and principles, project planning, and organizational & personal leadership practices. More than 300 neighborhood leaders have participated in NLA; learning the skills and building the networks necessary to create healthy, vibrant and whole communities.

Topics to include:

*Community Building Principles

*Leadership Practices

*Understanding St. Louis and Project Planning

* Community Toolkits

*Working in Diverse Communities

*Getting the Word Out

Erica R Williams, Executive Director of A Red Circle, is a current doctoral student at Walden University and holds an MBA from Maryville University. She is also active in the community and is deeply concerned about the economic health of north St. Louis County and particularly its black citizens. Through her academic research and community involvement, she has linked St. Louis’s racist past to North County’s current economic status and the racial inequality blacks still experience.  Being able to take this course will be a great opportunity for Ms. Williams to increase her skills in not-for-profit leadership and community building.

How others describe Ms. Williams: “…a powerhouse of a woman who is actively addressing social injustice in North County--from food to education and more--to stop the cycle of systemic racism and its effects." Nonprofit Executive Director (who wears all hats). A Red Circle’s mission statement is the holistic betterment of our community; reversing the effects of racism one person and cause at a time. The vision of the organization is to restore North (St. Louis) County to a safe, vibrant, sustainable, and economically sound community that remains diverse, and in doing so, help heal the racial strife and division that threatens to ruin North County altogether.

the steps

Pay the tuition to attend MO Extension's Neighborhood Leadership Academy.

Attend the class.

Receive an UMSL Chancellor Certificate.

why we're doing it

A Red Circle's work focuses on economic development within the region, through a racial eqity lens.  This involves community betterment from within - from healthy food access, to school district improvement, to job creation, street clean-up, and more.  These issues comprise A Red Circle's theory of change.  Taking this course will greatly increase Ms. Williams' leadership capacity in serving the North St. Louis County community and allow her to effectively lead the various teams that comprise A Red Circle.

A Red Circle’s Employment team works to break down barriers to securing and keeping gainful employment in North County. They work on job development and job creation through a racial equity lens. That can include advocating for high schools to incorporate a more jobs-focused curriculum, for employers to providing transportation, childcare, and other necessities, as well as collaborating with policy organizations that focus on improving public transit.

The Education team has assembled an Education Advocacy Coalition to include professionals and organizations invested in the North County school districts of Hazelwood, Ferguson-Florissant, Riverview, Normandy, and Jennings. The coalition meets quarterly and works on issues such as discipline practices, academic achievement, parental involvement, and equitable school funding.

The Holistic Living team operates a community garden, healthy food kitchen, works on healthy food access, and financial empowerment & education.

The Policy team works on civic engagement, voter mobilization, and alongside community advocacy groups on issues that affect the Black community.

The Arts team performs at events and provides opportunities for North County residents to become more exposed to the fine arts.

In addition to the teams mentioned above, economic development interns perform research on abandoned and derelict properties and are working on community beautification efforts. This work is performed in conjunction with State Representative Alan Green and a network of ‘Better Block’ affiliates.

Ms. Williams has applied for a partial scholarship as well.



Disbursed Budget 8.27.18

Raised = $273.00
less ioby Platform Fee waived
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $7.95
Total to Disburse = $265.05


Original Budget

Tuition $390 (early bird rate)

Online fees or processing $10

Subtotal = $400
ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $12
Total to raise = $412


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