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Unity Ball 2017 : “Bridging the Delmar Divide”

Join Better Family Life, Inc. at the Marriott St. Louis Grand for our 31st Annual Unity Ball on Saturday, November 18, 2017.  Your support is key to the resilience and revitalization of North St. Louis city.  We invite you to be a part of the groundbreaking, phenomenal resurgence, “Bridging the Delmar Divide” with the Page Redevelopment Project, The Vibe!

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Mark Wrighton, Chancellor, Washington University at St. Louis  

 

Better Family Life and Bridging the Delmar Divide     

In 2013 Better Family Life, Inc. opened its Cultural, Educational and Business Center, the epicenter of the redevelopment it is proposing along Page Boulevard. In 2016 BFL completed the final phase of its’ Cultural Center’s $17 million renovation.

Better Family Life for over 34 years has delivered human development services and cultural programs addressing crisis that plague families and neighborhoods in distressed communities. After 50 years of systemic disinvestment, red lining and neglect of north St. Louis, (near the BFL Cultural, Educational, and Business Center), the African American community is in desperate disrepair.

Since 1983, BFL’s program delivery approach has been built organically and deliberately–with a robust community outreach program, promoting self-worth through culture, building allegiance amongst residents, students and community activists.

BFL’s partnership with the City of St. Louis has strengthened and advanced its’ efforts in public safety, health and housing. Engaging the St. Louis Police Department has caused significant reductions in crime in the City’s 26th ward.

August 2016, a community impact measurement survey was completed with funding provided by NeighborWorks. The survey provided accurate assessments of the physical and human capital needs of BFL’s immediate footprint. Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, through its Evaluation Center, has partnered with BFL in this research.

The BFL geographical footprint calls for residential and commercial development along a 2.1 mile stretch of Page Boulevard from Kingshighway Boulevard to Skinker. This corridor, between Delmar Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, is vital to the city’s future development and the divide between north and south St. Louis that currently exist.

The Delmar Divide refers to Delmar Boulevard as a socioeconomic and racial dividing line in St. Louis, Missouri. The term was popularized outside Greater St. Louis by a four-minute documentary from the BBC [1]. Delmar Blvd. is an east-west street with its western terminus in the municipality of University City extending into the City of St. Louis. There is a dense concentration of eclectic commerce on Delmar Blvd. near the municipal borders of University City and St. Louis, known as the Delmar Loop. A similar nearby area to east-southeast is the Central West End (CWE), with over 125 businesses [2]. Delmar Blvd is referred to as a “divide” because the neighborhood to the south of it is 70% white and the neighborhood to the north is 99% black, and due to corresponding sharp socioeconomic, cultural, and public policy differences. [3]