The CornerStone Initiative is a Christian Community Development organization. We are not a direct service agency. We do not provide direct services such as food, clothing, rent or utility assistance. When those needs are apparent, we point folks to established organizations that can help. Instead, CornerStone is based on the belief that everyone in a community has something to contribute to that community. Our desire is to empower individuals to help themselves by following the model of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).
As an asset-based community development organization, we engage residents and business owners in conversation to learn the community's shared history, its strengths and successes, as well as the common values and hopes for the community. Collaborating with residents, business owners, city officials, agencies, and schools, the CornerStone team empowers individuals and local neighborhood leadership for developing solutions that bring sustainable positive change for individuals and their community.
CornerStone's 3 Areas of Focus are:
* Education - Multi-generational Support for Life-Long Learning
* Employment - Local Business Development & Work Skills Readiness.
* Enrichment - Neighborhood Enhancement & Community Revitalization.
CornerStone's present focus area is in Northwest Huntsville's 35805 zip code. Our specific area, commonly referred to as "Westside" is between Governors Drive and Holmes Avenue, 14th Street and Memorial Parkway.
- Jesus Christ is the CornerStone of community and we are called to share His teachings through word and action.
- in holistic community development for alleviation of material, educational, economic, spiritual and relational poverty.
- listening is foundational for building relationships and discerning God’s guidance for community revitalization.
- personal relationships and collaborative partnerships empower people to effect positive transformation.
Current CornerStone "Initiatives" focus on activities related to our 3 "E's" (Education, Enrichment, and Employment).
Front Porch Conversations - Building relationships of respect and trust, volunteers engage in conversation with residents of our focus areas, listening to neighbors stories while discerning their personal skills and experiences, as well as their hopes and dreams for their neighborhood. All "Initiatives" are birthed from these conversations.
Neighborhood Conversations - Quarterly community social gatherings are held for growing relationships among neighbors, sharing ideas, and developing leadership from within the neighborhood. Through these meetings residents consider their common community values and goals pertaining to issues such as education, employment, health, housing, safety, city services, neighborhood relations, economic development of their area, employment, etc.
Neighborhood Celebrations - Each fall, CornerStone supports the local neighborhood leadership organize a day for enjoying neighborhood relationships. Starting with a festive morning of community-wide family yard sales, the day ends with an afternoon BBQ Picnic and Potluck with neighborhood residents and special guests, Huntsville's 4th Precinct Police Officers and Fire Fighters.
Jobs for Life (JFL) - Nothing attacks one’s dignity like a lack of work; unemployment diminishes one’s self value and creates wrong assumptions by people who do not have relationship with persons experiencing poverty. Jobs for Life (JfL) is a 32 hour employment soft skills curriculum that develops good character, self-confidence and dependable work ethics with mentorship and supportive community. Knowing God’s design for work, Jobs for Life students grow in faith and realize the importance of life-long learning.
CEDAC (CornerStone Economic Development Advisory Council) - CEDAC is a group of accomplished experts and individuals from the local business community who offer innovative advice, expertise and assistance for assessing the economic assets, history, hopes and needs of the CornerStone focus area. They encourage and support the exploration of new business development ideas, provide wise counsel on issues of business development, community development, mentorship, and employment preparation needs. CEDAC's current focus is to support local business owners in having a collective voice in regards city planning around the Holmes Avenue corridor expansion and how it will affect their businesses.
The CornerStone Conference for Community Compassion (C4) - Each year, on the last Tuesday of February, CornerStone hosts a conference that serves as our major annual fund raiser. Beyond raising support for our non-profit, our goal is to bring people together in hopes of creating long-term solutions to poverty. Yearly, we have gathered to learn from national leaders of community development, seeking ways to help residents capitalize on their assets to grow beyond dependency while revitalizing their neighborhoods. We have focused on work readiness, entrepreneurship, and economic development models that help move people from dependency to the dignity of work.