History of NUSA Conferences
2018- Birmingham, Alabama
The “Magic City” host of the 43rd Annual 2018 Neighborhoods, USA conference is the largest City in Alabama nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. The 43rd Annual NUSA conference was the “Third” time hosted by the Magic City, making it a history making, record breaking event which organizers attracted 885 attendees. There were sixty-four workshops and over one hundred and twenty presenters, twenty-four workshops sessions were certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Birmingham’s southern hospitality and charm was showcased as conference attendees experienced how it is “Building Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today”.
Inspirational Guest keynote speaker Clarence Threatt kicked off the conference week at the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon held at the Historic Boutwell auditorium. Over two hundred neighborhood volunteers were present as he set the stage to welcome the nation back to Birmingham again. Alanah Melton in the Mayor’s Office established a dynamic Mayoral panel moderated by Dejuanna Thompson. The panel included Mayor Randall L. Woodfin (Birmingham), Mayor Latoya Cantrell (New Orleans), Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba (Jackson, MS). Miss Melton was successful in showing that synergy can and will exist among the leadership in the Southeast. The three dynamic keynote speakers were Dr. Michael D. Moore (Faith Chapel Christian Church), Dr. Max Michael and Shauntice Allen (UAB), Dennis Harris (Church of the Highlands). The Exhibits included a debut of local artist which displayed their products, works of art and homemade goods and services.
Mayor Randall L. Woodfin hosted the Mayor’s “White” Reception and the Roaring 20’s Party filled the Sheraton Birmingham ballroom with excitement by offering attendees chances to win with over sixty door prizes. Both parties were big hits thanks to local entertainment, Alvin Garrett and “Just a few Cats” featuring Logan the Entertainer and DJ Chocolate and band which kept the attendees entertained.
The Annual Jazz in the Park showcased local talent such as Very Green Light Band in Linn Park, was a great closing to a successful 2018 Birmingham NUSA Conference.
Click HERE for resources and materials from the 2018 NUSA Conference
2017 - Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, the largest city in the State of Nebraska, showed 2017 conference attendees how it's "Bridging the Future" for stronger neighbohoods at NUSA's 42nd annual conference. This being the first time it hosted the NUSA conference, organizers in Omaha raised the attendance up to 853 individuals, making it the best-attended NUSA conference since 2004. With inspiring keynote messages from Fred Kent, the founder and president of Projects for Public Spaces, and Joseph Porcelli, a senior strategist with Nextdoor, attendees also had access to more than 55 educational workshops and 18 neighborhood pride tours. Mayor Jean Strothert hosted a welcome reception, where NUSA received the City of Omaha's Community Excellence Award for 2017. Throughout the conference, Omaha also featured local destinations and points of interest, showcasing neighborhoods where revitalization has turned lives around. Click HERE for resources and materials from the 2017 NUSA Conference.
2016 - Memphis, Tennessee
The largest city in the State of Tennessee and the 3rd largest in the Southeastern United States, the 2016 host city showed why "Memphis is the Place to Be" at NUSA's 41st annual conference. With attendance reaching 759 individuals, the 2016 conference featured inspiring keynote messages from Dr. Michael Minor, Joy Sloan Kinks and Mo Bridges, CEO of Mo's Bows Handmade Bow Ties. Attendees also had access to more than 60 educational workshops and more than 15 neighborhood pride tours. Newly-elected Mayor Jim Strickland hosted a fantastic celebration and reception at the National Historic Civil Rights Museum, and attendees enjoyed and participated in local happenings in and around Beale Street and throughout this city best known as the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, soul, and blues music. Click HERE for resources and materials from the 2016 NUSA Conference.
2015 - Houston, Texas
The 4th largest city in the United States, Houston truly showed how it puts its "Passion into Action" at NUSA's 40th annual conference. Attended by more than 800 individuals (making it NUSA's biggest attendance in 7 years), the conference featured inspiring keynote messages from Angela Blanchard, the President of Neighborhood Centers Inc, and Kirbyjon Caldwell, Senior Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church. Attendees were also met with a choice of more than 60 educational workshops and 16 neighborhood pride tours, in addition to a reception hosted by Mayor Annise Parker at the historic Julia Ideson Library. In return, to commemorate NUSA's 40th Anniversary, conference attendees donated more than 1000 books for children who are serviced by the libraries of Neighborhood Centers, Inc. Click HERE for resources and materials from the 2015 NUSA Conference.
2014 - Eugene, Oregon
Home to the University of Oregon and Nike, Eugene showed attendees of the 2014 NUSA Conference what "Growing Community Hand in Hand" is all about and what it means for neighborhoods across the nation. Attended by 583 individuals, the conference was highlighted by the words from three powerful keynote speakers - Michele Hunt, Jim Diers and Julian Agyeman. Additionally, attendees had a plethora of "on-your-own fun events" to round out an agenda featuring more than 50 workshops and 11 neighborhood pride tours. Organizers of the 2014 conference also took sustainability to a higher level at the conference when they encouraged attendees to bring their own water bottles and opt-out of paper copies of workshop and conference materials.
2013 - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis proved it was indeed “Better Together - Strong Neighborhoods. Strong City” when they hosted the 2013 Neighborhoods, USA conference. Attended by 607 individuals dedicated to making their neighborhoods better, the conference in Minneapolis featured nationally-renowned keynote speakers like Majora Carter, Peter Kageyama and John McKnight who delivered inspiring insights to why the issue of improving neighborhoods is important to making our cities stronger. The Wednesday evening welcome reception was hosted at the Nicollet Island Pavillion and featured entertainment from the Little Thunderbirds Drum and Dance Troupe and The Steeles. Thursday and Friday activities included more than 60 workshops, 12 neighborhood pride tours and a Neighborhood Celebration at Minnehaha Falls. The conference wrapped up on Saturday, and some attendees were able to participate in a post-conference workshop on collaboration.
2012 - Indianapolis, Indiana
“Communities Building Community” was the theme for the 2012 Neighborhoods, USA Conference held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Hosted by the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, this conference saw the largest attendance since 2008 and also saw a record number of youth attendees. The conference featured a beautiful Welcome Reception held at the Indiana Statehouse, which featured a marching band, choir and a parade of flags representing all 50 states. Thursday and Friday activities included over 60 workshops, 10 Neighborhood Pride Tours and a Friday night outing to Victory Field for an Indianapolis Indians baseball game. Inspiring key note speakers included Deborah Hearn Smith (CEO of the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana) who spoke on youth leadership development, support services for our youth and the importance of instilling with our youth the idea of community involvement; Paul Schmitz (CEO of Public Allies) who spoke about leadership and civic engagement and the power of community, inclusion and collaboration; and Dennis R. Ryerson (Editor and Vice President of the Indianapolis Star) who spoke on the importance of early childhood education, student mentoring and community involvement. The conference concluded at noon on Saturday, which allowed attendees to attend the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade held in downtown Indianapolis.
2011 - Anchorage, Alaska
In May of 2011, Anchorage showed us their Great Land and Great Neighborhoods. They shared Alaska’s beautiful locale, unique neighborhoods, and dedicated leadership with NUSA conference attendees. A poor national economy this year kept attendance down for the third year in a row, but all who attended gave the conference high marks in evaluations. Over 260 neighborhood leaders, elected officials, and concerned citizens made their way to Anchorage for this conference focusing on creating neighborhood level solutions. The conference opened with a keynote address by four-time Iditarod winner Martin Buser and closed with comments by US Senator Mark Begich and a wonderful keynote speech by Father Michael Oleksa. Attendees were able to experience 8 Neighborhood Pride Tours and 45 workshops provided firsthand experience, knowledge and ideas. Mayor Sullivan welcomed attendees with a reception at the newly renovated Anchorage Museum of History and Art. Friday evening afforded the attendees the chance to experience the many cultures of Alaska at the Alaska Native Heritage Center – experiencing over a dozen outdoor exhibits plus native dancing and games. At this conference the Neighborhood Newsletter awards were presented for the first time.
2010 - Little Rock, Arkansas
Team NUSA, a volunteer group of neighborhood/community activists, city staff/elected officials, business leaders and federal partners, produced NUSA 2010. The first-time NUSA federal partners included HUD, FEMA, Americorp/City Year, the National Park Service and Clinton Presidential Center. President Bill Clinton was a most welcome keynote speaker who lauded the work of neighborhood groups nationwide. Attendees chose from 62 workshops, 25 of which were presented by the federal partners, 16 Neighborhood Pride Tours on Thursday and five special tours on Friday. A mayor’s reception was held on Wednesday evening at the Clinton Presidential Library. A poor national economy this year kept attendance down to 480 conferees, but all who attended gave the conference high marks in evaluations. Little Rock ’s 189 neighborhood associations benefited by learning to work together to produce an outstanding conference. NUSA benefited by gaining new federal partners and national sponsors, several of whom indicated a desire to continue on with NUSA at future conferences. At this conference the Who’s Who in America’s Neighborhoods Award was presented for the first time.
2009 - Spokane, Washington
In May of 2009, Our place became Your Place, as Spokane, WA shared its beautiful locale, unique neighborhoods, and dedicated leadership with NUSA conference attendees. Over 400 neighborhood leaders, elected officials, and concerned citizens made their way to Spokane for this conference focusing on creating healthier, more sustainable communities. Attendees got up-close and personal with the Spokane River, starting the conference with a rafting trip though the heart of downtown. 12 Neighborhood Pride Tours and 44 workshops provided first hand experience, knowledge and ideas. Mayor Verner welcomed attendees with a reception packed with entertainment showcasing the diversity of our arts community. Healthy Meal options were presented at every meal, and the conference wrapped up with the first ever NUSA 5k Fun Run for Healthy Communities, a way for visitors and city residents alike to show their commitment to personal and neighborhood health.
2008 - Hampton, Virginia
Charting the Journey to Success was the theme of the NUSA 2008 Conference on Neighborhood Concerns held in Hampton, Virginia May 21-24th. More than 800 neighborhood leaders, public sector staff, elected officials, nonprofit staff, business community representatives and youth representing 36 states and the country of Japan charted their journeys through more than 60 vibrant workshops and twenty five enlightening exhibitors, networking roundtable discussions and several well organized special events. Hampton’s hospitality was highlighted with 19 neighborhood pride tours demonstrating what makes the neighborhoods in Hampton and the Hampton Rds. Region places we are proud to call home and the best places to be. The opening breakfast speaker, Bob O’Neill, Executive Director of ICMA and former City Manager of Hampton captivated the audience with his message about the lessons learned & principle components of a successful neighborhood initiative. Janeen “Lady J” McBath, our closing speaker, shared her journey and her passion for contributing to the success of a community as a source of inspiration and encouragement for other neighborhood leaders to continue with their successful journeys. At the closing luncheon, the audience enjoyed a video showing moments captured over the course of the conference. Many attendees highlighted the participation of young people, the well organized registration process, diversity of the workshops, attention to the details, good food (and plenty of it) and the Hampton hospitality as the reasons that the NUSA 2008 conference in Hampton, VA was simply the best!
2007 - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
This year’s NUSA Conference was one to be remembered with the beautiful architecture background of the south and the surroundings of the Mississippi River adding to the congeniality of the host city, Baton Rouge. Participants from over 30 states will always be touched by the networking, fellowship and fun in a southern Louisianan locale with authentic Cajun cuisine. This non-stop conference of festive activities included; workshops, neighborhood tours and entertainment. Key speakers included Baton Rouge Mayor-president Melvin L. “Kip” Holden, Councilwoman Martha Jane Tassin, chair of the local host committee, Mack McCarter, coordinator for the Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal program and Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn. The Friday night “Taste of Louisiana” Block Party was held right next to the Mississippi River with live Cajun music, dancing, fresh roasted pork, and crawfish-eating. This conference will always bring a flavorful taste back to the participants when reminisced. Baton Rouge – you entertained us royally!
2006 - Kansas City, Missouri
A trip to the heartland for the 31st Annual Conference on Neighborhood Concerns, proved to be a worthwhile educational opportunity. In this “homecoming” event Kansas City, Missouri hosted over 800 conference attendees from 120 cities. Participants from 36 states and including the nation of Japan were represented at this conference. The conference theme “Connecting Hearts, Homes, and Communities” directly linked with the passion NUSA members feel for networking and sharing information to preserve a high quality of life for neighborhoods throughout the world. Just as in 1976, Neighborhoods, USA made history in Kansas City, Missouri with the first on-site board member elections. It is documented that voter participation increased by thirty-eight per-cent. Ms Judy Lafoon, a founding member of this organization, agreed to serve as Honorary Conference Chair and was presented with special acknowledgements for her historical contributions. The conference consisted of over 50 educational workshops and 25 neighborhood pride tours. Attendees were filled with great words, yearning for more from keynote speaker, John Campbell.
2005 - Sacramento, California
Along with acknowledging NUSA’s 30th Anniversary, “Celebrating Neighborhood Diversity” was the theme of the 2005 Neighborhoods, USA Conference held in Sacramento, California. The conference included 60 workshops, 14 Neighborhood Pride Tours. The City of Sacramento, the County of Sacramento, and the California State Railroad Museum all provided great venues for their food filled evening receptions. Keynote speakers at this year’s conference were Lawrence Edward Carter, Sr., Reverend Alfreddie Johnson, and Beverly A. Scott. The 30th Anniversary of NUSA was celebrated during the four day event with a memorabilia booth, 30 year anniversary NUSA pins were made available to all that were in attendance, anniversary cake was served at the Friday Awards Luncheon, along with a slide video of past conferences. Participants in attendance included our neighbors from 30 or so states, Canada and Japan.
2004 - Hollywood, Florida
The NUSA Conference venue was the tropical Five Star Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa located right next to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. “Bridging Cultures in Our Communities” was the theme of the 29th annual conference. Hospitality being a way of living in Hollywood the 942 participants were treated to a downtown street fair, a rich cultural Mayor’s Reception and an evening of entertainment and strolling on the broadwalk where participants from 33 States and Canada networked and mingled with the locals along side the ocean. In addition, to the numerous well organized social events, participants chose from 40 different workshops and 20 neighborhood pride tours that traveled to the tri-county area to showcase south Florida. Derrick Rose, Keynote Speaker kept the audience captivated with his magic show as he spoke about such topics as communicating and building good relationships relating to issues we all face in our neighborhoods and communities. Thank you to all who traveled to the tropical paradise and allowed us to share our Hollywood hospitality!
2003 - Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga was selected to host the NUSA 2003 Conference on Neighborhood Concerns based on its nationally recognized strengths in neighborhood revitalization. The 2003 conference was large with more than 80 workshops, 37 neighborhood tours, and many special events attracting 936 paid registrations. Another NUSA first was the inclusion of two day-long institutes on community organizing and organizational development. There were over 60 people serving on the local conference in Chattanooga, a wonderful indicator of the local dedication to host this event. The conference in Chattanooga provided an opportunity for people from all locations, sectors, and levels of society to discuss the pressing issues of the times, share experiences, and offer encouragement or assistance to each other.
2002 - Houston, Texas
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the NUSA 2002 conference was no exception. More than 1,500 neighborhood leaders “Waltzed Across Texas” through more than 60 dynamic workshops, and more exhibitors than you could shake a stick at. We showed off real Houston hospitality with 36 Neighborhood Pride tours – each one demonstrating what makes Houston a great place to be. While all the classes and events kept our visitors hopping, they really got on their feet to cheer our Keynote Speaker, the Reverend Kirbyjon Caldwell. As Senior Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, and President of the church’s Pyramid CDC, he wowed the audience with his VCR principles or urban development: V (Vision) C (Change) and R (Resources). We send a big ole “Thank You” to our visitors who gave us a chance to show off our great hometown. And, a tip of the Stetson to the hundreds of Houstonians who volunteered to help out, y’all really went the extra mile!
2001 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1200 neighborhood leaders from across North America, Japan and the United Kingdom came to Pittsburgh May 23-26. Participants included neighborhood residents, nonprofit staff and volunteers, public sector officials, private sector representatives and youth. “This conference was an excellent opportunity to learn how other communities are addressing common issues and concerns, as well as to highlight all the great things we’re doing well in Pittsburgh neighborhoods,” said Mayor Tom Murphy. The conference opened with a UPMC/NUSA Town Meeting on Sustainable Communities and continued over the next two days with 70 workshop sessions, 20 Neighborhood Pride Tours and a chance to “Experience Pittsburgh” on the Ultra Violet Loop, a community-sponsored shuttle that took visitors to all of the city’s hottest night spots.
2000 - Phoenix, Arizona
Besides celebrating NUSA’s 25th Anniversary in the Valley of the Sun, NUSA 2000, From Tradition to Tomorrow, was a unique success in that it was the result of a number of partnerships. The Arizona cities joined forces to present a conference rich in Southwestern history and innovative direction for the future. The widespread diversity of these cities provided 27 outstanding Neighborhood Pride Tours. The conference offered gracious hospitality and well organized events and featured 50 adult workshops and a special youth track of 11 workshops. Attended by nearly 1800, the conference began with presentation of a 25th Anniversary Founders Award to Howard Hallman. Highlight of the conference was the enjoyment of Southwestern cuisine at a lively evening fiesta, complete with Native American dancers in the Phoenix Civic Plaza. Many attendees were heard to comment they would be returning to these sunny cities for future vacation enjoyment.
1999 - Madison, Wisconsin
NUSA ’99 Building Neighborhoods Block by Block Conference was a resounding success attended by over 1250 people. The three-day conference included 90 workshops and featured conference speakers Greg Watson, Executive Director of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and John McKnight, author of “Building Communities from the Inside Out”. Participants attended one of 16 Neighborhood Pride Tours and enjoyed the wonderful scenery Madison had to offer.
1998 - Portland, Oregon
The great northwest territory became the focus of “Soaring to New Heights” for more than 1100 participants who converged on the City of Portland and surrounding communities. This host city insured that everyone enjoyed themselves with a multitude of diverse workshops; dynamic speakers like Oregon’s former Governor Barbara Roberts and Charlotte Brandon, President of the NBA Mothers Association; and an ending gala that all would remember. The city’s outstanding hospitality was highlighted in its delightful receptions and the many neighborhood tours and dinners hosted throughout the region. NUSA ’98 was also the beginning of a new dimension of the NUSA conference with the establishment of a Youth Track for those between the ages of 12 and 18. A collaborative effort was made with youth advisors and others to begin mentoring young persons in neighborhood issues.
1997 - Albany, New York
1997 marked the 200th anniversary as the Capital City of New York State. How fitting to have hosted "NUSA '97: Capitalizing on Neighborhoods" during Albany's Bicentenary celebration. Rich in history, architecture and distinct neighborhoods, Albany welcomed over 560 delegates from the nation. Featured Speakers included two of the nation's foremost authorities on preserving the environment and Neighborhood geography issues: Donald J. Borut, Executive Director of the National league of Cities and James Howard Kuntsler, author and regular contributor to the New York Times Sunday Magazine. 37 workshops were presented by speakers from all over the country with such topics as "Rat on a Rat" and "Empowering Communities through Music and Arts." The highlight of the conference was the Neighborhood Pride Tours where delegates got a real "taste" of Albany's neighborhoods and neighbors. Many of those attending had never been to Albany before, and commented about the city's striking architecture and presence of history throughout downtown. NUSA '97 was a great experience for both delegates and hosts.
1996 - Little Rock, Arkansas
NUSA '96 was an exciting and productive experience for 914 conferees who came from across the nation and the world to meet their global neighbors in Little Rock, Arkansas on May 22-25, 1996. The conference theme, "Neighborhoods, the Fabric of Our Communities," was "woven" into every aspect of this 3-day gathering of neighborhood residents, both public and private sector attendees and others interested in improving their communities through the sharing of information. Composed of neighbors and city employees, the LOC spent endless hours in committee/sub-committees working out details of workshops, tours and exhibits. The hard work paid off. The quality of speakers at this conference was unsurpassed. The special attention that was given to detail in amenities and exhibits created a conference that conformed in all aspects to its theme. Countless compliments were received on the workshops and tours. Corporate sponsors were outstanding in their generosity. NUSA '96 was proclaimed by many of its attendees as the finest NUSA conference ever.
1995 - Birmingham, Alabama
In the 13 years since the last NUSA Conference was held in Birmingham, the "Magic City" has undergone many positive changes. The theme of the 1995 conference. "Reaching Common Ground Through Strong Neighborhoods", reflected the progress Birmingham has made through its strong Citizen Participation Program. Each workshop was carefully chosen to illustrate the vital role that neighborhood organizations play in the shaping of their cities' futures. The atmosphere of serious dialogue and exchange of ideas was balanced with several fun activities, including a trip to the Birmingham Race Course, neighborhood tours, and a Farewell Gala/Dance. Many of those attending the conference were first time visitors to Birmingham, but they promised to come back to sample more of the traditional southern hospitality combined with a diverse metropolitan environment.
1994 - Pasadena, California
Even an earlier earthquake couldn't stop this host city from sponsoring "Neighborhoods Achieving Pride From Diversity". Pasadena "Crown of the Valley", brought together over 550 "neighbors" from 33 states, Japan and Canada to share common ideas and challenges. Highlights included keynote speaker, Rae Franklin James, Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, who spoke about neighborhoods needing to be "building blocks for developing public policy". also speaking was Michael Josephson, founder of the Character Counts Coalition who brought an unusual blend of theory and pragmatism to the issue of ethics & neighborhoods. Pasadena showed its diversity through 70 workshops, 16 neighborhood pride tours, and the creation of a large neighborhood mural with one vision expressed" A neighborhood without pride is one without a future.
1993 - Jackson, Mississippi
Southern hospitality was everywhere but most evident at Millsaps College, the l8th Conference Site. Conferees were inspired by a very special welcome invocation delivered by Dolphus Weary, President of Mendenhall Ministries and author of "I Ain't Never Coming Back", profiling his experiences with l960's rural South racism. After workshops, catfish, and a visit to the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum, attendees were invited to complete their "Southern Exposure" with singing and dancing in the streets during the annual arts and music festival" Jubilee! JAM".
1992 - Anchorage, Alaska
"Wild about Neighborhoods" demonstrated to conference goers that even in the wilds of Alaska the same challenges and solutions for neighborhoods apply. A highlight of the conference was the adoption of the Neighborhood Bill of Rights by the NUSA membership. Attendees experienced many varied neighborhoods, cultures and native foods during the neighborhood dinners and tours. The climax of the conference as the Alyeska Barbeque and Salmon Bake.
1991 - Memphis, Tennessee
Taking advantage of its rich musical heritage, Memphis sponsored a "Neighborhood Jam Session" with workshop titles from local hits such as "Love Me Tender" for a session on neighborhood initiatives. The keynote speaker, Dr. William Ferris, Director of the Center For Study of Southern Culture, spoke and sang his way into the hearts of participants. Over 300 people experienced Memphis hospitality which included a trip on a Mississippi steamboat.
1990 - Fort Worth, Texas
Flooding did not stop the NUSA conference in this western town which still has cowboys, stockyards, and processing plants. Fort Worth had done several successful workshops for its own activists, therefore it was well prepared to share its successes nationally with an enthusiastic cadre of volunteers planning the conference.
1989 - Seattle, Washington
The Pacific Northwest again welcomed NUSA with Seattle highlighting its excellent planning and recycling efforts. A city-wide park tour was well received and salmon was prepared in the original Native American style in a historic setting. Harry Boyte, the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Project for the University of Minnesota, delivered an address entitled "Community Organizations; Regaining the Initiative." The Board established a new award called NUSA Notables to honor organizations or people who support the efforts of neighborhood volunteers.
1988 - Roanoke, Virginia
Southern hospitality prevailed in this railroad crossing city in the hills of western Virginia. With the smaller town setting many personal alliances were forged and contacts made, both among conference participants and local volunteers. Neighborhood potlucks were a highlight of this conference, an important part of all subsequent conferences. The board instituted the independent publication of "NUSA News" to be mailed quarterly to members.
1987 - San Antonio, Texas
A Texas barbecue and river front hotel location contributed to an enjoyable introduction to this historic city which contains so many nationalities. Neighborhood tours featured cultural diversity and lively fiesta was enjoyed by all. Mayor Henry Cisneros gave a powerful address to the group. Workshops focused on such issues as immigration and cultural integration.
1986 - St. Paul, Minnesota
This city has one of the most sophisticated neighborhood involvement programs in the United States and their conference highlighted the many achievements of citizens in St. Paul and its twin city, Minneapolis. This was the first conference to include Neighborhood Dinners. Some attendees went to see one of the last "Prairie Home Companion" shows. the keynote speaker was the dynamic Ernesto Cortes, Jr., a Mac Arthur fellow. There was a lively panel of former neighborhood activists, who had subsequently entered the political area, moderated by Neal Peirce.
1985 - Newark, New Jersey
This conference showcased a city attempting to regain its sense of community after it was racked with riots. The 10th anniversary of NUSA was celebrated with style. Keynote speaker Franklin Thomas, President of the Ford Foundation, stressed the importance of self-help in dealing with urban issues.
1984 - Tacoma, Washington
Neighborhood of the Year awards were instituted at this conference, at the suggestion of the conference coordinator. It was decided to make this part of each NUSA conference because of the positive sharing of community organizing successes. A boat cruise in the foggy sound and a Native American celebration were highlights. In subsequent Board meetings NUSA contracted for it first part-time staff and pursued tax exempt status.
1983 - Cincinnati, Ohio
Partially because of a large turn-out from Birmingham, this conference was the largest ever. A riverboat cruise was one of the highlights. Neal Pierce, Washington Post columnist, addressed the group, stating that neighborhoods are centers of vitality from which change could take place nationally. A conference report was produced, and a profit was given to NUSA because of local corporate donations covering conference costs.
1982 - Birmingham, Alabama
The largest conference to date was held in this city noted for its southern hospitality and barbecued ribs. There were mini-courses on economic development and self-help, and neighborhood tours were conducted. Dr. Roger Albrandt addressed issues neighborhoods would face under the Reagan administration. Subsequent Board meetings struggled with this issue as federal funding cuts impacted larger segments of society.
1981 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Hispanic and Native American cultures enriched this conference, which highlighted the neighborhood planning process mini-courses focused on neighborhood economics and leadership development. Enterprise zones were advocated by keynote speaker, Jeff Noah. The name of the organization was officially changed from National Conference of Neighborhood Concerns to Neighborhoods, USA at this conference.
1980 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The conference was held at the University of Pittsburgh and featured mini-courses where college credits were given to those wishing it. Action Housing, Inc. co-sponsored the sessions. There was much discussion of issues such as unemployment affecting inner-city livability, their house painting project, and institutional growth issues. A quilt project celebrating Pittsburgh was highlighted during the Mayor's reception.
1979 - Wichita, Kansas
The most important issues addressed were the l980 census, crime prevention, and the citizen participation process as it impacts decision-making. The Steering Committee became the Board of Directors, adopting financial procedures and an annual budget. A definition of membership was achieved after much discussion. Also, a statement of purpose was adopted and the organization was incorporated in Washington, D.C. as a non-profit group.
1978 - Portland, Oregon
Approximately 250 people, with strong representation from the west coast, attended this conference which highlighted neighborhood volunteers. The high level of participation caused the Steering Committee to realize the importance of regional conference locations. Portland had received a HUD grant to produce a videotape of the proceedings to be used as an education tool in various cities. Joseph McNeely, keynote speaker, address the needs of low-income residents of the nation's neighborhoods. The Steering committee dealt later with structure and By-Laws issues.
1977 - Jacksonville, Florida
The conference highlighted neighborhood tours, discussion of the Community Block Grant Program and citizen participation. Monsignor Geno Baroni was the keynote speaker. About l50 people attended from 58 communities in 3 states. A new Steering Committee, formed to plan the next conference, also spent time deciding whether or not to formalize the organization.
In the Beginning... 1976 - Kansas City, Missouri
Neighborhoods, USA (originally National Conference of Neighborhood Concerns) was formed by two neighborhood activists: JudyLafoon of Kansas City and Howard Hallman of Washington, D.C. Mr. Hallman, having received a Ford Foundation Grant to study decentralization of city services into neighborhoods, wrote several cities, inviting them to a workshop on neighborhood advisory councils. Ms. Lafoon agreed to host the sessions in Kansas City and they organized a three day conference which featured neighborhood tours and workshops. The fee for the conference was $25.
About 70 people attended the workshop from 4l cities. They heard Howard Hallman deliver the keynote speech: "The Neighborhood Council Movement." It was the consensus of those in attendance that there be: l) institution of an information exchange bulletin, 2) commitment to have another conference in May, l977, and 3) rather than the formation of a trade or professional organization, the establishment of a Steering Committee composed of volunteers whose purpose was to plan the following year's conference.