Illustration by Suhita Shirodkar

The community of Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace, including the Olinder and Bonita/McKinley neighborhoods, envision replacing a rail line east of campus with a neighborhood pathway (illustration by Suhita Shirodkar).

MetLife Foundation honors CommUniverCity San José, City of San José Strong Neighborhoods Initiative and San José Police Department at November 4th service event

Dayana Salazar (CommUniverCity), (408) 924-5854
Julia Ryan (LISC), (212) 455-1618
Sgt. Jason Dwyer (SJPD), (408) 409-5339

SAN JOSÉ, Calif.  – An innovative partnership between CommUniverCity San José and the San José Police Department that has reduced crime, eliminated blight and renewed economic vitality in several neighborhoods is being recognized on Friday, November 4, 2011 with a national MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award.

A public award celebration will be held at 8 a.m. during Friday’s kickoff of San José State University’s 2011 Day of Service on the lawn in front of Tower Hall. An estimated 1,000 students, faculty and staff will remove graffiti, improve landscaping and otherwise beautify neighborhoods surrounding the campus later in the day. Councilmember Sam Liccardo (District 3) is scheduled to speak. Members of the media are invited to attend.

“I’d like to thank the MetLife Foundation for recognizing our unique and successful partnership,” said Mayor Chuck Reed. “This honor is a testament to the hard work of our dedicated police force, the commitment of our partners at San José State University and the numerous residents who volunteer their time to build a stronger and safer neighborhood.”

The San José award winners were selected from a pool of more than 700 applicants for one of 10 MetLife Foundation honors, which specifically recognizes their creative efforts to integrate policing with economic development. CommUniverCity will receive $20,000 to advance its public safety partnership with the San José Police Department.

The award is funded by MetLife Foundation – which has long supported neighborhood-based efforts to tackle crime and improve safety – and is administered by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), whose national Community Safety Initiative promotes strategic community development and policing through creative partnerships.

“Collaboration between community-based groups and police departments can reduce crime, stimulate housing and other development, and improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “These partners in San José present an exemplary model for groups nationwide facing similar challenges and opportunities. We are pleased to join LISC in recognizing and sharing their impressive work.”

That work includes the transformation of an abandoned railroad site known for illegal dumping, drug dealing and other criminal activity into an attractive, safe community. Infrastructure improvements orchestrated by the City of San José Strong Neighborhoods Initiative were key to the change, including streetscape upgrades and a shopping center renovation. KB Homes built more than 100 new homes utilizing principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, an approach which honored the community’s desire to bridge a historical divide between the McKinley and Olinder neighborhoods. With contributions by many public and private partners, both old and new residents are now united behind a vision for a safe and integrated community.

“Congratulations to our dedicated police force and CommUniverCity for their innovation in community policing and their commitment to safe neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Sam Liccardo.

“Strong partnerships are at the heart of community policing,” noted Chief Moore. “The San José Police Department has a long tradition of working with our community members to solve crime and eliminate neighborhood conditions that lead to crime. We are proud to be recognized for our efforts in working with the community to make San José a safe place to live, work and learn.”

From 2008 to 2010, the partners’ target area experienced a 17% decrease in overall crime incidents, a 34% decline in gang-related incidents and $4.8 million in public investment.

“This recognition from MetLife Foundation and LISC is a powerful validation of the positive, long lasting impact the collaborative work of residents, university students, and City staff has had on our local communities,” said Dayana Salazar, executive director of CommUniverCity.

“The dramatic change in the McKinley and Olinder neighborhoods proves that community groups, the City, and police can turn neighborhood dreams into reality when they work together, integrate their strategies, and share resources. In this case, we can clearly see how strong partnerships really do help build strong neighborhoods,” said Stephanie Forbes, executive director of Bay Area LISC. “We are thrilled to join MetLife Foundation in recognizing the creative and successful work of all of the CommUniverCity partners in making our city a better place to live and work.”


Event Information: San José State University Day of Service Kickoff with the MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award presentation
Location: San José State University Tower Lawn (in front of Tower Hall)
Date/Time: Friday, November 4, 8 a.m.

About CommUniverCity: CommUniverCity is a partnership between a local community in San José (community), San José State University (university), and the City of San José (city). CommUniverCity builds community by engaging residents and students in service learning projects that accomplish neighborhood-driven goals. Established in 2005, CommUniverCity San José has engaged 33,551 residents, over 7,754 students and 1,295 corporate volunteers have invested more than 105,543 hours in community service valued at over $2 million. More information.

About the City of San José: From its founding in 1777 as California’s first city, San José has been a leader, driven by its spirit of innovation. Today, San José stands as the largest city in Northern California and the Capital of Silicon Valley – the world’s leading center of innovation. The city, the 10th largest in the U.S., is committed to remaining a top-ranked place to do business, to work and to live. More information.

About LISC: Bay Area Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) works to make neighborhood dreams a reality by working with cities, residents, nonprofit organizations, and key public and private partners to build the capacity of community revitalization efforts. As part of LISC’s national operations, the Community Safety Initiative supports strategic alliances between police and community developers to reduce crime, disorder and fear in troubled neighborhoods; it has administered the MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards since 2002. More information.

About MetLife Foundation: MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to carry on MetLife’s longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. The Foundation is committed to building a secure future for individuals and communities worldwide. Through programs focusing on empowering older adults, preparing young people and building livable communities, MetLife Foundation increases access and opportunities for people of all ages. Since it was established, MetLife Foundation has made more than $500 million in grants and $75 million in program related investments. More information.