Happy birthday, ReCity! So much has happened in your first year

Executive Director Rob Shields at the ReCity hub in Durham, North Carolina. ((Staff photo by Taylor Mabrey/UNC)


Durham’s combination of more than three dozen non-profits, faith-based organizations, and mission-driven businesses has turned one year old.

ReCity Network was formally started in 2016 after merely being a concept back in 2014. This network, a collaborative space, works to promote creativity, efficiency, innovation, and inspiration within growing businesses in Durham.

The hub is 12,000 square feet of offices, meeting areas, and social areas. Since there is such a variety of business going on in the building, quite a bit of co-working goes on as well as meetings and larger events. ReCity has expanded a great amount and continues to

As ReCity closed in on its first year as a successful community builder in September, and now it is able to reflect on its accomplishments thus far. ReCity is home to more than 40 partners– church groups, non-profits, entrepreneurs– that continue to work daily toward their goals.

“It’s this really cool message of hope and unity,” Executive Director Rob Shields said when describing ReCity.

ReCity recognizes its partners and which categories they fall under. (Staff photo by Taylor Mabrey/UNC)

Shields has been encouraged by the growth of ReCity, and how it exceeded his expectations. ReCity began with only four partners, and they now have over 40. Shields also mentioned how the number of their partners does not matter, but the quality of the relationships built and progress made.

Out of these partnerships, 53 percent are minority led, which is one of the many reasons why ReCity is such a representation of the community it serves.

Shields said it is the “power of proximity” that has made ReCity so successful.

In this incredible year, Shields said, ReCity, along with its partners and community guests, has put on over 150 events for the area. These have included forums on issues, regular meetings, and even worship services for the community.

Through the Network’s various partners and more than 400 connections, it is able to serve over 1,000 Durham residents in various ways. These innovators come up with solutions to the problems that affect the community and they do so with creative collaboration. Some examples of these organizations include Housing for New Hope, Durham Cares, New Durham, and many more.

Shields described ReCity as being like a neighborhood, which is one of the things that makes it so unique. For example, two partners, Partners for Youth Organization (PYO) and StepUp, have been able to work together to create success for individuals.

“Being in the same space gives you opportunities,” StepUp Employment Counselor and Development Coordinator Emily Dao-Forrester said.

StepUp is an organization that seeks to transforms lives through employment training, and they are celebrating a graduation ceremony on Wednesday. PYO is an organization whose aim is to connect Durham’s youth with economic and educational opportunities. Two of the program graduates were a part of PYO, and without being able to work so closely with other organizations, these two graduates

ReCity is a creative workspace for its nonprofits, church organizations, and other entrepreneurs to use. (Staff photo by Taylor Mabrey/UNC)

would not have been impacted by this program.

As this first year comes to a close, it is only creating a new beginning. ReCity has started digging deeper into youth disconnection, which was a huge reason the Network began, and it seems as if the roots lie in systemic poverty.

ReCity is an all-purpose institution and it has revamped itself to promote equality and justice for all, and they are doing this by looking at factors such as housing, employment, and education.

Housing for New Hope’s Nigel Brown said ReCity is “an atmosphere of motivated minds,” and he enjoys coming to work because it’s a productive and progressive place.

“I don’t have to walk into a negative situation because I’m not around negative people,” Brown said.

Only a year old, ReCity has already created a large impact on Durham, and it appears to have a bright future ahead. There is a plethora of opportunities with it, and there is so much change to be made through it.

They have plans for the future; plans to disrupt systemic poverty, plans to continue collaborations within the community, and plans to further put the people they want to help as their top priority. We can’t wait to see what they do next.

 

Taylor Mabrey is a journalism student at the UNC-CH School of Media and Journalism. This fall she is serving as a photographer-writer for the VOICE.