The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation along with Greater Camden Partnership and other Camden organizations, funded a vacant lot stabilization program aimed at addressing one of the residents’ top priorities. Recognizing that clearing and greening vacant lots encourages further investment in community revitalization efforts, the Soul Foundation offered to fund a “match grant” opportunity.
This funding enabled the mobilization of hundreds of volunteers through the governments United We Serve website for the Camden Community lot stabilization program they named GreenUP, which cleaned and greened more than 81 lots (141,000 square feet of vacant land). The final phase of the GreenUP program had volunteers planting shrubs and more than 50 trees in the Lanning Square neighborhood on October 19th, 2009.
This first commitment to Camden’s neighborhoods preceded Jon Bon Jovi’s announcement that the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation will invest in affordable housing projects in Camden with two long time community cornerstones, St. Joseph Carpenter Society and Heart of Camden. Both of these organizations have been hard at work for many years improving the housing stock in Camden and also offering many necessary supportive services to assure success in homeownership.
Photograph: Pilar Hogan from St. Joseph Carpenter Society, Helene Pierson from Heart of Camden, and Jon Bon Jovi
Through an extensive exploration with residents of the community a human capital plan was developed to accompany the redevelopment plan. The Cooper Lanning community named “Community Stabilization” – the vacant land stabilization, community gardens, improved housing stock, and the creation of affordable housing – as a priority. We are pleased to join Camden residents and participate in both the lot greening and the development of affordable housing.