Archives for March 2014

Now accepting workshop proposals

Posted March 31, 2014 at 12:32 PM

The Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference Planning Committee is now accepting 90 minute workshop proposals for presentations at the 15th Annual Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference scheduled for September 18-19, 2014 at the Holiday Inn Downtown Lynchburg in Lynchburg, VA. The theme for this year’s conference is Neighborhoods Reaching for a Better Tomorrow.

Proposals should focus on the theme and be submitted using the following format as a guide:

Workshop Information:

  • Title
  • Description (50-60 words maximum as this will be used to prepare the conference registration and program booklets)
  • Extended description - up to 300 words - including learning objectives
  • Session Format (i.e. Debate, panel discussion, lecture, etc.)
  • Audiovisual Equipment to be used
  • Presenters Bio
  • Topic area being addressed

Presenters Information:

  • Name / title
  • Company / Organization
  • Address, City, State, Zip
  • Phone: Daytime, Evening, Fax
  • Email Address
  • Would you like comments from your conference workshop from attendees?
    Yes___ No___

Workshops will be held on Thursday, September 18, 2014 or Friday, September 19, 2014. Presenters must be available the entire day until actual workshop time is confirmed. Presenters must have handouts (50) for participating attendees. Presenters are urged to register for the conference which entitles them to all conference benefits including meals and workshops. If registered, presenters are required to pay their own conference related fees including lodging, travel and any meals not covered by the conference registration.

Please address your proposal and mail to:

Brittany A Bailey, VSNC Workshop Chair
City of Norfolk
Huntersville Neighborhood Service Center
830 Goff Street
Norfolk, VA 23504
or email it to:

Also please feel free to email Brittany with any questions you may have.

Proposals are due by May 2, 2014.

Submissions received after the deadline or with missing information may not be considered.

2014 Welcome Keynote Speaker: Anwar Saleem

Posted March 27, 2014 at 1:30 AM

Anwar SaleemAnwar Saleem is the Executive Director of H Street Main Street, Inc., a position he has held since 2007. Mr. Saleem founded this non-profit organization in 2002 to guide the revitalization of an important, and long-neglected, neighborhood commercial corridor in Washington D.C. He served as chairman of the Board of Directors until taking the direct responsibility for the delivery of commercial revitalization and business retention services as executive director. Mr. Saleem’s interest in H Street NE began long before 2002. He has owned a hair salon on the street since 1989 and has purchased several buildings over the years. A native Washingtonian, Mr. Saleem grew up in the surrounding neighborhoods and remembers the street in its heyday.

The economic growth strategy that Mr. Saleem developed has resulted in more than 2,600 new jobs on the H Street corridor. Through direct recruitment and partnerships, he helped to attract more than 256 new businesses to H Street NE. He has developed alliances with DC Government officials which bring substantial resources into H Street, including a leg in the new streetcar system and Tax Increment Financing. As a small business owner himself, Mr. Saleem understands the challenges that independent entrepreneurs encounter. He has helped business owners successfully apply for grants and loans to upgrade storefronts. Increasing H Street’s marketability has been a priority for Mr. Saleem. He led the rebranding of the commercial district into an arts and entertainment district. He created the H Street Main Street's Clean Team, which removes debris, graffiti, and snow to create a more appealing and safer environment for business clients and the residential community.

Mr. Saleem's commitment to marketing and promotion includes the annual H Street Festival. Attendance has grown from 5,000 people in 2007 to more than 100,000 in 2013. For many corridor businesses, the Festival-generated revenue is equivalent to the retail "Black Friday" that larger commercial districts experience. The event was award Best City Festival (Washington City Paper) for 2011, 2012 and 2013. With a commitment to future generations, Mr. Saleem has annually recruited, hired, and mentored DC students in summer work-and-learn programs.

Under Mr. Saleem's leadership, H Street Main Street has become a commercial revitalization success story. The organization won a Great American Main Street Award in 2013. It was ranked by USA Today as #1 amongst the 10 most up and coming neighborhoods in the America. Forbes Magazine named H Street NE one of the “hippest corridors” in 2012. The H Street Festival, which Mr. Saleem organizes, received a Best of Washington Award in 2012 and 2013.

Mr. Saleem continues to work as a volunteer in civic, advocacy, and youth development organizations that strengthen communities in Washington, D.C., his hometown.

Recognition and Honors

  • Certified Main Street Manger, from the National Main Street Center (2010)
  • Livable Walkable Award, from Council member Tommy Wells (2013)
  • DC Humanities Council Award (2013)
  • Certificate of Appreciation from Mayor Vincent Gray (2013)
  • Excepted the Great American Main Street Award in 2013
  • Awarded Outstanding Summer Youth Employment Program Provider (2013)

2014 Luncheon Keynote Speaker: Dr. Basil I. Gooden

Posted March 27, 2014 at 1:30 AM
Dr. Basil I. Gooden

Basil Gooden currently serves as the State Director of USDA Rural Development for the Commonwealth of Virginia having been recently appointed to this position by President Obama in April 2014. Prior to this position, he served as the Principal Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development having been appointed to this position in May 2002 by former Governor Mark Warner and re-appointed by Governor Tim Kaine. In this position, his primary administrative responsibilities included strategic management and planning, technology advancement, and minority procurement initiatives. Additionally, his work focused on community and economic development, home ownership initiatives and coordinating the annual Governor’s Housing Conference. The Department, which has an annual budget of more than $100 million and 140 employees, provides community development and housing program support to communities across the Commonwealth.

Some of his previous professional experiences include working four years as a Legislative Assistant for a U.S. Congressman and receiving a Congressional Fellowship to work for a U.S. Senator. Prior to assuming his current position, Basil worked at Virginia Tech where he served as the Coordinator of Outreach and Community Relations. In that capacity, Basil worked to increase the number of minority faculty, staff and students at the university. In 1999, Basil worked as an Extension Specialist with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service where he provided leadership in a statewide community development research initiative. Through this initiative, he worked with local extension units and agents to assess the community needs and issues in localities in Virginia.

Basil is a native of Buckingham County, Virginia where he and his family still own and operate a cattle farm. As a youth, Basil was extremely involved in many Extension related activities that focused on crop production, livestock and 4-H activities. He continues to be very active in numerous civic and community based organizations.

Basil received a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Tech and holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Syracuse University. Additionally, he is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a Master of Public Health (MPH) and a Ph.D. in Social Work in 1998.