Our History

“Don’t move, improve!” — Anne Devenney

Founded in 1974 the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition is a grassroots social justice organization that organizes residents to fight for long-term solutions to the problems in our community. The Coalition unites the Northwest Bronx communities and a youth organization, Sistas and Brothas United (SBU), in an effort to influence the most important decisions that are made about our neighborhoods; delivery of government services, private investment patterns, and major land use considerations.

The Coalition empowers everyday, ordinary people to take ownership of the community campaigns that have renewed life in the Bronx. Leaders of the Coalition have valuable lessons to teach other community organizations on how to win on a variety of issues ranging from affordable housing to improving local schools to passing national banking legislation. When community leaders talk about living in the Bronx in the 1970′s, they tell stories of entire neighborhoods abandoned. Fires broke out night after night leaving thousands of people homeless each year as absentee landlords sought quick insurance payouts for their buildings. Local community leaders seethed with anger at how the City had abandoned their communities to drugs, crime and neglect.

Courageous voices rose from within the Bronx, voices not silenced by the raging fires and destruction. In 1974 the local Catholic Churches, led by Bishop Ahern, called together pastors and community leaders to launch the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. The Coalition proved to be the voice for community revitalization, launching direct action campaigns that won the creation or renovation of tens of thoasands of units of affordable housing to replace the apartment buildings that had been lost.

“I admire the NWBCCC’s tenacity, commitment and success. The Coalition helps the corporate sector and government understand the needs of Bronx communities and the Coalition proposes specific solutions to community problems. They have demonstrated amazing staying power through changing times-staying true to their mission of putting neighborhood people at the center of community development.” -Mark Willis, Chase Bank.

As the Bronx has changed over the years, so has the Coalition. The Coalition has restructured to meet the needs of the community and has expanded to do more institutional organizing, while remaining true to the mission of its founders. The Coalition has consolidated nine neighborhood associations into three Regions and uses a broad-based organizing style.