Help Support NECIC’s Work

Please consider giving to NECIC’s Richland Gives Campaign here. Your generosity is greatly appreciated and will help NECIC continue to be a force for positive change in the North End and throughout the City of Mansfield. Thank You!

Click the image below to make a donation:

Featured Video: Ribbon Cutting

Save The Date: Create A Composter

North End Matters Newsletter

In this issue we catch up with the North End Talented Ten (NETT) interns and find out what they’ve been up to since there time with NECIC. Click here to read all about it!

In this issue we catch up with the North End Talented Ten (NETT) interns and find out what they’ve been up to since there time with NECIC. Click here to read all about it!

Congratulations Leona Smith!

NECIC would like to recognize and commend Leona Smith for earning Housing Development Finance Professional (HDFP) Certification from the National Development Council (NDC). HDFP Certification is a professional credential given to individuals who successfully complete NDC’s intensive development finance training series. Congratulations Leona!

Featured Video: North End Farmers Market

The North End

The North End neighborhood of Mansfield, Ohio equates roughly with census tracts 6, 7, & 16. Census tracts 6 & 7 is the region bordered by Trimble Road on its west, North Main Street on its east, Park Avenue West on its south, and Longview Avenue on its north.

Census Tract 16 is the region bordered by Poth Road on the north, S.R. 39/Springmill Street and S.R. 30 on the south, North Trimble Road on the west and Bowman Street on the east.

Our Mission

The mission of the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. is to improve the quality of life for North End residents by identifying, supporting, and connecting local and regional assets and advancing community economic development in Mansfield’s North End.

Our Vision

Community Organizer Jean Taddie presents a 2009 small grant award to young North End community gardeners led by resident Madonna Brock.

NECIC’s vision is “as a result of our efforts over the last 20 years, the North End in 2028 is a community of significant prosperity and innovation. While in 2008, we were considered a drain on the local economy, today we are the leading engine of economic vitality, arts, and positive youth and civic engagement within the city of Mansfield.”

North End Community Economic Development Plan

Over the past three years NECIC has been compiling a North End Community Economic Development Plan. This plan was guided and shaped with input from North End residents and stakeholders and now the time has come to bring the plan full circle. NECIC would like to take this opportunity to present the final draft of the plan which integrates all of the community input we received during our forty-five day review period. From here, the plan will be presented to Mansfield City Council to be formally adopted as part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. While the formal forty-five day public review process is officially over, NECIC is always open to input from residents and other stakeholders. Please take a moment and read the linked Pdf of the plan. Any comments, concerns or critiques are always welcome. Contact Deanna West-Torrence or Tony Chinni at (419) 525-3101 or email feedback Thank you in advance for helping us transform Mansfield’s North End.

View the plan here: North End Community Economic Development Plan 6/11/2010

Hard copies of the plan are also available for review at our office at 199 N. Main Street.


On Tuesday, February 15, 2011 Mansfield City Council unanimously passed bill #11-024, “a resolution supporting the North End Comprehensive Community Economic Development Plan and its recommendations and target areas.” The Board, staff and members of NECIC would like to thank the Administration and City Council for their public support of NECIC’s work and of the recommendations within the North End Comprehensive Plan.

Events Calendar


NECIC Staff: (L-R, Rear Row) Diane Ottolenghi, Tony Chinni, Jean Taddie, Michael Howard; (L-R, Front Row) Leona Smith, Rochelle Jones, Kizzy Williams, and Deanna West-Torrence. Photos by Tracy Graziani, Tog Loft.

Deanna West-Torrence, Founder, and Director of Strategic Development

A longtime resident herself, Deanna West-Torrence found herself returning to the North End neighborhood throughout her life. Each time she returned, she found the same friendly people with lifelong relationships, but the appearance of the neighborhood had changed drastically. The schools were closed, the neighborhood businesses had decreased and the once well-kept houses were deteriorating. At the same time, she found her own family experiencing much of what so many others were facing. Following a divorce, she became a single mother, raising four young children on the North End. In 1999, Deanna began working for a brand new non-profit organization, the Community Health Access Project, inc. (CHAP) that was focused on the high infant mortality and low birth weight rate facing African American women on the North End. She eventually became the Assistant Executive Director of CHAP and the Program Director for the Mansfield CHAP site. During her tenure at CHAP, Deanna was elected to represent the 5th Ward on Mansfield City Council where she served for four years. Upon leaving CHAP in 2004, and City Council, she was hired to lead the Neighborhood Youth Corps (now City’s Department of Regional Community Advancement) at the Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center until NECIC began in 2007. Over the years, Deanna has also served on the Mansfield City School Board, and countless other boards, task forces and advisory committees.

In 2007, Deanna and other residents and community leaders founded the North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC) with a mission to improve the quality of life for North End residents by identifying, supporting and connecting local assets and advancing community economic development in Mansfield’s North End. She has led the organization since its inception and oversees a staff of five. The organization is the first of its kind in the community, utilizing Asset Based Community Development to address longstanding issues in the areas of youth development, housing, leadership, and community involvement. Her broad perspective of the North End is informed, primarily, by her own experience, but is complemented by her public service on City Council and the School board, and from her work in and with the non-profit, youth development, education and business communities.

Deanna attended Rebecca Grubaugh, Creveling and Discovery Schools, Johnny Appleseed Middle School and graduated from Malabar High School in 1987. She then attended the University of Cincinnati and the Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Community Economic Development. Deanna is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership’s African American Leadership Program in 2005, and the Harvard Kennedy School for executive Education in 2011. She has managed local non-profits for more than thirteen years.

Deanna is the proud mother of three adult sons and an adult daughter. Her sons Adam and Taj, live and work in Greenville, South Carolina, and Elijah, is a full time student at North Central State College. Her daughter Maya is a Petty Officer working as a Hospital Corpsman Dental Assistant at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School in Bethesda, Maryland.


Michael Howard, Executive Director

Michael has been involved with NECIC for many years as a member and president of NECIC’s Board of Directors. In 2015, Michael retired as Vice Commander of the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard and became NECIC’s Executive Director. During his time in the Air Guard, Michael administered and supervised over 1200 personnel who provide critical war-fighting and peacetime support to the Community, State and Nation. He received a Bachelor of Arts at Cleveland State University and is a graduate of the USAF Squadron Officer’s School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College from Maxwell AFB. He has been awarded numerous service medals and decorations and was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Ohio State University Mansfield Campus, and the Friendly House.  He has been very active in local community affairs over the last 27 years.  He has previously served on the Board of Directors for the United Way, Mansfield UMADAOP and the Richland County Foundation.


Leona Smith, Office Manager/Volunteer Coordinator

Leona has been involved with NECIC since 2010 when she participated in our North End Talented Ten (NETT) internship program. As a youth intern, Leona learned the ins and outs of non-profit management by job shadowing the Executive Director for six months. Leona’s experience and familiarity with the work of NECIC made her a perfect candidate for the NECIC team and she was hired in 2013.

In addition to Leona providing support to the Executive Director on the day-to-day financial management of the organization, she also supports the elder and small grants programs, and coordinates NECIC volunteers. In June 2015, Leona received certification as a Housing Development Finance Professional (HDFP) from the National Development Council (NDC). HDFP Certification is a professional credential given to individuals who successfully complete NDC’s intensive housing development finance training series.

Leona is a 2009 graduate of Mansfield Senior High School and is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology at North Central State College. She is the proud mother of her son Cameron.


Jean Taddie, Community Garden/Local Foods Program Coordinator

When Jean joined NECIC as a Community Organizer in August 2007, she was responsible for launching NECIC’s elder program, small grant program, and faith-based advisory council.  Jean began working with community gardeners in 2008, serving as a hub for small grant funding, donated garden resources, educational programs, and networking among gardeners. Now known as the Raising Richland Community Garden Network, the group has grown to 25 community and school food gardens and includes hundreds of gardeners.

Since July 2013, Jean has been NECIC’s Community Garden/Local Foods Program Coordinator, responsible for launching NECIC’s North End Local Foods Initiative. Through this initiative, Jean is working to increase economic opportunities for North End residents and improve access to healthy food in the North End, while promoting and supporting locally grown food around the county and region.

Jean is active in our community, and she serves on the Local Foods/Ag Sector, Citizen Action, Earth Stewardship, OSU Extension Advisory, and Richland County Master Gardener Executive Committees, among others.

Jean holds a Bachelors degree in Human Resource Management and a Masters in Communication. Before joining NECIC, she taught public speaking, business writing and other communication classes for 10 years at colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio. Jean has nurtured her own backyard food garden since 1989 and has been a Richland County Master Gardener Volunteer since 2004.


Tony Chinni, Community Development Coordinator

Tony is a 2007 graduate of the Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in European History. Tony joined the NECIC team as an intern during the summer of 2007 at which time he aided the executive director in establishing the nascent organization, and compiled an economic base assessment of Mansfield’s North End. From 2008 to 2011, Tony worked with NECIC staff and consultants to compile The North End Community Economic Development Plan. This document, guided by input from more than three hundred North End residents and stakeholders, articulates NECIC’s vision for the redevelopment of the North End. Tony is the editor of NECIC’s quarterly newsletter North End Matters, he maintains NECIC’s web site and internet presence and oversees the design of all NECIC marketing materials. Tony coordinates research and data collection for a variety of grant and program projects. He is also lead program staff responsible for the Youth Media and Oral History Projects. In 2013, Tony was tapped to lead all of NECIC’s housing related work. He was born and raised in Mansfield and is a 1994 graduate of Mansfield Senior High.


Kizzy Williams, Community Organizer

Kizzy is a life long North End resident, and the proud mother of two daughters: Shantel and Trinity. She is currently pursuing Community Health Worker Certification through the Ohio Board of Nursing. Previously, Kizzy worked in the Health and Science Center at North Central State College, and was a 2014 Summer Intern at NECIC. As an active member of NECIC, Kizzy has volunteered her time to help maintain the parking lot garden at our office, and has pitched in at a number of neighborhood clean ups. She also serves as an executive member of the local chapter of the NAACP and as a member of Community Police Review Board.


Diane Ottolenghi, Community Programs Coordinator

In addition to being a licensed medical massage therapist for over 30 years, Diane is a licensed clinical social worker originally from Columbus. After teaching for the College of Social Work at the Ohio State University on both the Columbus and Mansfield campuses for many years, she became an Americorp VISTA and joined NECIC as part of the Workforce Development Demonstration Project. Focusing specifically on economic opportunity and capacity building in order to increase employment opportunities for low-income individuals, Diane wrote curriculum for job seekers, supervisors and trainers, in addition to researching best practices and current workforce development trends. Upon completion of her VISTA assignment, Diane joined NECIC as a fulltime staff member in July and oversees the many facets of the Community Connectors mentoring program (R.O.A.R.), as well as being active in community events and outreach. Diane’s children continue to inspire her and she is ever so grateful that they have each chosen to live in great cities to visit!


Rochelle Jones, Community Garden Organizer

Rochelle joined NECIC on March 30 as a part-time Garden Organizer.  She is coordinating the Community Garden Grant program, helping with garden education programs, and supporting the organizing efforts of community garden leaders.

Rochelle grew up in her family’s vegetable garden, where she earned her green thumb.  She is a former North End resident and an active community volunteer, as well as an accomplished student of social science.  But most of all, Rochelle is a friendly person who wants to help people grow!


Candace Harrell, Teaching Garden Coordinator

Candace joined NECIC in 2015, just in time for the grand opening of the Blust Avenue Teaching Garden.  The position is one she describes as her “dream job” in that it involves gardening, teaching others to garden, and promoting local, healthy food – all things she is passionate about.

A former North End resident, she now lives on a small farmstead in Richland County where she manages her own large garden with “a little help from the chickens”, but no tractor or tiller.

Prior to joining NECIC, Candace was a freelance writer as well as Reporter and Assistant Editor at Richland Source.  She was also the author of a popular weekly gardening column, “Country Life with Candace”.


AmeriCorps VISTAs

Falon Allen, Local Foods VISTA

North End resident Falon Allen has joined NECIC as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the North End Local Foods Initiative.  After a VISTA training session in Chicago, Falon started her year of service at NECIC on November 9.

As a VISTA member, Falon will be helping NECIC and our community to expand our urban ag and local foods capacity.  She will be helping us to recruit volunteers, build partnerships, set up class curriculum, and create procedures and processes that can be useful for years in the future.

Falon is the founder of the Dazzling Dynamic Divas, a girl’s hip-hop dance and mentoring group. She is an American Heart Association First Aid and CPR Instructor and a certified Community Health Worker.

In addition she is a gardener who has a love for cooking and a passion for arts and crafts.  She even spent three years leading arts and crafts programs at the Friendly House.

Falon said: “I am very involved within my community and believe that we can all make not only the North End community a better place but all of Richland County through positivity, growth, and self-improvement.”


Interns (2015)

Kayt Gerhart, R.O.A.R. Intern

Kayt Gerhart is a 2005 graduate of Lexington high school, where she majored in business through The Pioneer Career and Technology Center. She has an Associates Degree in Culinary Technology from Le Cordon Bleu Institute and ten years of experience in the restaurant business. Kayt is currently a student at The Ohio State University where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. For the past two years, Kayt served as a parent representative on The Richland County Youth and Family Counsel, and she was President elect on the Parent Committee at The North Central State Child Development Center. Kayt first became aware of NECIC’s work when she attended a Social Justice Conference in 2014. Since then, she became involved with NECIC’s community gardening workshops. Kayt joined the NECIC team as a Work Study Student/Intern for The R.O.A.R. Mentoring Program, funded by a Community Connectors Grant through the Ohio Department of Education. She is passionate about life, and committed to changing the world and constantly looking for ways to improve herself and learn how to advocate for others. Kayt is the proud mother of two wonderful daughters Krista, and Sadie.


Board Of Directors


Mary Bolin


Mona Kneuss

Executive Director

Michael Howard


Sam Weiler


Loretta Norris

Board Members

Carol Payton

Beth Reitler

Donald Adley

Dorothy Brightwell

Joseph Mudra

William Jordan


Donating does not necessarily mean making monetary contributions. Through volunteering and community engagement, North End residents can help to improve the community. Engagement can mean attending city council meetings, writing letters to the editor, or any activity that can have a positive effect on the community. For more information about becoming a volunteer please contact or visit our office. Donations can be made through the “Donate” button below or by contacting our office directly.

Tool Shed

NECIC’s first community project was a tool lending library where North End residents come to borrow a wide variety of yard and garden tools. The tool shed operates on the honor system by which residents are expected to “pay it forward” by aiding others in the community. From lawnmowers and snow blowers to hedge trimmers and rakes, the NECIC tool shed has a tool for every season and most yard and garden jobs. All tools are to be returned the same day so plan accordingly. Residents must be 18 years old, provide a photo I.D. and phone number, and supply their own transportation to borrow a tool. Effective May 15, 2012, there is a $5 monthly maintenance fee for all mechanical equipment. All non-mechanical tools are still FREE to use. If tools are used to generate income or used more than once weekly, an additional $2 donation will be requested per visit.


Tool Shed In The News

Elder Program

North End Elders on a special event trip to Cleveland for a Goodtime III Lake Erie Lunch Cruise. (June 28, 2009)

North End residents age 60 and over are invited to join the North End Elder Program, which meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the United Steelworkers Local 169 located at 376 W. Longview Avenue.  The 2nd Tuesday event features speakers on topics of interest to seniors, while the 4th Tuesday event includes social activities:  both include lunch.  The Elder Program has its arms open to all North End seniors, and participants have commented that it is a great way to see old friends, reminisce and pass the time, as well as gain valuable information about important topics to seniors.

The goal of the program is to socialize and educate North End seniors, as well as receive input, news, and updates about the area and its citizens.  To ensure NECIC responds to the concerns of our 60+ residents, a North End Elder has a designated seat on our Board.  The Elder planning team plans all activities and speakers, and requests a small donation for each event.

The Elder Program has grown a great deal since the first meeting held in September 2007.  Guest speakers discussing a wide range of issues are a basic part of the program; neighborhood safety, public education, health-related concerns, and financial planning have been common themes.  In order to combine entertainment with information, the program also supports hands on activities including: bingo, arts and crafts, and line dancing to name a few.

NECIC’s Small Grants Program is proud to support community projects proposed by seniors.  Past activities North End Elders have organized include:  bus trips to Amish Country and a Cuyahoga River/Lake Erie cruise, Pampering Me makeover program with Mansfield Senior High cosmetology students, a slumber party, and a paper product giveaway.

NECIC hopes to further promote our strongest program through more participation of North End seniors and community members.  Traditionally seniors have been important leaders; and a community has looked to their elders for their wisdom, guidance, and historical perspective.  Through increased involvement in community activities and planning, seniors can have a positive impact on the quality of life in the North End.

How can you get involved?

1. Community Engagement

2. Donations

3. Volunteering

Engagement can mean attending city council meetings, writing letters to the editor, or any activity that can have a positive effect on the community.  For more information about becoming a volunteer or contributing a tax-deductible donation, please contact or visit our office.

Call NECIC at 419-525-3101 to reserve your seat at our next luncheon.

Small Grants

North End Small Grants Raising Richland Community Garden Grants

Thank you to everyone who applied for the 2015 round of Raising Richland Community Garden Grants. If you were awarded a grant, download the required summary forms below:

Resident Community Garden Grant Summary Form

Organization Community Garden Grant Summary Form

North End Small Grants

To download a North End Small Grant application Click Here!

Do you have a good idea for your neighborhood? Join with your North End neighbors and apply for a Small Grant of up to $250 to support projects or events that benefit the North End of Mansfield and advance the goals of NECIC’s Community Economic Development Plan. The North End Small Grant program is intended to help connect people, promote neighborhood pride, encourage community involvement, and support volunteerism, while providing a public benefit to the North End community. The Small Grant program helps advance the North End Community Economic Development (CED) Plan, which is a roadmap for the future of Mansfield’s North End. More than 300 residents helped identify the visions and goals for the North End, so applications that address those goals will be given priority (for more details, see the CED Plan, which is posted at:

NECIC Small Grants funds can be used to purchase supplies, etc. in support of projects or events that benefit the North End community. Funding requests must come from either: a minimum of three residents representing three North End households, or a minimum of two organizations (churches, non-profits, service clubs, etc.) that serve the North End and will match NECIC funds dollar-for-dollar.  NECIC has funded more than twenty-one rounds of small grants since the program’s inception in 2007. View a slideshow of previously funded small grant proposals here: Small Grants Slideshow

Have a project or idea?

If you are a North End resident you and your neighbors may be eligible for an NECIC small grant. To fill out an application or for more information please contact Kizzy Williams at (419) 525-3101 or Applications for the Winter round of small grants are due by 4 pm, Wednesday January 13, 2015.

To download an application Click Here!

Simpson Park Area Clean-Up Oct.16, 2010

Sheridan Avenue Clean-Up Sept. 25, 2010

Blue Rose Mission & Providence Baptist Church Home Improvement Workshop Nov. 14, 2010

Centerview Neighborhood Clean-Up June 4, 2011

Children’s Harvest Festival Oct. 28, 2009

North Lake Park Bulb Planting Oct. 24, 2009

Forever FREE

Financial Responsibility Empowerment Enterprise

A project of NECIC’s Faith Based Advisory Council and Leadership Institute

The mission of Forever FREE is to provide a holistic, faith-based collaboration that empowers individuals of all levels of income, situation and circumstance to become budget savvy, financially aware, literate and responsible.  All services will respect the individual’s confidentiality.

Forever FREE provides financial education classes and one-on-one money mentoring for North End residents and members of participating faith-based organizations.  Money mentors build relationships with the people they are mentoring, working with them over time to improve financial know-how.

Mentors come from associated faith-based organizations and each mentoring session is individualized to meet the needs of the participant.  Money mentors utilize OSU Extension’s Master Money Mentor curriculum and have received at least eight hours of training.  Some topics to be covered include, but are not limited to: budgeting, savings, credit cards, credit reports and scores, car loans,and mortgages.

The Faith Based Advisory Council, a network of organizations located in Mansfield’s North End, has provided valuable insight and leadership in addressing the issues most important to citizens of the North End, which is why a member has a permanent place on our board.  Representatives from 28 faith-based and related organizations have participated in the Faith Based Advisory Council, which continues to grow.

Participating Organizations*:

The Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation, NECIC, Mechanics Savings Bank, The Ohio State University Extension Office, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Providence Baptist Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Bethesda Fellowship Ministry Center, and Trinity Gospel Church.

*  This list represents the initial faith-based organizations and community partners for the program.  We anticipate and encourage more organizations to join.  If you would like information on how you or your organization can be a part of Forever FREE or if you’d like to meet with a money mentor or schedule a financial education class for your group, contact Forever FREE at NECIC 419-525-3101.

Automotive Recycling Project

NECIC has partnered with Milliron Auto Parts to inform the community and raise awareness about the importance of recycling junk vehicles in our streets and alley ways. Junk vehicles are not only an eyesore that is prone to vandalism and a potential safety risk to children, they are detrimental to our environment as well.

Milliron Auto Parts is paying between $200 and $350 for these junk vehicles as well as the cost of towing them away. In addition, North End residents can receive an additional $25.00 for their junk vehicles simply by verifying their address is within Mansfield’s North End. It should be noted that in order to turn in a junk vehicle the vehicle’s owner must present an auto title bearing their name. NECIC would like to encourage residents to take full advantage of this opportunity and help beautify the neighborhoods one junk automobile at a time.

For more information call Jason Stoots  at Milliron Auto Parts 419-747-4566.

Photo Gallery

August 2007 - Professor John McKnight visits the newly founded NECIC. A professor of Education and Social Policy, McKnight is the co-founder and co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University. McKnight’s asset-based model of community development is the cornerstone of NECIC’s community development strategy.

February 6, 2008 - Equaziah Jackson and Alexis Jones attend NECIC's first youth event.

February 6, 2008 - North End youth attend NECIC's first youth event.

April 21, 2008 - North End residents fill out housing questionnaires at one of four community development workshops held to gather resident input.

May 10, 2008 - North End residents pitch in during NECIC's first neighborhood clean up.

May 10, 2008 - North End residents pitch in during NECIC's first neighborhood clean up.

May 30, 2008 - NECIC staffers pose with Mansfield Police Officers at the Johns Park Neighborhood Cookout and Small Grant Awards.

May 30, 2008 - A volunteer paints the face of one North End youngster at the Johns Park Neighborhood Cookout and Small Grant Awards.

May 30, 2008 - NECIC Executive Director Deanna West-Torrence and State Representative Jay Goyal pose for a photo at the Johns Park Neighborhood Cookout and Small Grant Awards.

May 30, 2008 - City Councilwoman Pat Hightower chats with Carolyn Caldwell at the Johns Park Neighborhood Cookout and Small Grant Awards.

August 2, 2008 - North End kids play at the NECIC small grant funded Health and Fun Fair on Sherman Place.

August 2, 2008 - A volunteer shares a treat at the NECIC small grant funded Health and Fun Fair on Sherman Place.

August 2, 2008 - Mansfield Fire Fighters share an up close look at their fire engine and equipment with some North End youngsters at the NECIC small grant funded Health and Fun Fair on Sherman Place.

August 7, 2008 - NECIC/Richland County Foundation Summertime Kids program participants hard at work on a youth organizing project.

August 8, 2008 - Fran and Warren Rupp 2008 summer intern Artise Anderson and the newly re-formed North End Youth Corps.

August 27, 2008 - North End Youth Corps performs a neighborhood clean up.

February 28, 2009 - (L-R) Jeff Payton, Barbara Wellington and Carol Payton attend NECIC's Black History Month Community Pride Dinner.

February 28, 2009 - Mansfield Senior High School's Mi Phi Me Step Team performs at NECIC's Black History Month Community Pride Dinner.

August 22, 2009 - North End Youth Corps member Paris Davis helps out at NECIC's Community Block Party.

August 22, 2009 - North Enders enjoy NECIC's Community Block Party.

August 22, 2009 - North Enders enjoy NECIC's Community Block Party.

August 22, 2009 - North Enders enjoy NECIC's Community Block Party.

April 12, 2010 - Facilitator Paul Kemerling leads a session of the NECIC Leadership Institute's Capacity Building Program.

Featured Videos

Mayoral Candidates Night – 10/14/15

Blust Avenue Teaching Garden Ribbon Cutting – 10/8/15

Candidate’s Night and Issues Forum – 9/9/15

North End Farmers Market – 2015

Candidate’s Night and Issues Forum – 10/16/13

Candidate’s Night – 9/11/13

2013 Raising Richland Community Garden Summit:

Jonathan Hull: Beyond the Veggie Patch: Alternative Strategies for Community Gardens

Jim Chatfield – Common Problems in the Vegetable Garden

Doug Schuster – Space Saving Garden Solutions

Fracking Bad For Mansfield

Oral History Project Promo

Fight The Blight – A Tale Of Two Neighbors


Community Tool Shed

The first half of a presentation describing the NECIC’s Comprehensive Plan for the North End.

The second half of a presentation describing the NECIC’s Comprehensive Plan for the North End.

North End elders share the gift of song at their February 24, 2009 gathering.

Click here to see more.

NECIC In The News:

Click the following link for the “Vacant and Overgrown” article from the June 26, 2011 Mansfield News Journal regarding the increase in neighborhood blight in Mansfield: Blight

From the 6/7/11 Mansfield News Journal:

The following is a PDF of a Mansfield News Journal article on the North End Community Economic Development Plan. The recommendations and target areas articulated in the plan received unanimous support by city council on Tuesday, February 15th. This article appeared on Sunday, February 27th. Mansfield News Journal February 27, 2011

The following is a PDF of a Mansfield News Journal article on the neighborhood sector of the Richland County Development Group. NECIC community organizer Jean Taddie and North End resident Matthew Stanfield are interviewed regarding “asset mapping,” community gardening and community development in general. The original story appeared on September 27, 2010.  Mansfield News Journal September 27, 2010

The following story aired Monday, July 27, 2010 on WKYC channel 3 out of Cleveland:

The stories linked below were aired on WMFD, the local Mansfield television station:

Helpful Information

North End Elders on a bus trip to Cleveland for a lunch cruise.

Downloadable documents:

North End Business Directory: Click Here
North End Church Directory: Click Here
Economic Base Assessment of Mansfield’s North End: Click Here

Community Gardens

Are you interested in Community Gardens or eating local food? If so, sign up for our weekly Community Garden Email Newsletter. Stay current with the Raising Richland Community Garden Network for information on garden programs, plant and supply giveaways, grant opportunities, and much more. Sign up here.

Save The Date: Create A Composter

Recipes From The Gardens

Fruits like paw paw, persimmon, serviceberry, and mulberry are native to Richland County and can be used in a variety of ways. Click here for some delicious recipe ideas for native fruits.

Raising Richland Community Garden Grants

Thank you to everyone who applied for the 2015 round of Raising Richland Community Garden Grants. If you were awarded a grant, download the required summary forms below:

Resident Community Garden Grant Summary Form

Organization Community Garden Grant Summary Form

Learn To Build A Water Barrel Stand

Click Here to download step-by-step instructions to construct your own Water Barrel Stand!

For CSIS information on pressure treated lumber see:

Creative Commons License
The Water Barrel Stand Construction Project by The North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Featured Video: North End Farmers Market

Notes From The 2014 Gardens

By Madonna Brock, AmeriCorps VISTA Community Garden Facilitator

Yes We Can! Garden

A Visit with Mr. Dillon

View the whole photo album here.

Grace Episcopal Garden

A Visit with Grace Episcopal

View the whole photo album here.

Roseland Garden

A Visit To Roseland

View the whole photo album here.

Richland Gardens

A Visit to Richland Gardens

View the whole photo album here.

NECIC Garden

NECIC Garden

View the whole photo album here.


A Visit to UMADAOP

View the whole photo album here.

Teach Me Garden

Gardening with Nathan and Argene Washington

View the whole photo album here.

Community Gardening Overview

For a general overview of Community Gardening on the North End and throughout Richland County see our Community Garden Brochure

Community Gardening 101 by NECIC Community Organizer Jean Taddie: Community Gardening 101

The Welcome Garden story: Welcome Garden

Learn To Grow

A simple tutorial on growing vegetables: Vegetable Class

Tips for growing garlic in Ohio: A Year In The Life Of Garlic

An article from The Mansfield News Journal (2/17/13) about planning for Spring planting: Here We Grow

A guide to edible and medicinal plants by Nicholas Copley of Lionheart Medicinal Gardens: Edible and Medicinal Plants

Local Foods

Our Ohio magazine features local growers and partners who are building a local food network: Keep It Growing

Community Gardening Resources

What are the best varieties of small fruits to grow? Cornell University Professor Courtney Weber gives his trio results & best picks for varieties of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Berries

Master Gardener Volunteer list of most commonly used books: Books

Also see the following issues of NECIC’s North End News newsletter for stories about Community Gardening:

Download this issue here: Issue 6 – October 2010

Download this issue here: Issue 13 – July 2012


NECIC recognizes our youth as one of our most valuable assets.  Their success is necessary to the overall revitalization of the North End and of the city of Mansfield.  To this end, we have developed the following youth organizing initiatives:

North End Talented Ten (NETT) Interns

In December of 2010, NECIC hosted the North End Talented Ten (NETT), an internship program for North End youth based on a concept by intellectual leader and civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois. The internship program was divided into two phases, phase one was heavily focused on learning about NECIC’s work including the day to day operation of a non-profit, the fundamentals of Asset Based Community Development and Community Economic Development. Each NECIC staff member was assigned two interns. Theda Shaw and Leona Smith shadowed Executive Director Deanna West-Torrence, TreVonn Lucas and Tyrell Shaw shadowed Community Organizer Sam Dunn, Kineesha Kiah and Doretha Chatman shadowed Community Organizer Jean Taddie, Brittany Miner and Kymarious Jackson shadowed Community Organizer Shanican Pender, while Cordereo Bentley and Matt Ayers shadowed Community Development Coordinator Tony Chinni. The second phase of the NETT program was focused on community involvement where the interns applied what they learned to a community clean-up project. Clean-ups were scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays weather permitting. In addition to picking up trash and running lawn mowers, the NETT interns were charged with undertaking tasks relevant to their respective supervisor’s role within NECIC. For example, those interns learning about community organizing were in charge of rallying members of the community to assist with the clean-ups and to sustain our efforts after we were done. Others were in charge of maintaining and distributing lawn mowers and other necessary equipment and tools like gloves and trash bags. Still others were responsible for photographing and documenting the clean-ups, creating a report to share with interested members of the community.

NETT Clean Up Project Report

NETT Interns (L to R) Tyrell Shaw, Leona Smith, Matt Ayers, Cordereo Bentley, Executive Director Deanna West-Torrence, Alfred Corbin, Theda Shaw, Kineesha Kiah and Doretha Chatman.

(L to R) Community Organizer Shanican Pender with her son Taurean and NETT interns Kymarious Jackson, Leona Smith and TreVonn Lucas.

NETT Interns (L to R) Kymarious Jackson (seated), Leona Smith, TreVonn Lucas, Cordereo Bentley, Kineesha Kiah, Brittany Miner, Doretha Chatman and Tyrell Shaw.

(L to R) Community Organizer Sam Dunn with NETT Interns Theda Shaw, Tyrell Shaw, Leona Smith, Brittany Miner and Doretha Chatman.

North End Youth Corps

The North End Youth Corps are youth between the ages of 18 and 25 who share their insight, opinions and perspective with NECIC. They are the future of the North End and lend their physical and mental resources through neighborhood clean ups, leadership training and educational pursuits.

Youth Corps 2010

Youth Corps 2010 Working on a New Media Project

Youth Corps 2009

Youth Corps 2009 College Readiness Workshop

Youth Corps 2008

Youth Corps 2008 Neighborhood Clean-Up

North End Youth Media Project

The majority of what we “know” about the world around us is shaped by the media. Therefore, the more we understand the crucial role of the media and the processes involved in its creation, the better prepared we will be to make informed decisions and the more likely we will be to question and critically evaluate any and all information presented as “truth”. The goal of the North End Youth Media Project is to actively engage young people to think critically about their role in their community and society and the myriad of ways that the media affects all aspects of their lives.

Youth Media Project 2010

Youth Media Project 2010

North End Mentoring Program

The North End Mentoring Program – provides intergenerational connections aimed at reducing the number of North End youth entering our Juvenile Justice system. North End youth are paired with adults for individual and group mentoring activities. Through relationships with mentors, who have often had similar experiences, our young people gain confidence, learn to communicate, and develop trusting relationships with adults who care. Our mentors are effective because they are often natural “kid magnets” in the neighborhood who recognize and support the natural gifts, talents and skills of each young person, and understand how these gifts can help us build a better community. Each mentor is screened and receives six hours of training, which is offered twice a year.  Mentors and youth are matched based on shared interests and other individual factors.  Each mentor commits to one hour a week with each youth for one year and group activities are planned throughout the year with other mentors, their mentees and their families.

North End Mentoring Program

North End Mentoring Program

Minority Health

In 2009, NECIC convened residents and countywide health care and social service providers around minority health disparities. As a result, in May 2010, NECIC submitted a local strategic plan to The Ohio Commission On Minority Health with the goal to minimize minority health disparities. The plan addressed the following areas: service, capacity, resources, and infrastructure.

To view the Minority Health Report click here


To view the program from the October 8, 2015 Ribbon Cutting click here.

Featured Video: Ribbon Cutting