Martha O'Bryan Center
711 South 7th Street
Nashville TN 37206-3895
Mission Statement
On a foundation of Christian faith, Martha O’Bryan Center empowers children, youth, and adults in poverty to transform their lives through work, education, employment, and fellowship.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Marsha Edwards
Board Chair Mr. Clay Richards
Board Chair Company Affiliation naviHealth
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 1951
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Projected Expenses $6,159,269.00
Projected Annual Revenue $6,173,894.00 (2016)
Mission On a foundation of Christian faith, Martha O’Bryan Center empowers children, youth, and adults in poverty to transform their lives through work, education, employment, and fellowship.

Martha O’Bryan Center is an anti-poverty non-profit with longstanding history and deep community roots, founded on tradition and strengthened by innovation. Our mission began in 1894, when Miss Martha O’Bryan, a retired teacher, organized the Gleaner’s Society at First Presbyterian Church, to support widows and orphans in North Nashville. Less than a generation removed from the civil war that divided our country, Miss O’Bryan sought to heal the divisions created by poverty in our city. The tradition of serving vulnerable families continued after her passing, and in 1948, we built our current location at the top of the hill in Cayce Place, an enclave of 716 public housing units with more than 2,000 residents. This is where we continue in service, creating a “new normal” of attainment and positively shaping future generations.

Experience and results tell us that it takes multiple interventions over a lifetime to empower those living in poverty to transform their lives, their families, and their community. To this end, we have built a cradle-to-career continuum of programs, made up of five integrated investments: a) early learning paired with parent education; b) expanded educational opportunities; c) pathways to college; d) employment training and placement; and e) wrap-around family supports. This continuum strengthens whole families, beginning with children as young as six weeks old and continuing through adulthood. We serve more than 9,000 individuals annually, through our Early Learning Center (early childhood education), East End Preparatory (K-5 charter school) Explore! Community School (K-8 charter school), THRIVE Youth Development (K-8 after-school program), Reading Achievement Program (K-8 academic intervention program), Academic Student Unions at Stratford and Maplewood High (academic, social-emotional, and college access programming for high school students), Chapter Two (job training, career planning, and summer employment for youth ages 16-24), Post-Secondary Success (mentoring and transitional coaching for college students), Adult Education (high school equivalency diploma preparation), Tied Together (parenting education), Family Support Team (short-term crisis support and case management services), and Community Services (Family Resource Center, Meals on Wheels, Emergency Food Bank, and Joyful Noise).


In 2014, Martha O’Bryan Center established our Chapter Two initiative, to provide comprehensive job training, career planning, and summer employment opportunities to youth ages 16-24. This work is made possible through a five-year grant from Nashville Career Advancement Center.

In 2014, Martha O’Bryan Center receive a three-year U.S. Department of Justice Byrne Criminal Justice grant, to combat aggression and violence in families, schools, and neighborhoods in East Nashville. We are conducting this work in full partnership with Metro Nashville Police Department, aligned with Mayor Karl Dean’s citywide domestic violence initiative.

The success of Martha O’Bryan Center’s first charter school, East End Preparatory, led us to apply and receive approval to open a second charter. Explore! Community School (opening in 2015) will serve K-8th grade students in East Nashville, using a project-based curriculum that helps students develop a love for learning, improve critical-thinking skills, and master academic and social-emotional building blocks. Throughout 2014, we have planned for Explore’s implementation, securing a building, hiring staff, building curriculum, and recruiting students.

Goals (from Martha O’Bryan Center’s Five-Year Strategic Plan)

Strengthen Financial Resource Base by engaging donors in new ways, developing fee-based services, and creating collaborative funding models.

Improve Organizational Quality and Excellence by strengthening talent support, streamlining organizational communication, better defining organizational culture, and improving cross-program integration.

Scale and Expand Services through Programs and Partnerships by creating a common family-based RTI program model, strengthening community development approach, integrating social-emotional services and parent leadership opportunities into programming, and initiating a partnership-based employment strategy.

Our highest priority at Martha O’Bryan is ensuring that children living in poverty grow up to be well-educated, high school and college graduates who are healthy and employed. We are making great strides. The strategies which address the greatest barriers to healthy families and vibrant communities in East Nashville address inadequate transportation, transitional and educational expenses, affordable childcare, and the lack of a full-service grocery store within walking distance. Small gifts of financial support can have a big impact on need.

§ $5.25 purchases an all day MTA bus pass

§ $10.55 provides a week of meals for the elderly and disabled.

§ $35 covers the cost of a college application

§ $75 covers the cost of a GED exam

§ $105 per month scholarships one child in the Early Learning Center

§ $850 provides 6 weeks of academic summer camp for one youth 

Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Check donations can be mailed to Martha O'Bryan Center, attn: Development Department, 711 South Seventh Street, Nashville, Tennessee  37206.
To donate by phone, please call our Data Manager and Development Officer at 615-254-1791 x123.
To coordinate in-kind donations, please email or call our Data Manager and Development Officer at or 615-254-1791 x123.

Martha O’Bryan Center has more than 1,000 active volunteers supporting our cradle-to-career continuum of programs. For a full list of volunteer opportunities, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at or 615-254-1791 x122.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Human Services / Personal Social Services
Secondary Organization Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building / Community & Neighbourhood Development
Tertiary Organization Category Education / Educational Services
Areas of Service
Areas Served
TN - Cheatham
TN - Davidson
TN - Robertson
TN - Rutherford
TN - Williamson

While service extends to all residents in Davidson County, our primary service is to the approximately 9,000 youth and their families attending the 14 schools in the Stratford cluster of MNPS and Maplewood High School. Currently, our community work focuses on four of the most distressed neighborhoods in Nashville, including Cayce Place, CWA Plaza Apartments, the Shelby Hills neighborhood and Historic Edgefield neighborhood, all within Census tracts 117, 119, 192, and 193.

Board Chair Statement

The Board of Directors clearly understands that Martha O’Bryan Center is a strong non-profit performer, responsive to neighborhood needs as well as city priorities. In this, our 120th year of serving Nashville’s most vulnerable families, we find ourselves evaluating our tremendous growth over the past 12 years (218%). As an organization focused on deep and meaningful community change, we are working with national experts to ensure that the governance structure between community centers and schools is efficient and streamlined. Our successes have been built by the historically strong guidance and support of our Board and the dynamic subject matter expertise and visionary leadership of our staff.

CEO Statement Serving all who come to our door, the Center has been a Nashville leader in bringing innovative solutions to the issues of poverty. We continue to believe in the power of work and education to transform lives and that every family can be successful. Known for our empowering, sometimes "tough love" approach to assisting families, Martha O'Bryan Center has assisted thousands of families move beyond government subsistence and into the world of jobs and opportunity. We also know from sixty years in the James A. Cayce Homes that the transformation of a life requires us to serve with unconditional love, abiding faith and joyous encouragement. We are proud to be the resource in East Nashville for dynamic youth programs, affordable child care and education/work opportunities for families ready to move forward in their lives.

Martha O’Bryan Center’s Early Learning Center (ELC) provides high quality early education opportunities to 88 children six weeks to five years old in six classrooms. The ELC has consistently maintained a three-star rating by the State of Tennessee since 2002 and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, an honor earned by less than 6% of childcare providers in our state. In 2014, 100% of our pre-k students met national benchmarks for reading readiness, measured by the Get Ready to Read assessment.

Tied Together is Martha O’Bryan Center’s ten-week parenting program, designed to help young families support the physical and social-emotional heath of their child. Tied Together combines four core strategies: prevention and early intervention, empowerment and strengthening, development of supportive social networks, and promotion of broad community change. In 2014, Tied Together enrolled 118 families and now boasts nearly 450 alumni.

Budget 778883
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5), Adults,
Short Term Success
Early Learning Center:
85% of three year olds will score 9 or above on the Get Ready to Read assessment.
85% of 4 and 5 year olds will score 14 or above on the Get Ready to Read assessment.
80% of 4 and 5 year olds will identify 18 upper case letters, 12 lower case letters, and 8 sounds.
80% of 4 and 5 year olds will score 5 of 10 on Beginning Sound Awareness, 5 of 10 on Rhyme Awareness, 6 of 10 on Nursery Rhyme Awareness, 7 of 10 on Print and Word Awareness, and 5 of 7 on Name Writing.
 Tied Together:
80% of participants will be able to provide examples of increase in family functioning/resiliency.
80% of participants will be able to provide examples of an increase in social-emotional support.
80% of participants will be able to demonstrate an increase in concrete support.
80% of participants will report an increase in knowledge of child development and parenting.
80% of participants will demonstrate an increase in nurturing and attachment.
Program Success Monitored By
Our Early Learning Center uses the Get Ready to Read (GRTR) assessment and the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) test.
Tied Together uses the Adult Adolescent Parenting Inventory (APPI) and the FRIENDS assessment. 

THRIVE provides daily out-of-school time programming to nearly 200 K-8 youth living in and around Cayce Place in East Nashville. THRIVE’s comprehensive academic, social-emotional, and enrichment services prepare students for high school, college, and career and ensure that students become the next generation of empowered and educated Nashville citizens.

Our Reading Achievement Program (RAP) delivers one-on-one and small group literacy and math tutoring services to 320 K-8 students across East Nashville, helping them strengthen core academic knowledge and skills. In 2014, 94% of RAP students improved their reading, including 66% who increased by 1.0 or more grade levels. In math, 98% of students improved, including 68% who increased by 1.0 or more grade levels.

In 2009, we were selected as NAZA’s coordinating agency for the North East Zone, allowing us to expand after-school programming for middle school youth. Each year, the North East Zone supports 250 middle school students.

Budget 1125352
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years), ,
Short Term Success
 80% of students will increase coping skills, knowledge of healthy social-emotional behaviors, and resiliency.
80% of students will increase knowledge of future careers and individual talents through participation in career exploration courses.
80% of students will demonstrate their commitment to and understanding of citizenship through planning and implementation of service-learning projects.
120 students will increase their academic achievement by 1.0 grade levels in reading or math.
225 students will increase academic achievement in reading or math.
225 students will engage in multi-dimensional educational experiences to further expand learning opportunities.
225 students will be introduced to various career and higher education opportunities.
Program Success Monitored By
THRIVE uses in-house pre and post assessments, Community Action Plans, Reflection Reports, and the Lions Quest assessment to measure success.
 RAP uses KeyMath3, the Development Reading Assessment (DRA), and the Woodcock Johnson Reading Mastery test to measure success.

Our Academic Student Unions (Top Floor at Stratford and College Zone at Maplewood) provide year-round academic case management, tutoring, ACT prep, small-group counseling, job training, and enrichment activities (arts, dance, music, STEM) to nearly 1,000 high school students. In 2014, our Academic Student Unions helped 187 students apply for and receive acceptance to college. These students received a combined $9.8 million dollars in grants and scholarships!

Our Post Secondary Success (PSS) initiative provides first-generation college students with transitional coaching, mentorship, and linkage services throughout their post-secondary careers, to ensure college retention and degree attainment. In 2014, PSS worked with 125 college students enrolled at 12 colleges and universities across Tennessee.

Established in 2014, our Chapter 2 youth employment program provides year-round job training, career planning, and summer employment supports to more than 100 youth ages 16-24.

Budget 787642
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years), Adults, At-Risk Populations
Short Term Success
Academic Student Unions:
80 students will receive multiple ACT testing opportunities.
60 students will have cost barriers to ACT testing eliminated.
16 students will demonstrate college readiness by scoring 21 or higher on the ACT.
80% of core high school students will develop an action plan that bolsters academic skills and support post-secondary pursuits. Goals will include strengthening academic skills, increasing ACT score, and visiting and applying to colleges.
80% of high school seniors who are college-bound will complete the college admissions process.
Post-Secondary Success:
60% of core college students who are required to take the COMPASS placement test will reach proficiency, decreasing the number of required developmental courses.
70% of core college students will complete their current academic year and continue to their next academic year (or graduate if they are seniors).
Chapter Two:
45 individuals will obtain employment.
90 individuals will complete skill-based employment training.
Program Success Monitored By All program successes are measured through Student Action Plans. Each plan has individualized benchmarks that guide students toward long-term success.

Our Family & Community Services continuum supports Cayce Place, CWA and East Nashville neighborhoods, putting community voice and choice at the center of all activities, igniting the flame of learning for adults and children alike, providing a real safety net for those in dire or immediate need.

In 2014, 7,698 families accessed these services: 348 accessed Adult Education; 5,772 access our Emergency Food Bank; 541 access our Family Resource Center; 942 accessed Joyful Noise; and 95 accessed Meals on Wheels.

When these services aren’t enough, our Family Support Team, a highly-trained team of social work professionals, helped clients create individualized care plans, to reduce the levels of stress from toxic, to tolerable, and finally, to positive. By creating a wrap-around plan which builds on family’s beliefs, traditions, and strengths, our Family Support Team helped 381 individuals prepare to navigate life’s challenges.

Budget 382,066
Category Human Services, General/Other Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Adults, At-Risk Populations, Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated
Short Term Success
Adult Education:
25 adult students will increase one grade level in reading, math, or language arts on the TABE assessment.
15 adult students will increase two or more grade levels in reading, math, or language arts on the TABE assessment.
25 adult learners will obtain a high school equivalency diploma.
60 adult learners will create a post-secondary education plan to prepare for continued education and career readiness.
10 adult learners who have obtained a high school equivalency diploma will submit an application for post-secondary education.
Family Support Team:
85 individuals will receive emergency financial assistance.
Meals on Wheels:
18,250 meals will be provided to low-income individuals in need.
120 meals will be provided to low-income individuals on holidays.
Program Success Monitored By
Adult Education successes are measured using the TABE assessment.
Other progress markers are measured using tools accepted by United Way.
CEO Comments The Martha O'Bryan has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children for the past 12 years. Our Early Learning Center has received and maintained the state's 3-Star Rating, the highest possible rating, since the inception of the rating scale. We are one of only three community based organizations to received a contract from Metro Nashville to operate a pre-school classroom. For the past five years we have also run a state funded pre-k classroom.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Clay Richards
Company Affiliation naviHealth
Term July 2015 to June 2016
Board Members
Mr. Lee Ballew Claritas CapitalVoting
Mr. Charles Barrett Charles Barrett, Attorney at LawVoting
Mr. Bart Bohlen Dollar GeneralVoting
Mr. Ben Cundiff Cundiff FarmsVoting
Mr. John K. Folger Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Scott Gilmer Chief of Staff, Beth HartwellVoting
Mrs. Tam Gordon Special Assistant to the MayorVoting
Ms. Marilyn Greer Community VolunteerVoting
Ms. Meredith Griffith Senior Director, Corporate Counsel, AsurionVoting
Mr. Greg Hagood Nephila AdvisorsVoting
Mr. Eddie Hamilton Centennial PediatricsVoting
Mrs. Ronda Helton Nashville SymphonyVoting
Mr. Ashford Hughes Little-Smith Strategies, LLCNonVoting
Mr. Zach Hunt The Strategy GroupVoting
Mrs. Corinne Kidd Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Trea McMillan Meharry Medical CollegeVoting
Ms. Sabrina Miller SunTrust BankVoting
Mr. Clay Richards NaviHealth, Inc.Voting
Mr. Dexter Samuels Tennessee State UniversityVoting
Mr. Tim Sinks Capital FinancialVoting
Mr. Brad Smith Aspire HealthVoting
Ms. Lindsey Sublett Dollar General CorporationVoting
Ms. Leslie Zmugg Group Benefits Advisor, The Crichton GroupVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 6
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 15
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 70%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 94%
Percentage of Board Members making In-Kind Contributions 50%
Does the Board include Client Representation? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Raising
Human Resources / Personnel
Risk Management Provisions
Accident & Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance
Commercial General Insurance
Commercial General Liability
Disability Insurance
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Life Insurance
Medical Health Insurance
Workers Compensation & Employers' Liability
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Marsha Edwards
Term Start Aug 2001

Marsha Edwards has led MOBC since 2001, emphasizing financial responsibility, quality programming, and fund development. Her background as a litigation attorney, small business owner/entrepreneur and education advocate has spurred her vision to build a broad continuum of services to support all children educationally and socially. Under her leadership MOBC has tripled its budget, filled many gaps in the MOBC Highway of Services, developed school and community-based programs, and launched an elementary charter school in East Nashville.


Marsha serves on the Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Champions business committee that works to engage the business community in support of reform of our comprehensive high schools into small learning academies. 


A native of Dayton, Ohio, Marsha received her undergraduate degree from Warren Wilson College. She is married to Eric Vaughter, has 2 sons and 2 daughters, and resides in Brentwood, TN.

Former CEOs
Mrs. Debbie Keller Dec 1989 - July 2001
Mr. Jack White Nov 1983 - Nov 1989
Full Time Staff 110
Part Time Staff 86
Volunteers 1200
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 76%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Yes
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Yes
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 5
When was Strategic Plan adopted? Oct 2014
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? No
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? Yes
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Yes
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)2001
ANE (Association of Nonprofit Executives)1990
Center for Nonprofit Management Excellence Network1998
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce1995
Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare (TCSW)1995
Community Resource Center - Nashville1993
United Way Member Agency1971
Alignment Nashville2004
Second Harvest Food Bank1993
Nashville Youth Alliance1994
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)1993
Alliance for Children and Families - Member2013
External Assessments and Accreditations
External Assessments and Accreditations
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - 5 year accred.1992
Youth VolunteerMary Catherine Strobel2005
Volunteer Fundraiser of the YearAmerican Fundraising Professionals2005
Change the World with a Giving HeartAmerican Fundraising Professionals2005
Innovation in Action Award - FinalistFrist Foundation2005
Excellence in Communications AwardCenter for Non Profit Management2004
Frist Foundation Making a Difference AwardCenter for Nonprofit Management2011
Nashvitality Trailblazer AwardMayor's Office of Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County2012
Collaboration College 2012HCA Foundation2012
Peter B. Goldberg Executive Leadership AwardAramark2013
Senior Staff
Title Director of Human Resources
Title Chief Operating Officer
Experience/Biography Ms. Coleman has a Master’s of Business Administration and Accounting degree and more than 15 years of accounting experience. In her current role, she manages the finance and billing departments and provides financial oversight for a $10 million dollar budget.
Title Chief Program Officer
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2015
Fiscal Year End June 30 2016
Projected Revenue $6,173,894.00
Projected Expenses $6,159,269.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Revenue$8,346,363$9,264,370$5,113,872
Total Expenses$8,791,186$8,431,569$5,957,228
Revenue Less Expenses($444,823)$832,801($843,356)
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$1,461,694$2,308,307$1,325,496
Individual Contributions$3,797,184$4,818,180$3,641,216
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,330$0$7,521
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$74,563$63,659$45,722
Revenue In-Kind$101,522$0$62,616
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$6,719,982$6,918,733$4,890,939
Administration Expense$1,664,262$1,095,810$482,804
Fundraising Expense$406,942$417,026$583,485
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.951.100.86
Program Expense/Total Expenses76%82%82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue6%6%12%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$4,748,909$4,988,433$3,943,486
Current Assets$2,607,122$2,831,109$2,020,407
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$762,597$558,298$345,152
Total Net Assets$3,986,312$4,431,135$3,598,334
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.425.075.85
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts, and Grants $3,797,184Contributions, Gifts and Grants $4,818,180Contributions, Gifts, and Grants $3,641,216
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Service Revenue $2,843,390Government Unspecified $2,308,307Government Grants $1,325,496
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFoundations and Corporations $1,073,724Earned Revenue $2,033,450Fundraising Events $45,722
IRS Letter of Exemption
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? No
Capital Campaign Goal $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires Dec 2015 Financial Comments
Financial figures taken from 990.
Financial documents preapred by Mullins, Clemmons & Mayes, PLLC.
Comments provided by Denise Alper 4/6/14
Financial figures taken from 990.
Financial documents preapred by Mullins, Clemmons & Mayes, PLLC. 
Comments provided by Laurel Fisher 3/29/13.
Nonprofit Martha O'Bryan Center
Address 711 South 7th Street
Nashville, TN 372063895
Primary Phone (615) 254-1791
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Marsha Edwards
Board Chair Mr. Clay Richards
Board Chair Company Affiliation naviHealth
Year of Incorporation 1951

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