From Knowledge Center
Greater Dwight Development Corporation
Greater Dwight Development Corporation (GDDC) is the lead organization in the Dwight Edgewood West River Promise Neighborhood collaboration. GDDC is a nonprofit community-based organization that has served the area since the mid-1990s.
The Greater Dwight Development Corporation has taken more than a decade of actions to improve the quality of life in the Greater Dwight neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. The actions followed a plan developed in 1995 and 1996 through a partnership with the Yale University Urban Design Workshop and other community stakeholders. The Greater Dwight, Edgewood and West River Neighborhood residents participated in focus groups, surveys, interviews, and community meetings to establish a vision for the community.
In subsequent years, the Greater Dwight Development Corporation enacted this vision. For example, the GDDC created a non-profit subsidiary to spearhead the construction of a neighborhood supermarket intended to provide local access to food and neighborhood job opportunities. The non-profit subsidiary owns a 51% share as the managing partner. Similarly, Neighborhood Planning called for the creation of a quality full day, full year, early learning center to support working families. GDDC worked with local, state, federal and institutional partners to raise $3 million to build the Alvis Brooker Building which houses the Montessori School on Edgewood (serving 54 children from birth to age 5) along with the GDDC office. GDDC operates the Montessori School as a subsidiary non-profit.
GDDC with the help of many partners has focused attention on building out the Greater Dwight Education Corridor. Significant efforts produced changes in the neighborhood such as the establishment of the Montessori School and an unprecedented arrangement to upgrade a neighborhood school facility for community use and maintain community access despite the sale of the school by the Board of Education to Achievement First (to establish Amistad Academy – a Charter School). GDDC had secured a grant and leveraged New Haven Public School funding to construct this 10,000 square foot addition to the Dwight School. The community residents used the facility after school hours. Upon the sale of the school building, the GDDC negotiated with Achievement First to maintain priority access to the school facility.
Additionally, GDDC, worked with local elected officials and legislators to change state legislation related to enrollment processes for Charter and Magnet Schools in Connecticut. The original legislation required Charter and Magnet Schools to use lotteries (random selection) for student enrollment. The law now permits a preference for neighborhood children for up to 30% of places in a Charter or Magnet School.