In 2014 the Pennsylvania Humanities Council awarded its first civic engagement planning grant to the Scranton Area Neighborhood Park Collaborative, a joint effort of seven local nonprofit organizations.
Scranton, a city of about 75,000 in northeastern Pennsylvania, was settled by Welsh and other European immigrants and once known as an iron and steel hub. While the city has moved away from its industrial past, the Scranton Area Neighborhood Park Collaborative hopes to inspire its residents to embrace the humanities as one way of sparking a new spirit of pride and dynamism.
This project focused on West Scranton, a diverse neighborhood with new immigrants settled alongside long-time residents, and it aimed to engage the community in improving and building neighborhood pocket parks.
Through this project, the Scranton Area Neighborhood Park Collaborative aimed to advance an understanding of the humanities and civic engagement, while also serving as a mechanism to pull in key city, county, neighborhood, academic, and nonprofit leaders to advance mutual goals for the betterment of the community. Major goals included
- Using the humanities to refine civic engagement and foster community.
- Engaging residents in genuine dialogue on the future of their community.
- Restoring social capital among residents.
Led by the Scranton Area Community Foundation, the Scranton Area Neighborhood Park Collaborative represents the joined forces of the Lackawanna County Library System, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, Neighbor Works Northeastern Pennsylvania, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, and the University of Scranton.