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Flint, MI—The Neighborhood Engagement Hub, a Flint nonprofit aimed at helping community members create vibrant neighborhoods, will have a new executive director as of Oct. 4.
Tom Wyatt will be taking over from current executive director Ashley Everhart, who has been with NEH since its founding in October 2014.
“(Everhart) was our first executive director and was instrumental in growing the organization to what it is today,” said NEH board chair Antwan Edson, adding that Everhart is moving on to pursue other opportunities. “We thank her for all her hard work over the years and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”
NEH provides different kinds of programming for residents looking to improve their neighborhood. These include things like the Community Tool Shed—which loans power tools to volunteers to help them combat blight—and training and consultation to help neighborhood volunteers identify goals, create action plans, and secure fiduciary support.
“I think the Neighborhood Engagement Hub has been really good at helping with mitigation and blight elimination,” said Wyatt. “I think the next phase is really ‘How do we improve? How do we help neighbors and work with them to improve the quality of life even more?’”
A Flint native, Wyatt previously served as Director of Neighborhood and Community Services at Kettering University from 2015-2020, co-chaired the University Avenue Corridor Coalition, and was a founding member of the North Flint Neighborhood Action Council.
Alongside his degree in urban planning, the incoming executive director has multiple certifications in areas like economic development, placemaking, and crime prevention through environmental design, among others.
“My friends, they joke and call me ‘Mr. Certification,’” he laughed.
Wyatt said he hopes to implement some of the lessons he’s learned from nearly 15 years working with nonprofits in community development, neighborhood revitalization, and capacity building at NEH.
“I think that we may be able to position ourselves to provide more supportive services from subject matter expertise,” said Wyatt.
“I’d like to bolster our staff so that we could do things like support the Master Plan implementation that the city is leading. … And I would love for Neighborhood Engagement Hub to be able to help neighborhoods reactivate spaces so that you have what we call the ‘15 Minute Neighborhood or City.’”
The ‘15 minute neighborhood,’ Wyatt explained, means a person should be able to walk or bike from home and within 15 minutes have their basic needs and services met—shops, doctor’s offices, etc.—instead of traveling by car to major roads or downtown.
He recognized that was a big goal for NEH and an auto-dependent city like Flint, but, he said, “I’m eager to get started.”