North Akron Community Development Corp. (NACDC) has named Katie Beck as its new executive director. Beck, who formerly managed the Exchange House for Better Block Foundation, along with directing NACDC activities since July 2019, will lead the neighborhood-based nonprofit by building organizational capacity and increasing community participation in the new role.
“I am honored to serve the North Akron community and look forward to collaborating with and working alongside leaders and organizations to shape the social, civic, economic, physical, and spiritual fabrics of our community,” Beck said.
She will continue to leverage partnerships and collaborations she’s forged with the organization, overseeing and further developing the Exchange House and the Backyard, and leading the expansion of a new public space, while focusing on future neighborhood development projects that promote racial and economic equity for North Akron.
Beck worked to help open the Exchange House in 2017, when the Better Block Foundation received a Cities Challenge grant from the Knight Foundation to take advantage of excess housing stock due to population loss. For the project, she helped create a cultural hub and international hostel. She also established over 50 community partners and launched programming that encourages cross-cultural interaction as manager.
Throughout the end of 2019, the Better Block Foundation transitioned ownership of the Exchange House, the Backyard, and what’s soon-to-be the Market House, to the NACDC as a donation.
The NACDC will host a three-year anniversary party for the Exchange House on Saturday, Feb. 29, from 6 to 10 p.m. The event will include refreshments and a preview of the Market House, a new public space slated to open by the end of 2020. The Exchange House is located at 760 Elma St. For details, visit www.facebook.com/events/1072030299810851/.
Beck also serves as Artistic Director for Gum-Dip Theatre, a community-based theatre company that facilitates neighborhood story circles and produces pay-what-you-can performances that celebrate, challenge and reinvent community identity.
Beck, a North Hill resident, will work to strengthen the NACDC’s mission to assure a vibrant thriving North Akron community that inspires and connects its residents while celebrating its unique diversity.
The three public spaces, located in North Hill, will continue to celebrate cultures and cultivate community capacity through programming, partnerships and built environment.