What is the Future Five Initiative?

Future Five is an initiative by the people of New Rochelle for the people of New Rochelle to revitalize the downtown through five priorities: Public Space & Storefront Beautification, Local Business Development, Food & Dining Scene, Millennial Engagement, and Arts & Culture. Leveraged by future investment in the downtown and centered around monthly community events, the Future Five initiative is supported by a monthly grant program.

The five initiatives are:

  • Public Space + Storefront Beautification - To beautify public spaces and storefronts and develop future public spaces. See examples at the Public Space & Storefront Beautification ideas page.
  • Local Business Development - To support existing local businesses and develop a new generation of entrepreneurs and companies that attract emerging populations. See examples at the Local Business Development ideas page.
  • Food + Dining Scene - To develop downtown New Rochelle as a regional food and dining scene and destination. See examples at the Food & Dining Scene ideas page.
  • Millennial Engagement - To establish a strong millennial community that is enthusiastically engaged in shaping the future of downtown New Rochelle. See examples at the Millennial Engagement ideas page.
  • Arts + Creative Culture - To grow the arts and culture community as a predominant identity for New Rochelle in the state of New York. See examples at the Arts & Culture ideas page.

For more details, contact our NR Future community liaison, Shari Winard, [email protected], 914-278-9410, and in the NR Future office located at 247 North Avenue.

public space + storefront beautification
local business
food + dining
millennial engagement
arts + culture

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the purpose of this program? What are its tangible vision, goals and objectives?
The goal of the Future Five initiative is to realize immediate impact, by the people, for the people, towards downtown revitalization that they can experience now. The intent of these small experiences is to provide a tangible model for larger scale implementation that will come with RDRXR's future investment. The vision, goals and objectives for this program are defined through each of the five initiatives by their associated action teams, who meet via breakout groups at the monthly Future Five meet-ups.

2. Why should I attend the monthly Future Five meet-ups? What do you have to offer beyond 'talk'? What makes this not 'just another meeting'?
It's about collective impact. The monthly meet-ups are one time each month that representatives from NR Future/RDRXR, civic associations, nonprofits, community leaders, entrepreneurs, business owners and resident champions of change can meet to focus on short-term action for long-term change in terms of their priorities. As voted on by the people, these five are co-creating a vibrant downtown through public space and storefront beautification, local business development, food and dining scene, millennial engagement and arts and culture, known as the Future Five. To seed action and implementation, these five initiatives are supported by $250 grants each month, as well as two $500 overall grants.

3. What impact could $250 or $500 grants possibly have? How can this impact future development?
In other communities, these grants have initiated plans to open an after school STEM program, community kitchen, a health and wellness center, a public mural; sparked the formation of an entrepreneurial collective, inspired development of a regional entertainment series, and catalyzed dozens of events. New buildings, landscaping and streets, the 'hardware' associated with real estate development, aren't good investments if people aren't using them. The Future Five isn't about financing the hardware of a downtown, but about piloting and testing the 'software' or programming that would excel in that hardware. These are the programs, events and experiences that attract and keep people in the downtown, and something RDRXR will be closely monitoring to inform their investments. Collectively, the efforts of the NR Future Five are aligned with future development plans to maximize 'return on community' as well as investment.

4. How will this benefit our community?
By providing support to local leaders, groups and organizations who wish to promote and activate the downtown, New Rochelle will attract new visitors, support local businesses and create a vibrant sense of place through the programming of events and experiences.

5. How do we know this program is legitimate?
In the words of best-selling author, sociologist and economist Malcolm Gladwell, 'legitimacy' in any community is based on three things:
(1) The people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice - if they speak up, they will be heard;
(2) The law has to be predictable;
(3) The authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another.”
The NR Future Five is about providing a monthly (predictable) program that allows everyone (fair) to either support ideas they'd like to implement or receive grants as determined by the people (voices heard) towards downtown revitalization in their terms (voices heard) that they collectively feel most benefits the community. This is not about waiting for those with the most power, influence or money to make all the decisions. This is about allowing the people to have a say in how they'd like to shape downtown revitalization, and providing tangible support in doing so.

6. Who in the community will take the time and effort to make this happen?
Champions. Champions are people who take on initiatives on their own, such as organizing an event or promoting a program. They contribute significantly to supporting the NR Future Five initiative and NR Future, show up to events in person on a regular basis; are willing to enthusiastically collaborate with a diversity of people; are often (but not always) associated with public interest and nonprofit causes; want to see positive change sooner than later; and actively campaign to make their vision a reality. They are the ones that look forward to applying for NR Future Five grants. In the words of author Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Are you a champion?