Matthew 25, appreciative inquiry and neighborhood revitalization

Matthew 25, appreciative inquiry and neighborhood revitalization

Matthew 25 from Hannah White on Vimeo. Where others may see blighted neighborhoods, troubled children or abandoned houses, Clint Twedt-Ball sees potential. “We consider ourselves to be treasure hunters, to a certain extent. Our goal is to find treasures that other people haven’t seen,” he said. “We go into these places where people have been labeled, and neighborhoods have been labeled. We say, ‘what would it be like if we looked for the treasures in this place, and found the unique good things in these neighborhoods?’” Twedt-Ball founded Matthew 25 in 2007 with his brother, Courtney Ball. He recounted the organization’s history while presenting at 1 Million Cups Wednesday. The nonprofit has invested about $6 million in rehabilitating hundreds of houses on the west side of the Cedar River, started a tool library to empower residents to fix, started urban farms on abandoned lots and founded Groundswell, a youth arts and community gathering space. Clint-Ball credited appreciative inquiry, or focusing on assets rather than weaknesses, for rallying neighborhoods. Projects supporting local food, education and neighborhood revitalization drew more than 14,000 volunteer hours last year. “We were just having those conversations in people’s living rooms, talking about what they want to see in their neighborhoods.” The organization started with about $35,000 and a “back of the napkin budget.” Today, Matthew 25 has an operating budget of about $450,000 per year, financed in large part by grants and donations, and was just able to purchase a historic building to make its new home. The historic Acme Graphics building at 201 Third Ave. SW, built in the 1920s, will house Matthew 25’s offices,…