Vegas Seven: “Pact With an Angel”

Rebecca Tekula, PhD, Executive Director of Pace’s Helene & Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship, on whether one of the most recession-damaged cities in the nation can benefit from community stewardship.

Ward 5 in downtown Las Vegas, has been hit hard by foreclosures and has many abandoned homes — the kind of problems that can tear down an entire community.

To kick-start community change, The Partnerships for Community Health (PACT) has given grants to grassroots Vegas groups like Power of One, co-founded by Earnest James (pictured), which mentors at-risk kids in West Las Vegas.  The model is called community stewardship, and both the promise and risk of it is that the impact of the funding will ultimately depend on the grassroots organizations themselves.

“You want to make sure your stakeholders have some say in how you’re spending the money,” says Rebecca Tekula, PhD, executive director for the Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship, which researches and advises nonprofits. “Eventually the full governance will belong to the community,” she told Vegas Seven writer Heidi Kyser.

In other words, whether PACT succeeds in the long run will be up to people such as Earnest James.