Community Tampa Bay, formerly known as the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), promotes dialogue and respect among all cultures, religions, and races, through education, advocacy and conflict mediation. Community Tampa Bay envisions a community free from discrimination in which every individual is treated with dignity and respect. A wealth of information about their agency and programs is available on their website at www.communitytampabay.org.
The Tampa Bay region of NCCJ opened in 1949. Building on their long history and solid reputation, they started operating as an independent not-for-profit in 2005, under the new name Community Tampa Bay. Almost 60 years of hands-on experience has allowed them to become the expert in youth leadership, cross-cultural communication, diversity training, facilitative dialogue, and multicultural curriculum development in Tampa Bay. They operate nine (9) programs, broadly categorized as youth leadership programs, school-based programs and community programs.
The Wellspring Foundation grant supported the operations that enable Community Tampa Bay to organize the Anytown program, a 5-day, 4-night residential youth leadership and diversity awareness program for high school students. Anytown is an educational program that hosts up to 60 high school students, is directed by one or two employees of Community Tampa Bay, and co-facilitated by up to 30 trained volunteers of diverse backgrounds and ages. All materials, transportation to and from, room and board are provided at no charge to participants.
Students participate in a variety of workshops and discussion groups designed to help them understand they have much more in common than what makes them different. The students create individual action plans that help them discover their social responsibility and potential in our community as they commit to civic engagement, continued learning, and volunteer service.
Upon their return, the students feel more confident to assume leadership roles and to advocate for a community that is inclusive for all. Anytown graduates are empowered with the tools and skills that allow them to reduce bullying, discrimination, name-calling, stereotyping, intolerance and hate speech wherever they go.
An independent study, concluded in the fall of 2005 by the University of South Florida demonstrated that Anytown graduates show significantly greater acceptance of diversity and social competence, and dedicate significantly more time to community service when compared to a peer group that did not attend the program.
While each Anytown session directly transforms up to 60 students and up to 30 volunteers (primarily high school age), indirectly many more are touched by the program. Through the Culture Night evening at Anytown, family members are exposed to the program, and through the students and volunteers trained by Community Tampa Bay, the impact spreads to their peers, siblings, teachers and parents, which improves the overall school and community climate.Community Tampa Bay has a dedicated and very involved Board of Directors. They are a mission and volunteer driven organization. They are held to high standards of integrity, professionalism, transparency and accountability. An independent, external financial audit is conducted annually.