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    About CKAR CDC

    Our Mission

    To promote the social, environmental and economic development of Greater Riverdale.

    CKAR Board Members

    Transforming Our Community

    • Better Lives

    • Better Communities

    • Better Businesses

    East Riverdale/Beacon Heights Steering Advisory Committee

    Board Members

    • Dennis R. Nola, President, PLA, RLA

    • Alice M. Bishop, Vice-President

    • John Arrington, 2nd Vice-President

    • Sharon W. Wertz, Secretary

    • Thomas L. Wertz, Jr., Treasurer

    • Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, At-Large Advisory Member

    • Patricia Hayes-Parker, Executive Director

    • Honorable David J. Lingua, Vice- Mayor, Town of Riverdale Park Member

    • Lisa Butler McDougal, At-Large Member

    • Sister Carmen Soto, At-Large Member

    • Melvin L. Allen Jr., Esq, At-Large Member

    • Janet Townshend, At-Large

    Our board members are committed volunteers that demonstrate an understanding of the community in which we live and serve. The board has approved effective management policies that are actively monitored by executive staff to effectively and efficiently fulfill its mission.

    Annual Report

    Grow Green

    • CKAR has partnered with Chesapeake Bay Trust, The Neighborhood Design Center, the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, and Mid-Atlantic AmeriCorps VISTA in an effort to create a more healthy environment for all of our communities. Large shade and small understory trees, as well as shrubs [including fruit bushes] are available for free. This includes planting in designated location(s) on your property.

    • Residents and businesses in and around Riverdale, Riverdale Park, Eastpines, Templeton Knolls, Beacon Heights, Bladensburg, the Port Towns, Woodlawn, and Lanham communities are eligible to receive these free trees.

    • Benefits of trees include:

      • Improved air quality
      • Increased property value
      • Increased business traffic and value
      • Decreased stormwater runoff
      • Cooler community
      • Increased immunity
      • More physical activity by residents
      • Better mental health and lower stress
      • Improved cognitive performance in children
    • Each tree recipient will also receive a home lighting kit consisting of light bulb assortment and power strip.

    • To view our Spring 2021 Tree Selection Guide, click on this link

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    • To request up to 3 free trees, click on this link

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    • CKAR Grow Green Program Tree Care Guide English

    • CKAR Grow Green Program Tree Care Guide Spanish


    Edmonston Road Rain Garden


    Greater Riverdale Cares Restaurant Meal Program

    • During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are going hungry. Several of our locally owned restaurants are also struggling to stay open and in many cases have had to lay off their employees. In partnership with Route 1 Communities Care [hyperlink to Feed Route 1 web page] and District 3, CKAR has created Greater Riverdale Cares. We provide small, locally-owned restaurants with a stipend to cook nutritious meals that are then distributed to residents at sites serving our local communities.

    • Sites served: SEED, St. Jerome’s, St. Mark’s, LAYC, United Methodist Church, Attick Towers, Parkview Gardens, Oak Ridge Apartments.

    • Restaurants served: Denizens, Dumm’s, Riviera Tapas, Banana Blossom, Shortcake Bakery, Hanami, Emerita’s, Marathon Deli, Pizza Roma, Krazi Kebob


    Business Empowerment

    Since late 2020 CKAR has partnered with PLCC and LEDC to inform and register businesses along Greater Riverdale on grant and loan opportunities offered by the federal and local government during the COVID crisis.

    From late January to mid-February CKAR’s Business Development Specialist, Imari Alvarez, and Manuel Ocho from PLCC walked along Kenilworth Avenue to inform businesses about registering for the second PPP Loan. With our efforts, 20 businesses were able to register for the PPP loan through our partner LEDC. If you are interested in registering your business through LEDC go to ledcmetro.org or email jrivas@ledcmetro.org. LEDC closes their registration on March 23, however, if you already have a lender the federal loan closes on March 31.

    With CKAR’s interest in keeping our businesses in Greater Riverdale, we have been in continuous meetings with PLCC Small Business Action Team. From these meetings, CKAR was appointed as one of the lead Co-chair of the Placed-Based Management team. Our work in the team is to assist in creating an action plan that illustrates the framework of a Main Street in the Riverdale community as well as initiating a plan to have our businesses develop an online presence if they are absent of one or a stronger one if they do.


    Community Resource Center

    In partnership with Advantage Properties, CKAR CDC is serving as a community consultant in the development of a community resource center. This center will be located on the former Police Barracks site as part of a new housing development. The center will welcome people to the community and provide services and information to empower residents.


    Health Outreach

    • CKAR is excited to be working with Luminis Health to provide COVID vaccinations and other health services to the community. Doctors from Luminis are providing information sessions on the COVID vaccine to address questions and we are partnering to bring mobile clinic events to different parts of Greater Riverdale.

    • On March 23rd, we successfully vaccinated 100 seniors 65 and our first mobile vaccination event held at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Riverdale Park, Maryland. Participants completed our COVID Vaccine Pre-Registration form online and were given an appointment. There is currently a wait list of 100 other seniors desiring to be vaccinated.

    • Seniors were willing to display signs after being vaccinated telling why they received the vaccinated.

    • Plans are currently being made for another clinic in April or May.


    Making Place Visioning for Greater Riverdale

    CKAR has partnered with students at the University of Maryland, Department of Architecture. Professor Ronit Eisenbach and her students at the “Making Place Studio”, are canvassing the area and assisting with reaching businesses to provide valuable information that could improve their business processes. In May 2020 the students were able to create and present mobile resource hubs that would be placed in pop-up areas in the community.  These mobile hubs were created to address the goals of kinship, stable futures, safety, and streets that were presented in The Neighborhood Design Center’s Greater Riverdale Place-Based Initiative, Visioning, and Outreach Report. A copy of what the students presented is noted below as “UMD Architecture Students Resource Hub Booklet”. CKAR is actively pursuing grant opportunities to bring these mobile vans to fruition.

    This spring the Making Place Studio will continue its work in helping CKAR and the Purple Line Corridor Coalition, by developing creative ideas to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, while safely building the community along Kenilworth Avenue. These ideas all circle the concept of creating a virtual and physical map that highlights all the businesses along the corridor. This map will showcase the progression of the corridor by presenting graphics of the past, present, and possible future. They will also design structures that will allow more people to visit restaurants in the area and create signage that will allow people to share these businesses through Instagram and other social media outlets.

    More information about this project is coming soon.

    UMD Architecture Students Resource Hub Booklet

    Place-Based Initiative

    Definition of a Place-Based Initiative

    Place-based initiatives are a tool that communities use to transform their environment. Communities come together to use resources to address the factors that affect health in order to uplift their neighborhoods.

    Past Outreach

    During 2019-2020, CKAR and the Neighborhood Design Center facilitated a process that led to a community-created Action Plan / “Plan de acción español. This process included the collection of 500 surveys, 5 visioning workshops in which community members voiced their opinions about what a “healthy community” means to them, and 50 small group meetings with key stakeholders, such as civic associations, PTAs, churches, and other non-profits.

    The Action Plan generated through this process revealed a couple of key focus areas that the community wants to work on: growing civic participation across the entire community; improving safety for everyone and making streets function better; improving communication between different groups; increasing celebration and welcoming activities; and addressing issues of housing affordability, aging in place and economic opportunities.

    Current Outreach

    During our 2019-2020 outreach, we reached many people in the community, but proportionally fewer Hispanic and Latino residents. To address this and to start working on three of the main focus areas from the Action Plan (growing civic participation, improving communication, and increasing welcoming activities), CKAR created a new plan to better reach out to Hispanic and Latino residents.

    Our current outreach efforts aim to address the short-term needs of residents, create long-term projects to improve the health of Greater Riverdale, and identify and support leaders in the Hispanic community. We are working with many partners in order to build trust with our communities and learn about their needs comprehensively. Our partners include: CASA, Centro de Apoyo Familiar (CAF), Pastor Yendy Phipps, University of Maryland Capstone, and University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center.

    Greater Riverdale Thrives

    Greater Riverdale Thrives is a coalition of community members driving change in their communities. The coalition was formed by CKAR and Neighborhood Design Center as part of the Action Planning Process in 2020. Now, CKAR remains the backbone non-profit of the coalition and Maryland Non-Profits is organizing Greater Riverdale Thrives into a series of workgroups led by community member co-chairs, including: food access, economic empowerment, environmental health and safety, health and wellness, Latino and immigrant outreach, and schools. Greater Riverdale Thrives meets on a monthly basis. To join the meetings, email RiverdaleCoalition@gmail.com or watch past meetings on CKAR’s Event Facebook page.

    School Cohort

    The Greater Riverdale School Cohort is a group of schools working together to address the common issues that students and their families face. Focus areas of the cohort so far include: food access, technology, and mental health. Through our work together so far, we have created a new online resource hub to communicate with families. We are also working on establishing permanent food pantries at each school.

    Partnership with Kaiser

    In 2017 alone, Kaiser Permanente invested more than $35 million in the region and nearly $10 million in Prince George’s County through their Community Health efforts. The Place-Based Initiative represents Kaiser’s commitment to Prince George’s County and desire to collaborate with Greater Riverdale to help our community thrive. It is anticipated that our partnership with Kaiser Permanente will attract additional capital, private investment, additional resources, technical support and will help build the capacity of non-profits that serve Greater Riverdale.

    Greater Riverdale was chosen for investment by Kaiser Permanente as a result of the hard work and demonstrated capacity of the community to coalesce, the presence and future impact of the Purple Line, completed planning initiatives, supportive institutions and the growing capacity of CKAR to manage the planning initiative required to develop a healthy community. CKAR was designated as the lead community-based organization to coordinate the Place-Based Initiative.

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      Contact Information

      Send us a message to request more information about our various programs and services.

      • (240) 608-CKAR
      • 240-770-4938 (fax)
      • 6801 Kenilworth Avenue, Suite 203
        Riverdale Park, Maryland 20737