Neighborhood development leaders recognized

The New Orleans Neighborhood Development Foundation announced recipients of the 2013 Neighborhood Achievement Awards, awarded for outstanding contributions to the growth, economic prosperity and vibrancy of New Orleans neighborhoods.

Nick Harris, assistant vice president of community development at Dillard University, earned the leadership award. Harris was honored for his success in bringing stakeholders together in the Gentilly-New Orleans community.

Martha Kegel, executive director of Unity of Greater New Orleans, won the development award. Unity develops nonprofit-owned apartment buildings for those who are homeless or low income, and helps the public locate affordable housing and advocates for public policy to prevent and reduce homelessness. The newly renovated Rosa F. Keller Building on Tulane Avenue is a prominent example of Unity’s contribution. This multi-million dollar, 60-unit building, owned by UNITY of Greater New Orleans, is New Orleans’ first mixed-income Permanent Supportive Housing building for the homeless and low income.

Goodwork Network, whose executive director is Phyllis Cassiday, won the small business of the year award. The award honors an entrepreneur whose business has significantly improved its neighborhood or demonstrated outstanding commitment to the community.

Goodwork Network is a small nonprofit business that was founded with a mission to help minority and female-owned businesses grow and succeed. It recently bought and renovated the once blighted Franz Building on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard that offers space for “incubator offices” and start-up businesses.

Café Reconcile, under the leadership of Glen Armantrout, won the Neighborhood Beautification Award. Café Reconcile recently completed a renovation that includes usable space at the group’s five-story building ranging from 2,400 square-feet to roughly 17,000 square-feet. The renovation fits in with the changing landscape of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard and now serves as an anchor business at Oretha Castle Haley and Terpsichore.

Finally, the Enterprise Founders Award went to Ashton J. Ryan Jr., C.P.A., president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of First NBC Bank, a community bank he founded in 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to assist in the rebuilding of New Orleans. The Founders Award honors an individual or group who has provided significant and sustaining support to NDF. Ryan worked with NDF to create and offer the first second-look homebuyer mortgage program. Because of his advice to those clients and NDF’s Homeownership training program, 100 percent of them received financing and are all still home- owners.