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Neighbors United: Building The Power & Promise of Communities

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Strong neighbors mean strong neighborhoods. Neighbors United is a resident-led, strategic, and collaborative approach to grassroots community organizing that:

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Supports community self-determination

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Develops socially connected and active residents

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Counters the minimalization and marginalization of community voices

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Builds, strengthens, and amplifies the power of local leaders

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Equips residents to drive positive and meaningful community change


  • Historically isolated, marginalized, and disenfranchised neighborhoods
  • Communities facing multigenerational barriers to equity, access, and opportunity

 Neighbors United Locations

The first cohort of Neighbors United included Lansdowne and Pioneer City. These communities will be transitioning to Neighborhood Zones. For more information on Neighborhood Zones, please visit



Recognizing and building resident power can deepen community solidarity and collaboration. When people have a say in how their community is run, they’re more likely to work together and support one another in achieving their shared goals.

“Top down” recommendations imposed by external groups are often met with resistance or are not sustainable. Strategies developed by residents work because they are the experts in what their community needs, and will advocate more effectively for changes that matter personally to them.


"Residents have the power within themselves to change things. Neighbors United unlocks what’s already inside them and shows them the strength that they have."

- Randy Curtis, Anne Arundel Partnership for Children, Youth and Families Neighbors United/Pioneer City



Neighbors United coaches residents to identify assets and challenges together and work with allies in power to improve the health, security, and economic well-being of their communities. This approach promotes building power structures that put residents in a position of strength and self-determination.

Communities progress through Neighbors United with the guidance of a lead agency that is embedded in the community and supported by United Way of Central Maryland. Resident roles and responsibilities are centered and a core team is formed. As engagement with the community deepens, leadership shifts from the agency to the core team, whose capacity to drive positive change remains a sustainable, long-term asset in the neighborhood.

phases & pillars, how it works



Neighbors United is distinctly community-led, with the needs and priorities of residents centered and prioritized. Although a lead agency is supported by United Way, its main goal is to develop resident leadership. The activities and goals of the core team are set by its membership and supported by the agency and United Way.

  • Stronger sense of leadership among core team members
  • Improved perceptions of the community by residents
  • Increased residents’ confidence in effecting change in their neighborhoods
  • Improved quality of life in the community


Learn more. Please contact us at