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IN THE NEWS | September 2023

Restoration President & CEO Blondel PInnock Featured on Cover of Columbia College Today

Blondel Pinnock is leading a new era of community development.

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Building Blocks: Blondel Pinnock ’90 is leading a new era of community development in Central Brooklyn.

In her cover story for Columbia’s Alumni Magazine, President & CEO discusses the legacy and future of Restoration.

“Pinnock, the first woman to lead Restoration in its 56 years, has come to the nonprofit at something of an evolutionary moment. While its mission has remained the same since its inception — to close the Black-white wealth divide in Central Brooklyn — the context in which it operates has changed dramatically. The Bed-Stuy of the 1960s was synonymous with crime and poverty and was periodically destabilized by racial tensions, including a terrifying four-day riot in summer 1964. Restoration’s origin story begins two years later, when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy took a walking tour that brought him face to face with the neighborhood’s decline: dirty streets, piles of refuse, abandoned buildings and run-down housing. Afterward, Kennedy met with community members who challenged him to put his ideas for community and economic revitalization into practice. The more cynical residents derided him as “another white guy that’s out here for the day.” But by the end of the year, Kennedy had joined with Sen. Jacob Javits and Mayor John Lindsay to launch the anti-poverty program that became Restoration.”

“We know that we need to help this community make a difference and try to bridge that the best that we can,” she says. “These are the opportunities that young people in this community need.”

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