CaN Centers PDF Print E-mail

Several years ago the Renaissance in Salem’s toughest neighborhood began.  That’s when a tiny church in Salem’s highest-crime neighborhood opened a huge community center.  This led to potent partnerships with neighbors, nearby schools, the City of Salem, Marion County, youth agencies, businesses and law enforcement.

By opening its doors, Capital Park Wesleyan Church sparked a miraculous turnaround.  Crime came down 25%, the parks are clean again, home ownership is up, children are safer, and families are healthier.  Today, not only is this one neighborhood being transformed, but our whole city is being indelibly impacted.

Inspired by the Capital Park story, other churches have begun to open their buildings to their neighborhoods.  They are engaging in strong collaborations and offering their facilities to neighbors in a variety of innovative and asset-building programs.   Likewise, public agencies and the social-service system have been inspired to seek partnerships with the Faith Community!  Now, more neighborhoods are being revitalized, and hundreds of kids and families are benefiting.

Churches as Neighborhood Centers

In 2003 Salem Leadership Foundation began to coordinate the Churches as Neighborhood (CaN) Centers Program among several congregations.  In the program’s first seven years, SLF has raised more than $1 million to support the operation of 20 CaN Centers sites in Salem and Keizer.  The sites themselves have expended over $1.8 million to run their programs, plus $14.7 million in volunteer time.  All together more than $17.5 million has been generated for community good.   More than 9,116 at-risk kids have been served with after-school programs, GED/ESL classes, Homework Clubs, family nights, block parties, and other asset-building activities.  The Capital Park story is now being replicated in neighborhoods across Keizer, East Salem, South Salem, North Salem and—with the advent of the “Dream Center” in the Edgewater—West Salem.

SLF’s leadership/fiduciary role in the CaN Centers collaboration has three (3) important functions:

  1. Start-up.  We recruit and help new sites develop programming, hire staff, and begin basic operations.
  2. Capacity-building.  We help current sites expand their staffs, volunteers, hours, and numbers served.
  3. Sustainability.  After three years, each CaN Centers site becomes a self-funded operation within the church’s strategic plan and budget.  There are now eight (10) self-sustaining CaN Centers.

Over the years, the CaN Centers Program has grown from a fledgling group of loose-knit colleagues into a formal collaboration of service providers.  Churches that were tentatively serving their neighbors by experimentation are now engaged in strategic deployments of their buildings, people and assets.  Community partners (schools, non-profits, government) who desire faith-based partnerships can now turn to well-established places and programs.  Families and neighbors who were once under-served are now accessing asset-building programs in buildings that once stood fallow and dormant.   Kids and youth who struggled to find safe places and caring adults are now engaged in healthy activities between those ‘infamous hours’ of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.  Adults and seniors are able to improve their education and their language skills. “Neighborhood Efficacy” is on the rise all over Salem-Keizer.

The CaN Centers churches and community partners meet first Wednesdays (11:30-1:00 p.m.) at various sites throughout Salem-Keizer.  All are welcome to come learn about serving kids, families and neighborhoods. For more information, call Megan at Salem Leadership Foundation at 503-315-8924.


160 reasons we love the Mid-Valley: CaN Centers

Statesman Journal

By Capi Lynn (May 17, 2011)

What they are: Churches as Neighborhood (CaN) Centers, a network of Salem-Keizer churches offering activities and programs.

Why we love them: The CaN Centers create partnerships among schools, youth agencies, nonprofits, municipalities, businesses and law enforcement. Capital Park Wesleyan Church was the first to open, and its community center helped transform a traditionally tough neighborhood and provide a model to replicate.

Today there are 17 CaN Centers that offer activities like after-school programs, homework clubs, family nights, block parties, community gardens, support for foster families, gymnasium sports, food banks and outreach to homeless people.

Salem Leadership Foundation coordinates the program and provides funding assistance to launch each CaN site.



CaN Centers Sites

1. Calvary Chapel of Salem
1550 Hoffman RD NE, Salem 97301
(503) 304-8840

2. Capital Park Wesleyan Church
SE Neighborhood Community Center
410 19th St. SE, Salem 97301
(503) 362-6626, Fax:  (503) 371-4188

4. Church on the Hill - Keizer
2105 Keizer RD NE, Keizer 97303

5. Emmaus Community Church
581 Lancaster Dr SE #37, Salem 97301
(503) 949-0939

6. Grace Baptist Church
4197 State St., Salem 97301
(503) 585-2667, Fax:  (503) 581-0335

7. Grace Community Church
4105 Lancaster Dr. NE, Salem 97305
(503) 393-7515, Fax:  (503) 463-5464

8. Holy Cross Lutheran Church
1998 Lansing Ave. NE, Salem 97301
(503) 364-6041

9. Morningside United Methodist Church
3674 12th St. SE, Salem 97302
(503) 364-5013, Fax:  (503) 371-2083

10. Our Savior’s Lutheran Church

1770 Baxter Rd. SE, Salem 97306  
(503) 399-8601, Fax:  (503) 370-8710

11. St. Edward Catholic Church
5303 River Rd. N, Keizer 97303
(503) 393-5323, Fax:  (503) 463-5439

12. Salem Alliance Church
555 Gaines St. NE, Salem 97303
(503) 581-2129, Fax:  (503) 399-1375

13. Salem First Free Methodist Church
4455 Silverton Rd NE, Salem 97305
(503) 581-3633, Fax:  (503) 581-3083

14. Salem Mennonite Church
SE Keizer Community Center
1045 Candlewood Dr. NE, Keizer  97303
(503) 390-2715, Fax:  (503) 390-2037

15. Soma Church
735 Edgewater ST, Salem 97304
(503) 689-1995

16. Trinity Covenant Church
The Community Corner
5020 Liberty Rd. S., Salem 97306
(503) 581-5675, Fax:  (503) 585-5499

17. West Salem Foursquare Church
The Dream Center
3094 Gehlar Rd., NW
PO Box 5928, Salem 97304

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