Organizational History

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative is a nonprofit community-based planning and organizing entity birthed in 1984 out of the passion, ingenuity and determination of Dudley residents seeking to reclaim a neighborhood that had been ravaged by disinvestment, arson fires and dumping. DSNI’s mission is to empower Dudley residents to organize, plan for, create and control a vibrant, diverse and high quality neighborhood in collaboration with community partners.

When many had given up, DSNI dared to gather neighbors to create a comprehensive plan and a shared vision for a new, vibrant urban village. To fulfill the community mandate for development without displacement, DSNI gained eminent domain authority, purchased vacant land, and protected affordability and family stability through a community land trust. The once garbage-strewn vacant lots have been rebuilt with quality affordable houses, parks and playgrounds, gardens, community facilities, and new businesses.

Through our Board structure, residents lead an effort that includes all neighborhood stakeholders in a democratically-elected, community accountable process. Together, we have created greater civic participation, economic opportunity, community connections, and opportunites for youth. We have built community across our diversity –of language, race & ethnicity, age. We have invested in our young people and the youth in turn have invested in the community. 

DSNI Community Values

Values are the beliefs or principles we hold precious. These principles are our internal guidelines for distinguishing what is right from what is wrong and what is just from what is unjust. These principles are held tightly and are not changed or swayed by external forces. 

Collective Resident Leadership and Control

Linked Community Destiny

Community Political Power and Voice

Mutual and Shared Responsibility and Accountability

Power in Organized Community 

Vibrant Cultural Diversity

Community Collaboration

Fair and Equal Share of Resources and Opportunities

Development Without Displacement

High Quality of Life

Individual and Community Entitlement

Anything is Possible

DSNI Youth at one of the organizations earliest neighborhood cleanups 

DSNI Youth at one of the organizations earliest neighborhood cleanups 

Declaration of Community Rights

"In the summer of 1993, DSNI's vision was crystallized again in a "Declaration of Community Rights." The declaration, produced by the Human Development Committee, highlights fundamental DSNI objectives in all areas of community development." --Streets of Hope

We – the youth, adults, seniors of African, Latin American, Caribbean, Native American, Asian and European ancestry – are the Dudley community. Nine years ago (1993), we were Boston’s dumping ground and forgotten neighborhood. Today, we are on the rise! We are reclaiming our dignity, rebuilding housing and reknitting the fabric of our communities. Tomorrow, we realize our vision of a vibrant, culturally diverse neighborhood, where everyone is valued for their talents and contribution to the larger community. We, the residents of the Dudley area, dedicate and declare ourselves to the following:

We have the right to shape the development of all plans, programs and policies likely to affect the quality of our lives as neighborhood residents.

We have the right to quality, affordable health care that is both accessible to all neighborhood residents and culturally sensitive.

We have the right to control the development of neighborhood land in ways which insure adequate open space for parks, gardens, tot lots and a range of recreational uses.

We have the right to live in a hazard-free environment that promotes the health and safety of our families.

We have the right to celebrate the vibrant cultural diversity of the neighborhood through all artistic forms of expression.

We have the right to education and training that will encourage our children, youth, adults and elders to meet their maximum potentials.

We have the right to share in the jobs and prosperity created by economic development initiatives in metro-Boston generally, and in the neighborhood specifically.

We have the right to quality and affordable housing in the neighborhood as both tenants and homeowners.

We have the right to quality and affordable child care responsive to the distinct needs of the child and family as well as available in a home or center-based setting.

We have the right to safe and accessible public transportation serving the neighborhood.

We have the right to enjoy quality goods and services, made available through an active, neighborhood-based commercial district.

We have the right to enjoy full spiritual and religious life in appropriate places of worship.

We have the right to safety and security in our homes and in our neighborhoods.