The City of Louisville agreed to host the first RNNC in 1987. The Conference was marketed throughout the region, while the major thrust was for each member city to receive a block of registration materials to distribute to their communities. In addition to neighborhood leaders, people from universities and foundations were also involved.
Two organizational groups were formed, the Host Committee and the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee was comprised of representatives of the RNNC. The Host Committee did all the legwork in pulling the Conference together locally. The Steering Committee came to Louisville on two occasions leading up to the event. The first was to brainstorm with the Host Committee about workshop topics and to develop a pool of potential speakers.
By design an effort was made to use suggested speakers from all the members’ cities so the registrants could immediately see that their solutions were included.
The group acknowledged that after input was given on a variety of themes and such, the final determinations of organizational and logistical aspects of the Conference should be entrusted to the Host Committee. The second RNNC meeting occurred about six weeks prior to the Conference so the Steering Committee could get the final version of what was expected.
It was the Host City’s job to raise money for the Conference. Keynote speakers were asked to share messages that challenged and lifted neighborhoods yet were non-partisan.
The first Conference was a rousing success and momentum was established. Cities rented vans or buses to get neighborhood people to the conferences. There were between 350-400 people at the first one.
The City of Louisville also hosted the 2nd Annual Regional Neighborhood Network Conference in 1988. During the early years it only made sense for Louisville to host it because of the commitment we made to the organization and we had the full buy-in of the Mayor’s office. The second conference drew several new faces as well as a strong contingent of people who were there in the first year. This solidified the relationship between neighborhood leaders from different communities and things took off from there.