Madison’s Northside boundary (click to download)

History of the Northside Planning Council

NPC began in 1993 with City support and has grown into one of Madison’s most successful and effective community organizations. NPC has won numerous awards for community achievement, including a Neighborhood of the Year Award from Neighborhoods USA and the CDBG 30 Year Madison Community Development Award. NPC works with diverse community leaders from 26 neighborhood, business, senior, faith, school and community center groups. Our citizen leaders, supported by professional capacity-building staff, assess the needs of the Northside community, develop partnerships and actively lead advocacy and organizing efforts to meet our community’s goals and address issues.

For 20 years, NPC has partnered with the City to transform an unorganized, socially fragmented and politically ignored community into Madison’s most engaged, informed and best-organized community with a strong identity and high quality of life. Major accomplishments include organizing 11 new neighborhood associations, partnering with the City to build Warner Park Community Recreation Center, organizing the award-winning Troy Gardens project, successfully advocating for a new grocery store, an expanded library and better schools, publishing the Northside News community newspaper, and developing the “Northside Brand”  and “Community Vision.”

Today, the most significant issues facing Madison’s Northside Neighborhood, center around economic hardship (poverty, job loss, disinvestment, visual blight, etc.). NPC recognizes we must further engage our community to enhance the Northside Neighborhood’s capacity, so as to better lead Community-based Economic Development (CED) opportunities (actively inspiring the rebuilding and investment of our community economically from within).  It is imperative we connect and address the needs of both the residential and business community, to invest in and promote strategies that will enhance the entire Northside community.  These efforts begin with the creation of new partnerships centered on fostering new neighborhood investments to promote betterment opportunities.

For example, a new Economic Development Coalition of community business partners has formed to begin outlining marketing strategies for the Northside.  New jobs will be formed from the creation of our Commercial Kitchen Incubator, (operating by Spring 2012), and a new partnership with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) is underway, supporting micro-enterprises and strengthening our outreach to small businesses and entrepreneurs.  We are working diligently with the Alders and City officials to execute beautification projects and re-brand the Northside with a community atmosphere that inspires and welcomes residents and visitors. These efforts are part of NPC’s leadership in implementing the City’s Northport-Warner-Sherman Neighborhood Plan. We continue to celebrate our diversity and identity through our Community-wide Council meetings, where participants can connect with other Northsiders, plan solutions to community issues, gain and provide input on community topics, receive updates from Alders and community leaders and sign up to volunteer on NPC project teams. Our bi-monthly 32 page Northside News Newspaper continues to support and represent the pulse of the community as well as communicate with those unable to participate in meetings and project teams.

The NPC Mission’s is to improve the quality of life for all residents of the Northside community and to enhance opportunities for businesses. NPC’s priorities for 2013 are


COMMUNITY – Communication and Connections within the Northside Community

A.    Support and enhance communication for the Northside

  1. Publish and continuously improve the Northside News as the primary communications tool for the Northside
  2. Continue to develop the NorthsideMadison website and use for communication in between newspapers
  3. Integrate print and online media tools such as Northside News,, Facebook and Twitter

B.    Serve as a key convener of Northside events

  1. Convene community events on current issues and identified interests
  2. Host the annual North Star Awards to celebrate individuals, organizations, and businesses making a difference. Note in 2013 the event will be to celebrate the NPC 20th anniversary
  3. Co-convene other events as appropriate with partners

C.    Engage with the community to understand the overall needs of Northside community

  1. Convene a quarterly Non-Profits gathering and develop ways to work together to benefit the Northside
  2. Conduct an annual survey of community and business leaders and the general community to stay current on issues and priorities
  3. Update key economic, demographic, and community metrics to share at annual State of the Northside event

PEOPLE – Individuals and Families

A.    Facilitate awareness of and access to services

1.      Use Northside News and other resources to highlight available services

B.    Partner with others to identify service needs

  1. Use Non-Profit meetings to identify gaps and share information on who does what to strengthen referral network

C.    Foster development of additional needed services

  1. Advocate for needed services with governmental and foundation funding sources
  2. Partner with service providers on grant opportunities

D.    Work with partners to coordinate youth efforts on the Northside

  1. Work with core team and youth to develop the NS Youth Council and organize a NS Youth Summit
  2. Work with youth, Neighborhood Resource Team, UW-Extension, MSCR, WPCRC, local schools, Youth Services of South Central Wisconsin, NS community centers, and other partners to coordinate Northside youth efforts

E.    Support Neighborhood Associations

  1. Maintain up to date information on active neighborhood associations (NA)
  2. Engage with NAs, and support as needed or requested such as:
    1. Serve as fiscal agent for grants
    2. Publish articles and event notices in the Northside News
    3. Attend NA meetings to provide Northside and NPC updates
    4. Convene occasional meetings to support NA leaders


BUSINESS – Economic Success and Growth tor the Northside

A.    Promote the Northside as a great place to live, work, play, start or grow a business

  1. Work with city and community leaders and staff to market the Northside as a place for businesses to locate or expand
  2. Partner with neighborhoods, businesses, and other organizations
  3. Develop and use print and video materials to highlight Northside strengths and potential

B.    Support existing businesses

1.    Collaborate with, and support as appropriate, Northside Business Association activities

2.    Publish the Northside News and other media tools to support and highlight Northside businesses

3.    Partner with businesses on Northside events

C.    Encourage and support new investments

1.    Assist City Alders and others in efforts to locate new, or expand existing businesses

  1. Convene the Northside Economic Development Council of business leaders to support and promote the Northside
  2. Support entrepreneurs and small businesses through partnerships with Small Office Home Office (SOHO) and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Innovation Corporation (WWBIC)

D.    Create and operate the FEED Kitchen project

  1. Assist and support food entrepreneurs
  2. Help promote the Northside as an important area for the local food movement
  3. Develop new partnerships and opportunities for job training