Rev. Charles Dorsey (2nd from right) and COR CDC staff pose with Santa.
Rev. Charles Dorsey (2nd from right) and COR CDC staff pose with Santa. (photo by Brittany K. Jackson)
Children at Northpointe Apartments received basketballs at the event. (photo by Brittany K. Jackson)
Children at Northpointe Apartments received basketballs at the event. (photo by Brittany K. Jackson)

COR Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Avanath Capital Management partnered with Cottonwood Church on December 19 to provide hundreds of residents living in the Northpointe Apartments in Long Beach with exclusive toy giveaways, books, a catered breakfast and a special reason to give thanks for their fully-equipped living quarters, now complete with a newly constructed basketball court.

Spearheaded by the Rev. Mark Whitlock, COR CDC president/CEO and senior minister of Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Irvine, the dynamic event joined several community members, city officials, law enforcement and partners in Long Beach for some holiday cheer.

The Rev. Charles Dorsey, COR CDC’s Executive Director, said, “Our goal is to empower and transform communities. Ultimately, there are people who suffer from lack of opportunity, a lack of relationship, and we’re here to provide that.”

Daryl Carter, CEO and Founder of Avanath Capital Management, is in the “business of owning and managing affordable apartment communities” in California and throughout the United States. Sharing his company’s approach, Carter said, “We thought that we could create a group paradigm around affordable housing. Our philosophy is investing in brick and mortar and we also invest into the community.

“We have a thousand kids here at Northpointe Apartments, and the key part of our investment is to invest into these one thousand kids with the goal that they can achieve their version of the American Dream. So, what we do is just create a clean, safe environment that’s supportive of those ambitions,” Carter continued.

Supportive is an understatement. The Northpointe Apartments are complete with a massive swimming pool, full service gym, playground, learning center, clubhouse, and basketball court, among other amenities.

City of Long Beach 8th District Councilmember Al Austin also came out to support community members at the opening of the brand new basketball court. “The transformation here is real, it’s profound and it just gets better and better. Often times I hear of big promises, but they [Avanath] have delivered,” Austin said. ”We are truly working to improve the quality of not only this community, but my district and the city as a whole. Austin also spoke of plans to build a park across the street from the apartments, a project currently in development.

John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, a financial literacy organization, shed light on the cultural significance of the event and the brains behind the commercial development.

“I came here because I believe in Daryl Carter. He’s a black man controlling a billion dollars’ worth of assets around this country. This a $150 million, 500-unit complex that a Black man, at a time when Black men are being eviscerated on TV, is talking about partnerships and prosperity and people,” Carter said. “He’s making his money legally and paying his taxes, raising his children and being a role-model.”

“Today we’ve invested over 2 million dollars in underserved neighborhoods, and now we’re [Operation HOPE] is all over the world,” Bryant continued. “But I’m right here in Long Beach today because I think that in that audience today was a gymnast, was a ballerina, was a professional dancer, and were a bunch of business people, maybe even a Steve Jobs,” he declared.

Hermia Shegog Whitlock, chief operating officer of COR CDC, said establishing their partnership with Avanath was critical to providing essential resources to communities throughout Southern California. “Together, we provide social services, after-school programming and mentorship programs for the residents of Northpointe Apartments and we’re just glad to be here,” she said.

“We’ve done all sorts of upgrades since we purchased the property about a year ago, so we wanted to make sure that the residents here knew that we care about them, and not just once or twice a year, but periodically.

“At COR CDC, we’re always looking for additional opportunities to bring resources, to bring community, to bring our law enforcement, to bring everybody in here so that the residents know that they are going to grow while here at Northpointe Apartments,” she continued.

Other key players and partners that contributed to making the event a huge success included Kaniesha Washington, COR CDC residential services coordinator, Cottonwood Church, COR AME Church and Success In Challenges.

COR CDC is the “non-profit arm of Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church located in Irvine,” and is “one of the only faith based, African American community development corporations in Orange County in a unique position to field the needs of underserved communities, providing services in the areas of education, financial literacy and affordable housing.”