Community engagement in the growing city of Phoenix

(Photo courtesy of Dorina Bustamante)

By Marissa Sanchez

Dorina Bustamante, director of community engagement for Downtown Phoenix Inc. joined the PIN Bureau as a guest speaker this semester. Along with her position with Downtown Phoenix Inc. she is also an active volunteer, committee and coalition member with a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Bustamante said she grew up learning to engage and support her community. Her parents were very involved in Cesar Chavez’s worker’s rights movement. Her family boycotted produce to fight for the rights of migrant farm workers in the Unites States. Serving her community is in her DNA, Bustamante said.

She shared with the PIN Bureau that many organizations meet monthly and they are open to the public, she really encouraged getting involved with the community. This is one way she has created such a great network.

Bustamante said a huge part to engagement is getting to know your community first, and she demonstrated it by getting to know everyone in the PIN Bureau who was present for her visit. She individually asked each person to share a little bit about themselves and at the end of the conversation, she was able to recall something about each individual.

With more than 15 years of professional experience in community development, public/private partnerships, marketing, event production and fundraising, it was impossible for her to share all her works and experience but she gave us insight on one of her projects.

The project started with a bunch of empty lots and vacant buildings, she said. This led to Bustamante working on temporary activations including Ro2 in downtown Phoenix. She asked community members what they wanted to see and worked with the City of Phoenix to make that possible. When it led to a pop-up park in 2010, she was really inspired to see the community involvement come together.

Bustamante was asked, “How is engaging with an upcoming urban city different than others?” She said that she looks back at her time spent in London, and she thinks it’s the perfect city. But London has already been built and it’s done. She said what is special about Phoenix is that there is still so much to be done, it can be anything the community wants it to be. It still has time to develop.

 

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