HISTORY & MISSION
The Billy Taylor House is a grassroots non-profit organization founded by residents of Providence RI’s East Side, who desire to promote youth engagement for the well-being of the community as a whole. The organization has its origins in the mentorship of the late William “Billy” Taylor, after whom the park on Camp Street is named for his exemplary work in the 1980s with youth from the Mt. Hope Neighborhood.
Since Billy's untimely death at the age of 29 there has been a steady decline in the amount of services youth ages 15-21 in the Mount Hope area have had access to. Noticing this need for youth engagement in the neighborhood a group of concerned residents of Mount Hope began to rally together in order to acquire the abandoned property that Billy used to live in, 185 Camp Street, and turn it into programming that supports youth in the pursuit of their dreams.
In support of the dream, on September 5, 2013, President of Bank of America, Bill Hatfield donated the foreclosed property, Speaker of the House, Gordon Fox cleared some red tape, Mayor Angel Taveras’ agreed to match fundraising efforts, Hall of Fame Singer and Song Writer Jeffrey Osborne donated $5,000, and Councilman Kevin Jackson, who represents the ward, secured $74,000 of Community Development Block Grant money to fix up the three-story building.
Billy Taylor House begins construction on the commercial real estate located at the bottom of 185 Camp Street. The space will house a cafe that will provide employment opportunities and placements for youth participants of Billy Taylor House. Gilbane construction company steps in and volunteers to GC the project with Building Futures and local contractors and painters unions stepping in to assist with volunteer labor to complete construction.
Construction on the bottom half of Billy Taylor House is completed and a partnership is made with Hometown Poke to operate and run the cafe to help offset the need for outside sources of funding and to provide placement opportunities for youth in the summer jobs program. Hometown Poke is a successful business that started out as a food truck and has since found its home with the Billy Taylor House in the Mount Hope community.
Our mission is to ignite the ambition of Providence’s most disconnected young people. We accomplish it by providing regular enrichment activities, post secondary educational opportunities and a workforce development program that afford youth the opportunity to trade crime, violence, and poverty for social cohesion and economic vitality.