A City Movement

See yourself and your city in a radical way

City Summit is a movement that takes seriously the prophet’s call to seek the peace and prosperity of our city (Jer 29.7). City Summit asks the question, “What is God doing in our city and how can we join him?” Amidst the challenges that face each neighborhood in our city, we believe the residents have the answer to those challenges. What originally started as a conference to equip those engaged in Christian Community Development work has become a rallying point for a new generation to get engaged in God’s kingdom work in our city.

Tell

Gather together to tell one another the stories of God’s work in our city through the power of holistic transformation.

Envision

Invite a new generation of Christians in to the vision and history of God’s work in Fresno through Christian Community Development.

Glean

Encourage those that are currently engaged in urban ministry in Fresno and allow them a space to pass on their wisdom.

Network

Connect individuals and organizations together to expand capacity and create a new community of kingdom workers.

We believe

that the church is the hope for change in our city

God is in the process of making all things new (Rev 21:5) and he is using his church and his people to do it. City Summit is about telling a different story of Fresno; One of hope and one of promise. City Summit is primarily for people in their 20’s and 30’s who want to explore what it might look like for them to seek the transformation of their city but older leaders participate in City Summit too as mentors and partners in the process. Whether you are new to thinking about God’s heart for the city or have been in this work for a long time you will find something of interest that will ignite your vision and resource you for what God has for you. You will hear about models of empowering action in place now in our city rather than dependency-creating strategies based on charity or hand-outs.

City Summit 2015 will be the 9th year of City Summit. City Summit was inspired by the large Christian Community Development movement and national conference. Desiring to bring the same equipping and connecting opportunity to Fresno,  a group of leaders led by Phil Skei, Randy White, H. Spees and Artie Padilla got together to shape what was originally a training event for CCD leaders. As the vision continued to grow, emerging leaders were added to the conversation and the focus of City Summit began to shift towards equipping and mobilizing a younger generation.

Come be a part of a community that is looking for the Spirit of God to ignite people across the city to join with vulnerable people in under-resourced neighborhoods to build sustainable solutions together.

How do I get involved?

We hear people say often that they want to get involved, but they do not know how… that is why we created OnRamps. OnRamps are ways that you can get connected and involved with organizations that take seriously God’s call to see his Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10). Below is a list of organizations we would recommend you check out and get connected to!

Care Fresno

While our goal remains the same, Care Fresno has entered a new era with a focus on Local Missions. Today, churches do not simply adopt a neighborhood, but we actually move Christian leaders into these communities and train them to serve their community with their whole lives.

Website

The Center for Community Transformation

The Center for Community Transformation is working toward God’s abundant community in the Central Valley. It exists to research concentrated poverty solutions, convene leaders around those solutions and train individuals, churches and agencies in community transformation. Volunteers can get involved by supporting any of its seven core initiatives, two of which include Financial Literacy Training for low income communities and GED completion. Volunteers with journalistic skills can write features on innovative ministries for its website and publications.

Website

Central Valley Justice Coalition

The Central Valley Justice Coalition’s mission is to empower the church and community to bring holistic and lasting change to those affected by human trafficking. The Coalition is a group of leaders from churches and organizations in the greater Fresno area who believe God has called the church to lead the way in fighting modern day slavery. We focus on prevention, mobilization, partnership and holistic care.

Phone: (559) 725-1865

Website

City Without Orphans

The Mission of City Without Orphans is to partner and equip churches, families and service providers to help all children in the Fresno County child welfare system be placed in a loving home. Functioning as the bridge in our community, we hold free workshops on foster care and adoption and speak on tangible needs for kids in care. We have helped churches with drives for items to donate to youth in foster care, educated and recruited for CASA, provided resources of support of foster/adoptive families within our community and are working on a mentorship program.

Website

Every Neighborhood Partnership

It is the mission of ENP to help churches holistically engage every neighborhood. THE GOAL: to see schools supported, students excel, healthy families, and a thriving community. Programs like Saturday Sports provide an opportunity to establish a presence in the community and get to know the children and their families.

Volunteers can also serve as as classroom tutors, host Community Meetings, Financial Workshops, Parenting, or English Classes. It’s all about the relationships and ENP believes that The Church has an amazing opportunity to love our neighbors and in the process make a difference in our city.

Website

FIFUL (Pink House & FUI)

InterVarsity’s Fresno Institute for Urban Leadership (or FIFUL) offers a variety of opportunities for young adults to get involved in urban ministry, grow as a leader, and be transformed! Options range from The Pink House, which is a 10 month program (August 2014 to June 2015), to Fresno Urban Internship, which is a 6 week program (June 26, 2014-Aug. 4th, 2014), where you will live in the downtown area, serve alongside agencies, explore issues of urban poverty, racial and economic injustice, immigration and the systems and structures of a city.

Phone: (559) 492-7889

Website

The HUB

The Hub is a 10 month training for students who want to go deeper in their faith; focusing on leadership development, biblical community and urban ministry. Residents relocate into an impoverished west Fresno neighborhood. Residents learn from experienced ministry and community development practitioners. Putting new knowledge into action, residents serve at various agencies and churches, getting hands-on experience in holistic urban ministry.

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The Micah Project

The Micah Project is a 10 month discipleship experience.  Participants live in community in the Micah Project apartments while exploring church and urban ministry, and growing in leadership development.

Website

No More Slumlords

No More Slumlords is an art and multimedia campaign working to challenge the status quo of the slumlord industry that has a grasp on our city. Through the use of videos, photos, print media and social media we are creating awareness about the issue and stirring people to action. Our goal is to bring an end to the slumlord industry in Fresno. This is a complex issue that has plagued Fresno for over forty years and needs to change. If you are interested, consider joining the fight.

Phone: (559) 512-0255

Website

Be a Sponsor for 2015

City Summit’s target audience is 20-30 year old Christians that are looking to or are actively engaged in intentional outreach in our city. If this is who you are trying to reach we would love to partner with you! Our annual City Summit event attendance has ranged from 200-400 with a larger audience on Facebook, Twitter and the web. There are a variety of sponsorship levels to meet your budget. Below is a link to our form.

Be a Sponsor

March  2015
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  • Night Walks Training
    Starts:March 13, 2015 - 10:00 pm
    Ends: March 14, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Location: 1104 Collins Ave, Fresno, CA 93706, USA
    Description: Dear Pastors and Community Leaders,



    I pray that this letter finds you, you families, and your ministries all doing well.



    Over the past couple of years our ‘Night Walks’ team has engaged several neighborhoods in our city in an effort to promote peace, discourage violence, and connect the people we encounter with needs and services that will enahnce their quatily of life. We currently have 6 walks in neighborhoods across our city. Night Walks is proving to be an effective and relevent ministry in our community.



    We have had an extraordinary experience meeting the people of our community, sharing in their needs and actively praying in faith for the families as we walk. The feedback has been phenomenal.



    We are continuing with plans to expand our walks to other neighborhoods and times that will accomidate your schedule as you consider becoming part of this ministry.



    Please join us Friday, March 13, 2015, at the Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church located at 1104 Collins Ave. We will begin promptly at 6pm.



    We plan to present details regarding our progress and strategies that we believe will empower our local houses of worship and community organizations to create relationships with the people of our community.



    By bringing together committed community members, pastors, faith and lay-leaders united by a shared concern for peace and the lack of opportunity facing many people in our city, we will bridge gaps and present new hope to those in need. Our goal is to listen, love, and learn, and to use our experiences to advocate for changes in policy that will promote healing and opportunity for those who are suffering.



    Partner with us as we work together to address the causes of pervasive violence and crime in our communities by advocating for policies and resources that contribute to the healing of our communities.



    If you are unable to attend, please feel free to send a representative ,.
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  • In-Town Prayer Summit
    Starts:March 19, 2015 - 1:00 pm
    Ends: March 19, 2015 - 7:00 pm
    Location: Campus Bible Church, 4710 North Maple Avenue, Fresno, CA 93726, United States
    Description: Pastor Bob would like to invite you to the one day, in-town, Prayer Summit. It is on Thursday, March 19th, 9am-3pm at Campus Bible Church. See the attached for more information and to RSVP (free and lunch is provided so please RSVP).
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  • Fresno City Summit 2015
    Starts:March 20, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Ends: March 22, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Location: Cornerstone Church, 1545 Fulton Street, Fresno, CA 93721, United States
    Description: 2015.fresnocitysummit.org
  • Lisa Sharon Harper (Leader Invite) - Special Session
    Starts:March 20, 2015 - 5:30 pm
    Ends: March 20, 2015 - 6:30 pm
    Location: Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, 1717 South Chestnut Avenue, Fresno, CA 93702, United States
    Description: Dear Colleague,

    The CCT would like to invite you to a leader-level conversation with a remarkable woman, Lisa Sharon Harper, Friday, March 20, 1:30-2:30 at the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary (corner of Chestnut & Butler. Park at Vallarta & walk over). Lisa is an award winning playwright, and national mobilizer for Sojourners, involved in seeking transformational change in communities across the country. He new book Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Zondervan, 2014) is being well received as a humble and balanced apology for a church that has not always been at the forefront of justice. Lisa is the keynote speaker for the City Summit conference on Christian community development that same weekend in Fresno, but has agreed to spend time with us before hand in dialogue with leaders about things that are not always easy to address.

    Please consider spending this hour with this gifted leader. There is no charge. She will reserve half of her time for interaction and Q&A. You and your associates, as well as key lay-leaders in your church or group are welcome.

    Peace and Plenty,

    Randy
    ___________________________
    Rev. Dr. Randy White
    Executive Director
    FPU Center for Community Transformation
    Associate Professor of Community Transformation
    Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary
    1717 S Chestnut Ave., Fresno, CA 93702
    559.453.2366 (office) 559.285.9206 (cell)
    website: http://www.TransformCentralValley.org
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  • Fresno City Summit 2015
    Starts:March 20, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Ends: March 22, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Location: Cornerstone Church, 1545 Fulton Street, Fresno, CA 93721, United States
    Description: 2015.fresnocitysummit.org
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  • Come and Pray
    Starts:March 24, 2015 - 11:00 pm
    Ends: March 25, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Location: North Fresno Church (Mennonite Brethren), Fresno, CA 93710, United States
    Description: One of the staff at YFC is putting on a prayer opportunity. If you know of anyone who would be interested in coming to pray for the schools in the city, please pass along this opportunity to Come and Pray (attached is the PDF).

    The goal is to see people come together and pray for schools (elementary, MS, HS). It will be just an hour and will consist of corporate prayer and small groups.

    Please share if you can. Excited to be coming together to pray!
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  • PICO California Regional Town Hall with Board of State and Community Corrections- Central Valley
    Starts:March 26, 2015 - 10:00 pm
    Ends: March 27, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Location: Westside Church of God, 1422 West California Avenue, Fresno, CA 93706, United States
    Description: Join ​us ​and ​the ​Board ​of ​State ​and ​Community ​Corrections ​(BSCC)*, ​one ​of ​the ​most ​important ​criminal ​justice ​agency ​in ​California, ​to ​discuss ​regional ​and ​state ​priorities ​for ​violence ​reduction, ​expanding ​alternatives ​to ​incarceration, ​and ​reducing ​recidivism.
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Blog & Media

A Look at the History of Fresno City Summit

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By Ed Boling

As we head into Fresno City Summit 2015 we wanted to give you a quick thumbnail sketch at the conditions that birthed the City Summit movement, it’s enduring ideals, and a history of locations and speakers.

Randy White and H. Spees were among the first relocators in the Lowell Neighborhood roughly 20 years ago. Each of them shared recollections of the conditions that started the City Summit movement.

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Randy White leading a breakout at Fresno City Summit 2013 in the back of Neighborhood Thrift’s box truck because of rain.

Though City Summit is only eight years old, what was happening in Fresno over 20 years ago caused the early rumblings of this movement. There were a number of great ministries operating in South Fresno in the early 90s: Salvation Army, Poverello House, Evangel Home, Evangelicals for Social Action and others.

Both Randy and H use the term Christ-centered civic renewal. This term describes the need to lean into all areas of need for long-term change. They have been very intentional about engaging the next generation with this concept. For two decades, 10 to 12 students have learned the heart of Christ-centered civic renewal at the Pink House and moved into Lowell.

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H. Spees interviewing John Perkins at Fresno City Summit 2014.

There was a growing awareness that the city needed the gospel, as well as the idea that personal transformation and social transformation are closely connected. Evangelism brings you face to face with people and their needs. This proximity necessitates social response. Development takes you into the systems and structures, which are revealed to be racist, oppressive and unjust. The gospel ministers to the whole person, the whole church, and whole community.

In the early 90s, the Brookings Report revealed dramatic poverty in Fresno, especially downtown, to the rest of the world. Fresno became a full-blown urban city with all the issues the country has witnessed among urban communities. The Rodney King riots, though centered in LA, spilled over into urban neighborhoods across the nation, including Fresno. Fresno began to lose it’s soul.

During this time, the No Name Fellowship formed. The strength and uniqueness of this group was its inclusivity of multiple churches, business people, public officers, private company leaders, nonprofits, etc.

Simultaneously, other substantial groups sprang to life, impassioned for social transformation: Hope Now for Youth, One by One Leadership, Every Neighborhood Partnership, InterVarsity, Fresno Institute For Urban Leadership (FIFUL), the Pink House, Street Saints, and Youth for Christ; churches began getting much more involved holistically;ots of neighborhood groups were formed. The Fresno Business Council engaged, as well.

More recently, Central Valley Justice Coalition, No More Slumlords, and lots of other focused movements have emerged. Randy and H have witnessed the next generation taking hold of the needs of their city.

Twenty years later, these ideas are gaining grip in the younger generation. The current generation is so much more in tune with racial reconciliation, holistic ministry, love for the city. They are moving into tough neighborhoods and mentoring people. They see their career as critical to transforming the city, whether that career is church-based, public-centered, or private enterprise.

This is the environment that has birthed the City Summit movement. The summit has created a new normal, where Christ-centered community renewal is the new normal. Structures have grown and exist for people to join the movement in a plethora of ways. It is practical, not just theory.

Creating motivation and perspective to get people to take onramps to involvement continues to be the goal of city summit. City Summit started with about 10 to 15 people going to the national CCDA conference every year, many of whom decided to create a small, regional conference. The idea was to begin to think about community development in a standard way.

In 2008, about 50 people came together. The second year, 70 people gathered to expand the movement. And 100 people attended the third year. In 2013, it had grown to almost 400.

  • In 2008, CCDA founder John Perkins answered the question, “What is CCD?” at Cornerstone Church.
  • In 2009, Craig Wong spoke about the role of the church and Glen Kehrein addressed reconciliation. The location was Westside Church of God.
  • In 2010,  Lula Ballton discussed a practioner approach to community development and Aaron Graham illuminated immigration issues and the plight of vulnerable people. The location was Powerhouse and First Pres
  • In 2011, CCDA President Noel Castellanos and Crissy Brooks were the keynote speakers. The location was The ROCK Church.
  • In 2012, Jonathan Brooks was the keynote speaker at Central Community Church.
  • In 2013, John Perkins returned to talk about CCD at the Christian Temple.
  • In 2014, Soong-Chan Rah spoke on lament at Fresno First Baptist.

The City Summit movement is now at the point of being a stewardship issue. The original planners gained momentum, but it is now owned by a new generation. Movements are fragile. They need stewardship. Maintaining momentum requires surveying the landscape.

In order to be good stewards, 3 key questions to ask at this point in the movement include:

  1. Where should this go from here?
  2. Who are the key leaders that need encouragement?
  3. Who do we need to send to CCDA National?

Thanks to Randy and H for sharing their recollections and for their visionary leadership and guidance for the heart of the city of Fresno.

Join the movement by registering today for Fresno City Summit 2015!

Fresno City Summit 2015 Returns to it’s Roots at Cornerstone Church

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by Ed Boling

Fresno City Summit 2015 is returning to its roots and a beautiful venue. Everyone involved with City Summit is very excited to see the annual conference return to downtown Fresno. The first City Summit in 2008 was held at Cornerstone Church, and we return to the strategically located, beautiful old theatre/church this year.

Everyone at Cornerstone is excited as well. Pastor Jim Franklin is thrilled. Staff and church members from Cornerstone have attended the City Summit every year. Over the last 8 years, the neighborhood has transformed and will undergo a massive transformation in 2015, as the Fulton Mall becomes open to traffic again after 50 years.

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Pastor’s Jim & Cyndi Franklin

Not only has the development of all kinds of loft options come to Fulton, but Cornerstone has also housed Kepler Neighborhood School last year and this year. Pastor Nate Franklin said the school has brought a lot of life to the neighborhood. He loves hearing the kids at recess from several blocks away from the church. Members of the church are on staff at Kepler and have kids who attend. The new lofts have also brought new members to the church. Pastor Jim’s son, Nate, joined the staff roughly a year ago and lives in a nearby loft.

Pastor Jim said there was no neighborhood on Fulton just 5 years ago. Cornerstone moved into the deserted area in 1997, because they had outgrown their facility and chose to buy the Wilson Theatre. He expressed gratitude for the fact that Cornerstone is now at the heart of new development in Fresno. They are becoming a neighborhood church. And the congregation reflects the diversity of Fresno proper.

The congregation is the neighborhood. They were in the gangs and food lines; now they are reaching out to others. Rudy Reyna is Executive Pastor and grew up in Fresno.

Pastor Jim joked that he is a minority. He’s telling the truth with regards to race anyway. He is not in the minority with regards to having a heart for the heart of the city.

He calls it blue-collar Christianity… love with it’s sleeves rolled up. Cornerstone’s staff includes a total of 5 pastors leading a 2,500 member church. Church members have grabbed the vision of serving South Fresno and run with it. They’ve run Feeding Fresno a long time. They’ve been involved in gang outreach for 20 years with today’s leaders being the gang members who were reached in years past. In fact, much of the church’s congregation has come from the gang life.

Michael and Grace DeJuarez lead the GANG (God’s Answer to Neighborhood Gangs) outreach at Cornerstone, after having come to faith as a result of the ministry.

The GANG outreach was on the ground, loving their neighbors with their sleeves rolled up after the recent shooting of 9-year Janessa Ramirez. They were also at ground zero when a woman was shot downtown the morning of Janessa’s funeral, which was hosted at Cornerstone.

As City Summit we are excited to return to Cornerstone and grateful for their partnership in this event.

Register for City Summit 2015 today!

Kepler Neighborhood School: A Sign of Change in the City

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By Ed Boling

As we look towards Fresno City Summit 2015 we wanted to let you know about the amazing transformation that is happening on the campus of Cornerstone Church where City Summit will be hosted.

God is doing something new in our city and is rebuilding what has been broken. Kepler Neighborhood School is an example of a something that has offered a new sense of hope to the future of elementary education in urban Fresno.

Kepler Neighborhood School which is currently housed on the campus of Cornerstone Church has grown up fast in its first two years. The school is very much like an elementary student: young, learning at a rapid pace, trusting, influenced greatly by it’s surroundings. But this school is different than others, just like all kids.

Kepler was birthed by Valerie Blackburn and Shiela Skibbie after years of thoughtful prayer and careful planning. Their guiding question through the past several years of planning and implementing has been: What helps children learn? Their answer has been: let’s do whatever that looks like. That means starting where individual students are in their learning and working from there.

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Shiela Skibbie (left), Dr. Christine Montanez (center) & Valerie Blackburn (right)

Valerie serves as Kepler’s Curriculum and Teaching Coordinator, Dr. Christine Montanez serves as Kepler’s Principal, while Shiela serves as Vice-Principal and office manager. Valerie and Shiela came to the place of founding a charter school from different paths, but found each other along the way.

Valerie taught at Jefferson Elementary east of the Lowell School District. She then home schooled her children for 10 years before returning to the public school classroom. Something had happened in the 10 years she was out of the classroom. She didn’t like it. Teachers are now too restricted, she said. Teaching and learning were no longer a joy. It has become a chore for teachers, students and parents.

Shiela moved to Lowell in 1998 after being part of the founding group at the Pink House. Her husband, Steve, and she were involved in InterVarsity Leadership. She also lead reading and Bible clubs at the World Impact building before becoming a public school teacher in Selma. She left the classroom to stay home with her first born; returned to teaching at Valley Art and Science Academy; then chose to stay home with her second born also. That’s when she decided she wanted to start her own charter school.

Together they spent two years writing the charter for Kepler and are fast approaching the end of their second year as a charter school.

Under the charter, the focus at Kepler is on small group, project-based and service-learning from Kindergarten through Eighth grade. That means every grade level is taught more like a Kindergarten class – kids move from station to station, working on projects at their own pace with guidance from teachers. Subjects are integrated, rather than separated. It also means that teachers and students don’t work toward passing tests, they apply learning to neighborhood needs.

Each grade level has an annual theme. For example, Kepler’s 8th Grade class theme is “Extreme City Revitalization.”

Jessica Mast teaches the 8th grade class and she had a love for downtown Fresno before she decided to get into teaching. She went through the Pink House in 2010 after first living in the area for a year. She moved to the Lowell Neighborhood while she was a Youth Pastor at Onramps Church.

She loves that she gets to walk home from work and that the school has a real connection to the community that doesn’t exist in traditional schools. The school cares about downtown and the surrounding community, Jessica said. She added that Kepler exists to grow people who love Fresno. The four walls of the classroom are permeable in both directions. Students experience downtown with regular walking field trips and downtown comes to the classroom as students need.

To illustrate how small groups, projects and service-learning come together at Kepler, here is what Jessica’s 8th graders are doing throughout their final year of elementary school.
Kepler 8th graders:

study historical buildings in Fresno,
create computer models of buildings,
study their architects and purposes,
write letters to city council about what to do with the old buildings,
talk to town hall meetings about their findings,
and write a business plan for a product to sell at Peeve’s Public House.

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Not only is the classroom different, affecting the student experience. But the connection to the community is much closer, also affecting the student experience. Classes take regular walking tours within a 2.5 mile radius of the school. Valerie shared that students have visited and interacted with Ivan Paz’ martial arts, CMAC, Pink House, FIFUL, World Impact, IdeaWorks, Peeve’s Public House and other businesses along the Fulton Mall. Many downtown community people also visit the school to lend guidance to students.

Jessica shared some of the story of a Lowell kid who is getting guidance at Kepler, church and neighborhood development, when he would most likely slip through the cracks of a traditional school. This particular kid comes from a family with former gang affiliations, but has chosen to break those old gang ties. But still a boy feels the pull between being a good student and the pull of the gang life.

This is a “neighborhood” school. Fresno High Schools will be lucky to get these kids who know and love Fresno. The Fresno community will be lucky to get these kids who know and love Fresno also.

This young school is growing up fast! The school-neighborhood tie is so much stronger than at a traditional school. 

It appears that if Kepler stays on it’s successful trajectory, it will meet those challenges with the same vigor, spirit and community support that helps a child be successful in life.

Come to Fresno City Summit 2015 to hear similar stories of transformation in individual lives and our institutions!

Register here.

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Contact

We are all about community.

We would love to hear your suggestions, comments, and/or questions. Please use the form to the right to send us a quick email and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

City Summit
info@fresnocitysummit.org

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