Joseph Porcelli, the well-known founder of JP-based NeighborsForNeighbors.org, is shutting down what he calls his "labor of love."
Neighbors For Neighbors provided a platform for residents not only to connect with one another around shared interests, but also to organize to get stuff done. Porcelli kept the network going after he moved to Washington, D.C. several years ago. He said he'll shut the site down by the end of June. But at the same time, he's encouraging people to join Nextdoor.com, a national platform that shares many of the same goals Neighbors For Neighbors had.
Porcelli's new role is managing strategic partnerships for Nextdoor.com all along the east coast.
"It's a dream come true," Porcelli said in a phone interview on Monday, "doing what I love most: Bringing neighbors together."
Porcelli started Neighbors For Neighbors in part to respond to crime in his neighborhood near Stony Brook T. He grew the network to encompass all of JP and many of Boston's other neighborhoods.
San Francisco-based Nextdoor.com, which launched in 2011, aims to create communities of about 750 households each in JP and Boston neighborhoods. The idea is akin to neighborhood email lists, except that the platform has much more functionality. Residency is checked, full names are required and the resulting network is private.
Nextdoor.com is in all 50 states, said Kelsey Grady, head of communications for the firm. The company is running on more than $100 million in venture capital investment right now, she said. The business plan for Nextdoor.com is eventually to monetize the networks by connecting members and local merchants, she said.
"We have a few years of runway," Grady said.
Some observers have compared the effort to Patch, a network of hyperlocal news and community sites originally run by AOL, but Grady said there's a big difference: There's no editorial content on the site. Everything will come directly from members for other members within their private neighborhood group.
Porcelli said Nextdoor.com will be a place where verified neighbors with real first and last names create trust with one another.
If you'd like to learn more about Nextdoor.com (or just see Porcelli while he's back in the neighborhood), he's hosting a happy hour at Bella Luna/Milky Way form 6-8 p.m. Tuesday. You can RSVP here.
Porcelli said anyone who wants to retrieve photos or information they posted on Neighbors For Neighbors should do so before the end of June when he'll shut the site down.
[Full disclosure: Chris Helms, publisher of Jamaica Plain News, was founding editor of Jamaica Plain Patch and subsequently managed Patch sites on the North Shore.]