In 1998, the University of Notre Dame purchased the building at 921 North Eddy St. (a former Goodwill site.) They soon enlisted Rev. Don McNeil, C.S.C., founder of Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns, and Renelda Robinson, a longtime Northeast Neighborhood Resident, to bring together all stakeholders in cooperative conversation to plan a neighborhood center. For three months, focus groups met with the resulting vision that neighbors wanted a center useful to residents of all ages, but they wanted more than just a physical space. They wanted to build something for the entire community.
The RCLC emerged from these collaborative efforts. Since opening in 2001, the Robinson Center - operated in partnership between the Notre Dame and the Northeast Neighborhood - has helped connect the University and South Bend through enrichment programming and hospitality for the community.
Though Renelda Robinson passed away before the project was completed, the building was named in honor of her tireless commitment to the Northeast Neighborhood. Her legacy lives on through the Center's work to unite communities through education, compassion, and hospitality.
After 15 years, it was clear that the RCLC had outgrown its original space. Once again, community members convened in conversation, and provided feedback that was used in planning the new Robinson Center, located across the street at 1004 North Eddy.
For more information about the History of the RCLC, please watch the video below and read Dr. Richard Pierce's article: "Building the Robinson Center: One Relationship at a Time."