In the September 2015 issue of the Parkside Journal,
we introduced readers to Christopher Scott and his
new venture the Centennial Parkside CDC. Chris is a
resident of Parkside by way of his grandparents who
moved to the area in the late 1940’s. As a kid growing
up in North Carolina Chris would spend many
summers in Parkside with his grandparents. He
enjoyed those summer visits and bonded with the
community. Those feelings never left Chris, which
lead him to move here after his grandfather died. He
joined together with other long time community
residents and business owners and supporters from
neighborhood cultural centers to create his new CDC.
Recently Christopher Scott found the time to sit down
and discuss what progress Centennial Parkside has
accomplished over the last eight months.
PJ: Chris what have you and the Centennial CDC
been up to since our last story in September of 2015?
Scott: We have continued to stay busy with the many
organizational setup matters that, while not
glamorous, we needed to push through in order to start
providing resources to revitalize Parkside.
Principally, I am happy to report that since we last
spoke, the Centennial Parkside CDC received notice
that we are recognized as a tax-exempt organization
under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
This is a critically important achievement, since
foundations and other philanthropic sources can only
provide grants to organizations that have this
designation. Centennial Parkside CDC is officially
open for business!
PJ: Have you and your team developed a strategic
Scott: We recently completed our 5-year strategic plan
with the assistance of a nationally known consultant,
American Communities Trust (ACT). We spent six
months in Board of Trustees training and strategic
plan development sessions with ACT.
The plan carries 5 core priorities for the CDC’s
1) Housing and homeownership
2) Marketing and branding
3) Sanitation and greening
4) Commercial Development
5) CDC organizational sustainability
This plan is our roadmap for the next 5 years. We will
post the plan in its entirety on our website when the
website is live. In the interim, if you want a copy
please contact me and I will ensure you get a detailed
version of the strategic plan.
PJ: When do you expect to have your website up
Scott: We are actively working on establishing a
website and we expect to have one publicly
available in the coming weeks. We expect the
website to be a central resource for the community,
so we are investing time to ensure we have a great
website that does just that. Stay tuned and look out
for a website announcement by the next edition of
the Parkside Journal.
PJ: If Parkside residents want to reach out to you
how do they contact you?
Scott: You can reach me by email at:
CLS2X@yahoo.com or by phone: 917.254.2361.
The CDC also holds monthly meetings and we
encourage resident participation as we move
forward. Please contact me to learn more.
PJ: Is there a physical address to the Parkside
Scott: We have made significant progress on identifying
and securing financing for the physical headquarters
of the CDC. One of our key requirements in a
physical office space is that the space be accessible
to everyone in the community as a place to gather,
learn and play together. We are excited about moving to our own physical office space before the end of 2016 and we expect to
have an announcement on the physical address of
where that will be by the next edition of the Parkside
PJ : I know one of your early goals was to develop an
“Energy Improvement District” where you would
supply electrical energy to area residents from
renewable sources. Can you elaborate on this and has
there been any movement in that direction?
Scott: An Energy Improvement District
is certainly one solution we are exploring
as means to create wealth and opportunity
for Parkside residents. Low-income
communities are disproportionately
impacted by land use strategies that
negatively impact health. Fundamentally,
an Energy Investment District enables
communities – particularly communities
of color – to develop local renewable
energy generation and energy efficiency
programs that are accountable to the
community and produce healthier
neighborhoods, reduce energy costs,
create good jobs, and build the wealth for
those most in need.
PJ: And what kind of movement have
you had in that direction; is there anyone
out there listening?
Scott: I can say we have had some
success in building the case for an Energy
Improvement District in Parkside.
Leaders from across the city are taking
notice that we have an innovative solution
to transforming the structural inequities
borne by low-income communities like
ours. As an example of the notice we are
receiving, the CDC has been invited to
speak about the Energy Improvement
District solution at the Arts & Business
Council of Greater Philadelphia on June
9th. This is a conference that is hosted by
the largest Foundations in the city and
expected to attract 200 – 300 executives
and staff from across the nonprofit,
philanthropic and private sectors. This is
the type of platform that will help the
CDC continue to build momentum around
implementing this solution in Parkside.
PJ: Where do you get your funding?
Who are your Partners?
Scott: The CDC just completed its
strategic plan in April and we have been
using that plan as the basis to introduce
the CDC and its proposed activities to
potential funders, including the region’s
largest foundations. We are really pleased
by the level of interest the Foundation
community has in supporting our CDC
and we expect to cement those funding
relationships in the coming months.
This neighborhood is a focus area for the
philanthropic community, given the
Promise Zone and other assets we have
around us. Our job as a CDC is to harness
that interest and steer those investments
to the benefit of our residents. We are
working hard every day to ensure that
PJ: What do you feel you’ve
accomplished over the past year?
Scott: This has been a truly exceptional
year of growth and achievement for the
CDC. We started from nothing but a
concept exactly one year ago this month.
Yet, since that time we have:
1) Formally incorporated
2) Received 501(c)(3) designation
3) Raised over $20,000 in direct
4) Advocated for the installation of bike
share stations in Parkside
5) Established new partnerships with our
cultural institution partners
6) We have a direct working relationship
with Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell,
who is supporting our efforts as we move
I’m proud to lead an energetic Board of
Trustees that is deeply committed to
providing an improved quality of life for
the residents of Parkside.
PJ: Our thanks to Mr. Scott for sitting