(Philadelphia, PA October 17, 2018) Since 2012, neighbors from Belmont, Mantua, Mill Creek, Saunders Park, and West Powelton have used a community-driven neighborhood plan to make decisions about and advocate for their section of West Philadelphia. The Make Your Mark plan, developed with residents’ input to inform the agencies and institutions serving their neighborhoods, will be supported for the next five years with funding from Wells Fargo Regional Foundation to People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation (PECCDC).
Community stakeholders gathered yesterday to celebrate their accomplishments and look ahead to the future of their area. Among them were neighbors who spoke about their experience living in West Philadelphia and working with PECCDC to empower the other residents.
Staff from People’s Emergency Center and PECCDC believe that the strengths of the Make Your Mark neighborhood plan include an open and collaborative neighborhood visioning process. “We start with their ideas of what a thriving community looks like and then design our programs and initiatives,” James Wright, Director of Community, Economic and Real Estate Development for PECCDC notes. “This type of partnership is crucial in ensuring equity, maintaining affordability, and empowering individuals in an area where extensive external investments are being made because the location is very desirable.”
The Make Your Mark plan accomplishments over the past five years include new civic efforts like the West Belmont Civic Association, creation of a community green space at Brooklyn and Ogden Streets, and new partnerships like West Philadelphia Action for Early Learning. PECCDC implemented activities include building 45 new units of affordable housing, assisting over 100 homeowners with façade repair, helping bring 89 new jobs to Lancaster Avenue, building a communications system to empower community members with information, and developing leaders in the community. Implementation of the plan was supported with funding from Wells Fargo Regional Foundation in 2011. The current grant award is $440,000 over the next five years.
“We are pleased to have been partnering with People’s Emergency Center and PECCDC for many years,” states Kimberly Allen, Vice President and Senior Program Officer of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, “Resident engagement is at the heart of our work and The Make Your Mark neighborhood plan was so well done that we hold it up as an example of a strong neighborhood plan. Even just the name and branding of the plan was inviting for stakeholders and residents to be engaged.”
PEC was founded 45 years ago to serve families experiencing homelessness. It established its community development arm PECCDC in 1992, as the agency embarked on an affordable housing strategy by building in the West Philadelphia neighborhood where its shelter was based.
“We look forward to continuing this journey through 2023,” says Kathy Desmond, President of People’s Emergency Center. “PEC and PECCDC are honored to work with our neighbors, the stakeholders in the West Philadelphia neighborhoods, and the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation to encourage the growth of thriving, healthy, communities.”
About PEC and PECCDC
People’s Emergency Center’s (PEC) mission is to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and drive change. For homeless women with children and parenting youth, PEC offers more than 235 affordable housing units, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, life skills and technology classes. The PEC Community Development Corporation (PECCDC)programs respond to community needs and build on neighborhood assets to help bridge the digital divide, expand mixed-income housing opportunities, stimulate economic growth, create wealth, and improve the quality of life for all West Philadelphia residents. PEC advocates for urgently needed public policy changes on behalf of families and youth experiencing homelessness. Learn more at www.pec-cares.org.
About Wells Fargo Regional Foundation
Wells Fargo Regional Foundation is a private foundation that awards Neighborhood Planning Grants and Neighborhood Implementation Grants to support long-term, resident-driven neighborhood revitalization. The foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children and families living in low-income communities in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware by concentrating resources on comprehensive, neighborhood-based economic and community development initiatives. For more information, please visit: http://www.WellsFargo.com/about/regional-foundation.