Charles Leadbeater would call Community Development Corporations civic innovators as they are using their sense of dissatisfaction with the state of the city to galvanize change and breathe new life into the social contract of dynamic and fluid modern cities through an everyday style of democracy.
In order for a city such as Philadelphia to thrive on all levels, nothing is more important than investing in the neighborhoods and communities that make up the very fabric of the city itself. With this mind, we are pleased to partner with the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) and Wells Fargo to present this special edition of the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal (PSIJ), Launching Social Innovations & Creating Sustaining Community Impact in Neighborhoods.
Community Development Corporations (CDCs) are neighborhood-based nonprofits which revitalize communities and address residents’ needs. This edition examines the role that CDCs play in assuaging the challenges facing our neighborhoods and in stimulating social innovation at the neighborhood level and developing supportive policies, creating non-traditional partnerships and forging creative solutions to make our neighborhoods, city and region stronger.
During the past two decades, Philadelphia CDCs have exceedingly proven their value by generating more than $3.3 billion in economic and social impact for the City and more than $5.1 billion in economic impact for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. While CDCs are well respected for their community development efforts over the past 40 years, the social innovation and impact that they create at the local community and neighborhood level is not as widely known. Since their founding in the 1960s, CDCs have constantly reinvented themselves as challenges and neighborhood markets have changed. CDCs, the civic leaders of our time, engage local stakeholders through intentional planning to create attractive places to live, work, shop and play.
CDCs also create social innovative partnerships. These partnerships build community “buy-in” that are the cornerstones to revitalizing neighborhood shopping districts, building and repairing affordable homes and providing a range of services including: 1) health institutions to improve resident wellness; 2) arts and culture to maintain community pride and culture; and 3) schools, child care and job training centers to expand opportunities for neighborhood residents to be involved in community assets. Philadelphia is changing rapidly, which creates new opportunities to benefit all residents and neighborhoods as the City’s population and new investment grows.
As always, we thank our sponsors whose support has and continues to allow us to advance innovation in our great city and beyond, including the Barra Foundation, Bank of America, Claneil Foundation, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, Independence Foundation, Inglis Foundation, Knight Foundation, The Patricia Kind Family Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, The Public Health Fund, Public Health Management Corporation, Sage Communications, Scattergood Foundation, St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, NFP Lincoln Benefits Group, TD Bank, eXude, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Wells Fargo and the University of Pennsylvania.
Very truly yours,
Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder
Tine Hansen-Turton, Co-Founder