A Message from Our President About COVID-19
Like the entrepreneurs, business and nonprofit leaders, and members of our community who started this year with a vision for what they hoped to accomplish and contribute in 2020, this is not the letter that I expected to write for my first quarterly update as president of PIDC.
Philadelphians, and people around the globe, are facing an unprecedented situation with devastating impacts on our health and our economy. We at PIDC have been at the forefront of the economic side of this crisis to witness its staggering size and scale. Every day, our team’s hearts break for all those who are struggling, and we renew our commitment to do everything that we can to help.
We know that we will face many of the same opportunities and challenges coming out of this crisis that we did going into it. Our vision for a Philadelphia economy that is growing, diversified, and inclusive remains PIDC’s “North Star” as we respond to the current situation and plan for the long-term recovery.
Our Plan & Our Mission
When I started my new role as PIDC’s president at the end of January, I told our team that we had a special responsibility in this moment in time – both for PIDC as an organization and for Philadelphia as a city – because we face both incredible momentum and incredible challenges. In the same way that PIDC’s founders came together more than 60 years ago and established a new path, we have an opportunity now to set the course for the next 60 years as we execute our mission of driving growth to every corner of Philadelphia.
I pledged that we would take on that important responsibility with a cultural foundation of empathy, empowerment, and accountability. Despite the drastic changes that we have all experienced in the past several weeks, those three words still resonate strongly for me and lie at the heart of how we will continue to approach this crisis and the recovery to follow.
I have been so heartened by the ways in which the PIDC team has been living these values in this crisis, from listening and responding with empathy to the heart-breaking calls and emails from Philadelphia’s small business owners to empowering our team through technology and trust to take on new responsibilities, learn new programs, and create new initiatives while working remotely. We are evaluating and learning from what is working and what is not so that we can do better every day.
Innovation & Resources
While we recognize that our efforts are just a small part of the relief needed for Philadelphia and that we are continuously learning and striving to improve as we move at full speed, I am incredibly proud of the work that PIDC has done alongside our local and regional partners to try and make a difference. Here are some of the ways in which PIDC has responded to the crisis to date:
Covid-19 Resource Page
PIDC launched a website specifically for helpful business resources during this COVID-19 pandemic — pidcphila.com/covid-19. This includes a list of funding resources for small businesses that is refreshed on a daily basis with new programs and status updates as availability of resources changes. The site is using a web-based translate function to make this critical content available in 10 languages.
Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund
The City of Philadelphia and PIDC launched The Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund as a tiered grant and loan program designed to support Philadelphia small businesses that make under $5 million in annual revenue to help maintain payroll obligations and preserve jobs.The Relief Fund received over 7,300 applications from businesses. A total of $12.2 million will be disbursed to local small businesses, thanks to funding from the City of Philadelphia and PIDC, as well as generous contributions from the Daniel B. and Florence E. Green Foundation, Citizens Bank, PNC Foundation, the Knight Foundation, M&T Bank, and BB&T Bank (now Truist). To date, 1,145 small businesses have been approved for a total of $9.2 million.
COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), offered critical working capital financing to small businesses located within PA.
Over the past few weeks, PIDC hosted nine webinars around navigating legal matters as a business owner, managing business impacts and responses to COVID-19, and financial resources and emotional well-being during the pandemic. Almost all workshops hosted an average of over 200 attendees. To deliver these workshops, we partnered with Lendistry, Scattergood Foundation, City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, SBA, Women’s Business Enterprise Center (WBEC), The O’Connor Group, Team Clean, C.H. Bonnett & Company, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, and Faegre Drinker Biddle. View a list of upcoming events at pidcphila.com/events.
The Navy Yard remains open and operational for essential businesses and for recreation with the following modifications designed to keep Navy Yard employees and visitors safe and healthy: increased cleaning, modified schedules for transit & shuttles, updates to street closures and public access, postponement or rescheduling of public events, and more. During the Stay-at-Home Order, The Navy Yard will be open to the public from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM only. Crescent Park, Central Green (including park restrooms), League Island Park, and the basketball court on Intrepid Ave are closed until further notice. Also, the 26th Street Lift Bridge and the League Island Blvd Gate entrance and exit will be closed to all vehicles. Detours are available. Visit the Navy Yard COVID-19 Updates website for more information.
We know that this is not enough, and we recognize that many of our clients, partners, and neighbors are continuing to struggle right now. But it has also been heartening to see how the team at PIDC, and so many of our partner organizations, have come together – certainly not with perfection, but with compassion, dedication, and professionalism – to do everything in our collective power to help all those that we can with the resources that we have.
PIDC has been coordinating closely with our valued partners at the city, state, and federal levels to identify, deploy, and advocate for the resources that Philadelphia will need during the immediate relief and recovery phases. This includes the City of Philadelphia, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, all local CDFIs, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and our elected officials at all levels of government.
During this time it has become, and will continue to be, the primary focus of our team to try to bring more resources to bear – at the local, state, and federal levels – to fund immediate relief and, ultimately, a long-term recovery leading to sustained, inclusive growth in Philadelphia.
Be Part of the Process
Thank you to all of you who have shared your concerns, needs, expertise, and ideas with us as we navigate through this challenge. All of our efforts are made for you, our community. As such, we welcome your suggestions on how we can continue to improve and expand our efforts to respond to this crisis. If you have ideas or feedback that you’d like to share, please click here to fill out our quick survey and a PIDC representative will get back to you as soon as possible.
Let’s get through this challenge together! Wishing you, your families, and loved ones health, safety, and hope for the brighter future ahead.
Anne Bovaird Nevins