Community Development Corporations Make a Difference

Many of our clients and partners are working creatively to support local businesses. For example, as Philadelphia moved into a modified green phase in July, the City of Philadelphia adopted a “Reopening with Care” strategy inspired by the work of North Broad Renaissance, led by Shalimar Thomas. NBR’s original Reopened with Care initiative encouraged business owners on one of Philadelphia’s most prominent corridors – North Broad Street — to take a pledge and commit to the Reopened with Care standard to help the area continue moving in the right direction to fully reopen the City of Philadelphia with care. The pledge included action items in which business owners would adhere to in order to keep their employees, customers, and communities safe, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) for all employees, hand sanitizer, masks, washing hands frequently, social distancing, and more.  

Other community development corporations (CDCs) have also found new ways to support businesses in their communities. CDCs support and revitalize communities, help entrepreneurs and business owners access critical resources, and improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents. Here are a few other PIDC clients and partners that represent CDCs helping communities during this time of need. 

Allegheny West Foundation

The Allegheny West Foundation (AWF) was founded in 1968, and incorporated in 1974. The mission of AWF is to improve the quality of life in the Allegheny West community through action on a set of primary strategic goals, which can be found here. Over years, the AWF has provided comprehensive community building and community development related to services to a community of residents and scores of businesses and merchants located in the industrial and commercial corridors that still manages to be an important source of local employment and tax base.

The other mission of AWF has been intensified 10-fold since the pandemic it, and that’s making sure that people from their community who have lost jobs or are underemployed, can still feed themselves and their families. The organization passed out free boxes of food for their food giveaway program during the pandemic.

The Enterprise Center CDC

The Enterprise Center CDC extends The Enterprise Center’s mission of growth and inclusion to the neighborhood level in West Philadelphia. TEC-CDC partners with residents, local businesses, and other key stakeholders to lead community engagement and neighborhood revitalization projects. TEC-CDC also seeks to foster community-driven economic development that both attracts new investment and empowers long standing residents and businesses in its target service area. Throughout the pandemic, The Enterprise Center has hosted virtual events to provide helpful resources for business owners.  Most recently, The Enterprise Center partnered with Insomnia Cookies in an effort to rebuild the West Philadelphia community with their 52nd Street Corridor Initiative. For the month of August, all Philadelphia area Insomnia Cookies locations donated weekday delivery fees to help fund grants awarded by The Enterprise Center to support local 52nd Street business owners with rebuilding due to recent civil unrest.

Frankford CDC

Frankford CDC is committed to building on the assets of the Frankford community by providing increased job opportunities, building affordable homes, and supporting the development of increased financial resources through growing stable businesses. Frankford CDC has been providing virtual services for residents and businesses in its neighborhood, such as webinars with resources around mental health as well as rental assistance options during COVID-19.

Impact Services Corporation

Since 1974, Impact Services Corporation has been working in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia to help people reenter the workforce, train for jobs, find housing, and build community. Over the last two decades the organization has also built a continuum of housing services in an effort to end veteran homelessness. Impact Services Corporation organizes regular cleanups for the neighborhood and commercial corridors, gardening days, and various community events.  In addition to organizing gardening days and other community events for residents, Impact Services Corporation hosted a solidarity day in which they cleaned up commercial corridors around the city that experienced looting and vandalism due to the recent civil unrest.

Manayunk Development Corporation

The Manayunk Development Corporation (MDC) formed in 1992 as a nonprofit corporation with both a primary business development mission and a cooperating community development mission. As a CDC, MDC partners with other civic and community organizations in the Manayunk area to plan and implement community programming and physical improvement projects of interest to both businesses and residents in Manayunk.  MDC has supported many businesses with successfully pivoting business operations to adapt to the COVID-19 environment, including PIDC client Chabaa Thai restaurant. In addition, the MDC regularly promotes businesses in Manayunk its social media page to support local small businesses and encourage safe shopping in the area.

Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations – PACDC

Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) is dedicated to advocacy, policy development, and technical assistance for community development corporations and other organizations in their efforts to rebuild communities and revitalize neighborhoods. In July, PACDC, virtually hosted its annual Forward Equitable Development Conference. Every year, community developers, small business entrepreneurs, health practitioners, researchers, artists, educators, and activists, take part in the conference to better understand how to implement and grow meaningful opportunities for Philadelphia’s residents and businesses to thrive equitably. This year’s conference featured a session from PIDC titled Real Estate Strategies for Neighborhood Preservation, in which PIDC’s Director of Business Development, Art Gimenez, moderated a panel discussion with PIDC clients Rich Olaya, owner of Olaya Studio; and David Simms, owner of Eatible Delights Catering.

Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation

Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) is a non-profit organization working to preserve, protect and promote Chinatown. For more than 50 years, PCDC has provided leadership to the Chinatown community on behalf of its residents and businesses, and as a community developer. Through its recent #ShopChinatown initiative, PCDC highlights businesses that are supporting contactless order and pickup, wearing gloves and masks, mandating social distancing of six feet, and routinely cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas. Through this initiative, PCDC regularly shares success stories of local Chinatown business owners on its social media platforms. PCDC also created a one-stop COVID-19 resource page to provide information and resources for renters, employees, small business owners, and those who are in need.

Check out the CDCs above and find out how you can get involved in their efforts to help communities.