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All Aboard! The Neighborhood Renaissance Tour

June 27, 2013

Last Thursday, Philadelphia LISC partnered with Delaware Valley Grantmakers (DVG), Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC), Citi, Bank of America Charitable Foundation and Wells Fargo Regional Foundation to showcase how community development efforts have led to the rebirth of two neighborhoods: Eastern North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia. Funding from Citi and coordination by DVG’s Community & Economic Development Funders Group made the tour possible.

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Acting as the tour guide was LISC Executive Director Andrew Frishkoff. “We really want to highlight the broader fabric of the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.”

Philanthropists from across the Delaware Valley region joined the tour. “What you are about to see, tells the story of Philadelphia beyond Center City,” said Donald Haskin, Senior Vice President of Community Development at Citi.

The first stop on the tour featured the nearly-completed Paseo Verde transit-oriented development. A $48 million joint venture between Asociacion Puertorriqenos Marcha (APM) and Jonathan Rose Companies, the development will provide “green” housing, a federally-qualified healthcare center, and a LISC Financial Opportunity Center to Eastern North. APM’s Nilda Ruiz and Rose Gray thanked their partners, including LISC, for supporting positive change in the neighborhood. The development will feature 120 modern residential units as well as 30,000 sq. ft. of community and retail space, including APM’s offices.

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As the tour continued, PACDC’s Executive Director Rick Sauer assured that the great work being done by CDCs in Philadelphia is creating a significant impact. “There’s an actual return on investment with working with these different CDC organizations on the ground level,” Sauer said. For example, PACDC’s recent report, Collective Strength, found that CDC’s contributed $3.3 billion to the Philadelphia economy in the last 20 years.

The next stop on the tour was The Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises (CCE), located at 48th and Spruce Streets. What used to be an abandoned supermarket has been transformed by The Enterprise Center (TEC) to offer state-of-the-art shared certified commercial kitchens and business development training to small food entrepreneurs as part of a larger food access strategy.

TEC’s plan for the CCE is to provide a space where small food entrepreneurs can safely and legally craft their products and find support to grow their businesses. Once entrepreneurs have built a name for themselves in the area, TEC will help them find brick and mortar space.

The tour ended with a catered lunch, featuring fare cooked onsite by four of the CCE’s small food entrepreneur clients.

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At the conclusion of the tour, Sauer summarized the lasting impact of Philadelphia’s CDC’s. “Community development is a multi-faceted kind of work showing amazing results, and I am excited to have shared that with you today.”

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