5 Civic Institutions Improving Philadelphia
Philadelphia is a large city that welcomes millions of visitors each year, and offers its residents a good quality of life. Like many metropolitan areas, it is home to a diverse group of people of varying economic and social statuses. Listed in no particular order, the following organizations work to support the people and places that make up what is affectionately referred to as the City of Brotherly Love.
In the #1 spot, Campus Philly's mission is to fuel economic growth by encouraging college students to study, explore, reside, and work in the Greater Philadelphia region. To accomplish this, the organization inspires undergrads and graduates to explore off-campus, connect with employers through internships, and develop professional networks so they can launch a career in the area after graduation.
Campus Philly was created in the early 2000s, when it was still part of a larger coalition of local initiatives. After becoming a registered organization in 2004, the group launched several in-person career and professional development events, took over a website to promote internships and careers, and expanded the number of colleges and universities it partners with.
Founded in 1901, the Jewish Federation is #2 on the list. It has since become a central non-profit community organization in Greater Philadelphia, raising millions of dollars each year to provide vital services, programs, and lifesaving humanitarian relief locally, in Israel, and worldwide. This organization embraces three key roles: convening the community, encouraging and stewarding the generosity of donors, and developing grants to meet critical needs.
The Federation connects Jews from different generations and backgrounds to celebrate a shared history. By mobilizing its combined resources, making everyone feel included, and strengthening core values and traditions, the group strives to ensure that everyone can enjoy meaningful Jewish journeys. When a child needs an education, a disabled person needs assistance, or a family loses their income, the organization provides a safety net to make sure that every member of the community is supported.
Moving on to #3, Philadelphia School Partnership's mission is to improve outcomes for low-income students and respond to the demands of families by expanding access to great public, private, and charter schools in the region. The organization leverages its funds in three primary ways: investing in educational institutions, developing skilled urban educators, and empowering families to take steps toward a brighter future.
To combat technological disparity, PSP helped spearhead the PHLConnectED program. The program is a collaboration between business, nonprofit, philanthropic, and civic institutions to connect up to 35,000 low-income student households with free internet service through a combination of broadband and mobile hot-spots. It was organized to support families in the pivot to virtual learning, providing 15,000 Chromebooks or other devices to those in need.
#4 on the list is the Welcoming Center, which provides a variety of services to immigrants from all over the world who reside in the Philadelphia region. Since 2003, this group has worked to promote inclusive economic growth through immigrant integration. To assist in the development of this goal, and to help individuals adjust to a new life in the US, the Center facilitates programming for foreign language speakers to gain proficient English language skills while also working on occupational development.
Regardless of whether a person is an entry-level worker or a highly skilled professional, the Welcoming Center offers a number of programs to suit the needs of clients. For example, the International Professionals Program is specifically tailored for immigrants with foreign university degrees living in Philadelphia, or for those with a US work authorization who are looking to find a well-paying job in a specific field.
Next up at #5, Fairmount Park Conservancy exists to champion Philadelphia's parks. This organization leads capital projects and historic preservation efforts, fosters neighborhood stewardship, attracts and leverages investments, and develops innovative programs that help to preserve the city's recreational and green spaces.
In addition to restoring and maintaining these spaces of leisure, the group works to connect the public with unique programs and events that bring people from all walks of life together to congregate at various gardens, greenhouses, trails, and parks throughout the city. These include workshops, family celebrations, hikes, arts presentations, concerts, film screenings, and more.