Despite spending nearly $700 million annually across multiple departments and public agencies to address the effects of poverty, Philadelphia is in crisis. It became increasingly apparent that the scale of poverty in Philadelphia would require collective action of an equal scale. The myriad City agencies and nonprofits working in silos have isolated impact on poverty — but truly effective solutions require coordinated, large-scale social change. That is why, in January 2013, the City launched the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO).

CEO’s mission

To provide leadership that strengthens and coordinates the City’s anti-poverty efforts on behalf of its most vulnerable citizens and communities.

The causes and effects of complex social problems like poverty are interdependent. They arise from the interactions of human and social factors and government, corporate and social sector organizations. CEO was created to be a catalyst and serve as the supportive infrastructure to the city’s cross-sector efforts to fight poverty.

Executive Staff

 Mitchell Little, Executive Director

 Sharon R. Clinton, Deputy Executive Director – Culture, Compliance & Organizational Infrastructure

Senior Staff


 Carolyn Brown, Director of Planning and Evaluation

 Gary DeShields, Chief Financial Officer

 William Hall, Financial Empowerment Manager

 Dionne Hawthorne, Director of Administrative Services

 Samantha Porter, Director of Place-Based Initiatives

 Marc Spearman, Director of Operations and Information Technology

CEO Oversight Board
  • Marcus Allen, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Pennsylvania
  • Leslie Benoliel, Entrepreneur Works
  • John Chin, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
  • H. Patrick Clancy, Philadelphia Works, Inc.
  • Arthur Evans, City of Philadelphia, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS)
  • Debbie Freedman, Community Legal Services, Inc.
  • Maria Gonzalez, HACE
  • Patricia Hasson, Clarifi
  • Thurston Hyman, Philadelphia Unemployment Project
  • Wayne Jacobs, X-Offenders for Community Empowerment
  • Kelvin Jeremiah, Philadelphia Housing Authority
  • Lucy Kerman, Drexel University
  • Eva Gladstein, City of Philadelphia, Deputy Managing Director for Health and Human Services
  • Thoai Nguyen, SEAMAAC
  • Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Philadelphia City Council, 7th District
Shared Prosperity Steering Committee
  • Cathy Carr, Retired (former Director of Community Legal Services)
  • Paul DiLorenzo, Casey Family Programs
  • Don Haskin, Retired (former Pennsylvania State Director, Citi Community Development)
  • Jessica Hilburn-Holmes, Philadelphia Bar Association Foundation
  • Janet Kroll, Homeless Assistance Fund
  • Phil Lord, Tenant Union Representative Network (TURN)
  • Steve Wray, Economy League of Greater Philadelphia