The Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity is the lead agency that oversees the West Philadelphia Promise Zone, but more than 100 local partner organizations, including public agencies, service providers, civic groups, universities, and hospitals, work together to advance work in areas that include education, economic opportunity, health and wellness, housing, and public safety.
Lead Implementation Partners – Drexel University; School District of Philadelphia
Access to high quality education creates pathways towards opportunity, and with changing workforce requirements, it has become increasingly important to have higher educational attainment. From quality pre-kindergarten programs to high performing K-12 schools to adult literacy and workforce training, education shapes trajectories. The Promise Zone Education committee connects city, nonprofit and private organizations to support education initiatives in the Promise Zone.
Key education focus areas:
- K-8: Work with the School District, nonprofit, and private organizations to better youth outcomes both in school and though after school activities
- High School: Increase the graduation rate and college and career readiness outcomes for young adults living within the Promise Zone
- Adult Education: Provide better access to literacy education, 21st century skills workshops, and workforce development to residents within the Promise Zone
- Family and Community Supports: Integrate educational services with services for students’ family and community
Lead Implementation Partners – Philadelphia Department of Commerce; People’s Emergency Center; Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
In many ways, West Philadelphia is experiencing an economic boom. Universities and anchor institutions are expanding, and many Promise Zone neighborhoods are seeing increases in property values. The overarching economic opportunity goal is to make sure that this development is equitable—that residents of the Promise Zone have access to this growing economic opportunity. The committee focuses on a wide array of topics from physical development, to anchor institution procurement, to small business development, and economic security.
Key economic opportunity focus areas:
- Workforce Development: Connect adults seeking to enter or advance in the workforce to skills training and job opportunities available at West Philadelphia and city-wide employers
- Small and Emerging Businesses: Streamline and coordinate City and nonprofit small business services to better serve the entrepreneurs, businesses and commercial corridors in and around the Promise Zone
Health & Wellness
Lead Implementation Partners – Philadelphia Department of Public Health; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
The happiness and the vitality of a community often largely rely on the health and wellness of its residents. The Health and Wellness Committee focuses on increasing the physical and mental health of residents in the Promise Zone while increasing access to care.
Key health and wellness focus areas:
- Access to Care: Connect Promise Zone residents with medical assistance programs and increase access to health care services
- Behavioral Health: Connect Promise Zone residents with trauma-informed services, including mental health and substance abuse services, available in the Promise Zone and throughout Philadelphia
- Chronic Disease Prevention: Promote healthy and active lifestyles to decrease chronic illnesses such as obesity and diabetes
Lead Implementation Partners – Mount Vernon Manor; Philadelphia Housing Authority; People’s Emergency Center CDC
Neighborhoods in West Philadelphia have diverse housing stock, and housing partners help residents maintain their homes and improve their affordability through educational and outreach services. As University City grows, so does the importance of investing public resources that respect community priorities and create housing options for a variety of income levels.
Key housing focus areas:
- Equitable Development: Promote mixed income and affordable housing infill development for current and new residents
- Housing Preservation: Strengthen the quality of the existing housing stock and expand homeownership to ensure that current community residents benefit from revitalization efforts
- Access to Resources: Better connect residents with city and nonprofit resources to assist in the maintenance, acquisition, and leasing of affordable, stable housing
Lead Implementation Partners – We Are Mantua!; Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); Philadelphia Police Department
In 2012, the Mantua neighborhood was awarded a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grant, which is a community-oriented initiative focused on crime and crime clusters (“hot spots”) within a neighborhood. Building off of this grant, the Public Safety Committee connects City, nonprofit, private sector, and resident stakeholders to address crime and public safety issues within the Promise Zone.
Key public safety focus areas:
- Community Relationship Building: Increase community policing efforts and enhance positive community-police relationships
- Crime Hotspots: Identify and address crime clusters or “hotspots” within the Promise Zone neighborhoods
- Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED): Make changes to the physical spaces of crime hotspots to deter activity in those areas.