Promise Zone Blog

Promise Zone Community Gardens

  1. Summer Winter Community Garden (3233 Race St): They have an active City Harvest program and welcome volunteers to work in garden on community areas. Stop by on weekends to learn more.
  2. West Powelton Concerned Community Council Garden (4027 Powelton Ave): Plots available!, 215-387-8951
  3. Holly Street Community Garden (320 N 41st St): Plots Available! Sheila Henry, 215-387-0507,,
  4. Walnut Hill (4615 Ludlow St): 215-895-4050
  5. Aspen Farms (4843 Aspen St):
  6. Mill Creek Farm (4905 Brown St): Volunteer opportunities available!
  7. Ogden Orchard (4033 Ogden St): A complete edible landscape was planted around Ogden Gardens, a newly built home for adults with autism. Preston’s Paradise and residents of Ogden help maintain the orchard and gardens and the harvest is distributed within the community.
  8. Preston’s Paradise Orchard (839 N Preston St): Cherries, figs, pawpaws, and more were planted as part of a new edible forest garden at this remarkable urban homestead. The produce enhances the efforts of Preston’s Paradise ( to expand food production and access in their neighborhood of West Philadelphia.
  9. Calvary Orchard (812 N 41st St): Calvary St. Augustine Church teamed up with POP and Preston’s Paradise to plant an orchard in the side yard of the church. Produce will be distributed within the Belmont community.
  10. CHOP Karabots Farm (4900 Market St): This new community farm operated by the Enterprise Center is located at the Karabots facility of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The farm features fruit trees and rows of berries and vines.
  11. University City Garden Club Garden (4400 Locust St): No vegetable plots, this is a flower garden. Twilight gardening from 6-9pm on Fridays during growing season. Volunteers welcomed!, Lauren Leatherbarrow 215-386-3905,
  12. Mantua Urban Peace Garden (3700 Brown St): 50 Plots Plots are $20 each for the season (April to November). If you’re interested in becoming a gardener, you can sign up for a plot until April 15 by contacting 215-475-9492 or emailing
  13. Wiota Street Community Garden (4022 Powelton Ave)
  14. Sloan St Community Garden (326 N Sloan St): Vegetable/Flower Garden Plots: 4 feet x 8 feet or 4’x4′ half plot. Common areas with both vegetable and flowers for sharing or growing food for community. Carolyn Smith, (215) 387-5852,


If none of these gardens are near you or if you know of a vacant lot you think would be perfect for a garden in the next planting season, get started on your own community garden today! There are many resources for starting your own Philadelphia garden, below are just a few.

General Instructions from the American Community Gardening Association:

Resources for starting your own garden in Philadelphi9a from Grounded in Philly:

Instructions for starting a garden on Philadelphia

PWD instructions on how to get water access:

Health and Homes

By: Elizabeth Cohen

Across the country there is renewed awareness of the importance of mitigating home health hazards. Some of the most common home health hazards include lead, mold, radiation and asbestos. Often these hazards are expensive to alleviate, yet we know that the effects not only exacerbate problems with peoples’ health, there are also significant economic impacts. Both the health and economic impacts are even greater for low income families. The graphic below shows housing hazards, the resulting health effects and the economic impacts. MORE

Modern-Day Redlining in Philadelphia and the Promise Zone


Photo Credit: Ian Freimuth/ via Creative Commons

By: Elizabeth Cohen

In February 2018, Reveal published a story on the large racial differences in home lending (also known as modern-day redlining) across the United States. Reveal did a national analysis of lending patterns using conventional mortgage records in 2015 and 2016.

Although the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made redlining illegal, Reveal’s analysis showed that there were differences by race in who were offered conventional loans. They found that Philadelphia has one of the largest racial gaps in home lending among large cities.  Read the full story here.

Redlining in Philadelphia

  • Black applicants in Philadelphia were almost three times more likely to be denied a conventional home purchase loan than white applicants.
  • White applicants were ten times more likely to receive conventional mortgages loans than black applicants.
  • Banks focused on serving the white parts of town, placing nearly three-quarters of their branches in white-majority neighborhoods.
  • Wells Fargo Bank denied 27 percent of conventional home purchase applications from black applicants and 9 percent from white applicants.
  • Santander Bank denied 37 percent of black applicants and 13 percent of white ones.
  • PNC Bank denied 44 percent of black applicants and 15 percent of white applicants.


The Promise Zone Research Connection Takes First Place!

The Promise Zone Research Connection Takes First Place!

On Friday April 27, 2018, Penn’s Community Scholars Program had its Spring Symposium that brought together leaders of academic and philanthropic communities to serve on the panel for the Scholar’s Pitch Competition. Dennis Boroughs (Baring Street Community) and Amanda Hallock (Promise Zone VISTA) represented the Promise Zone Research Connection (PZRC). After deliberation, the panel gave first place honors to the PZRC which includes a bit of funding to get the group started! Below we’ve written up the speech for those who couldn’t make it.


Promise Neighborhood Surveyor Interview

By: Amanda Hallock

Surveyors: Sherra Dunn, Jeffrey Jordan, Rita Nelson, Kevin D. Young, Hyden Terrell                            Project Manager: Kelly Traister

The Promise Neighborhood grant is well underway! The grant is $30 million over 5 years and the Department of Education requires Drexel University, the lead applicant, to have rigorous data collection and evaluation. One of the components of this is a biennial neighborhood survey.

To conduct the survey, Drexel has prioritized hiring Promise Zone residents (the Zone and Neighborhood share the same boundaries) and in doing so has seemed to have more success in survey collection. The Promise Zone resident surveyors know their neighborhood culture and have the important ability to gain trust more easily than a non-resident would. And don’t forget about their fantastic orange jackets! Besides being residents and dressed in orange, the surveyors are just all around fantastic. They have great energies and are passionate about the project. I discovered this and so much more when I sat down to talk with five of the surveyors in February. MORE

Philadelphia Promise Zone Awarded 2016 Promise Neighborhoods Grant

A five-year, $30 million grant will support local initiatives to:

  • Expand early literacy and early science efforts in local child care and pre-K programs;
  • Enhance K-12 instruction in these seven schools;
  • Empower parents to advocate for their children’s learning; and
  • Improve access to education and job training for young adults and all residents in the Promise Neighborhood.

More on Promise Neighborhoods

10th Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival

Lancaster Ave Jazz Fest 7-20-2013 128The 10th Annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival will be hosted by People’s Emergency Center (PEC) on Saturday, July 16th from noon to 7pm in Penn Presbyterian Saunders Park Greene, at 39th and Powelton Avenue. This year’s festival will showcase the female artists who have shaped jazz and are solidifying its future. Pianist and composer Sumi Tonooka will headline the event, which is free and open to the public. The free Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival will offer activities for the whole family: a mix of exemplary musicians, a diverse gathering of people, a view of the city and a chance to enjoy a neighborhood that is rich in arts and culture. The event has grown over its 10 years from having a few hundred attendees to more than 3,000. Read the People’s Emergency Center’s press release for more information.

Listening Session: Reed’s Coffee

Reed’s Coffee & Tea House opened four years ago at the corner of Lancaster and 38th. Trolleys roll by every ten minutes, but people come in on foot throughout the day. From what we’ve seen, customers come looking for anything, taste something delicious, and then look to try more. MORE

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