The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Jul 06, 2011

Eastern North Philadelphia, city say “I do,” commit to a better future

Posted by Donna Frisby-Greenwood

Ms. Pricilla is the sixth generation of her family to live in the home where she grew up.  She has since raised her children there, and her grandchildren come to visit frequently. 

Mr. Priscilla  was just one of the many people I heard speak at a recent ceremony for the Eastern North Philadelphia Sustainable Communities Initiative  (SCI), which engages residents in creating a vision and action plan for their neighborhoods. One by one, and with a great sense of accomplishment and pride, residents, business owners, pastors, and community leaders that live and work in this area of 13,000 residents happily went to the podium to share the portions of the “Our Community, Our Ideas,” plan, the result of a year of work. The meetings, many of them lasting into the night, were coordinated by Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha through a Knight Foundation grant to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). 

Together, Mayor Michael Nutter, many of his cabinet members along with the funders invited to attend heard very concrete ideas and bold thinking about how to improve the physical environment, develop leaders, infuse arts and culture,  support businesses, provide more opportunities for children and youth and create a better-trained workforce, among others.

 At the end, Mayor Nutter offered his remarks about the importance of the work, and said, “I do” - accepting the  plan and committing the City of Philadelphia to being a partner in helping the community see it through. 

The SCI Eastern North Philadelphia community and the City of Philadelphia are now married. Like any marriage, they will experience ups and downs, but there is no doubt that together they will fulfill the vision laid out in “Our Community, Our Ideas.”  To view the plan and find out how you can help, go to

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