(Photo via twitter.com/KennyBWeinstein)
Jumpstart Germantown was an idea implemented by social impact real estate developer Ken Weinstein to help other aspiring developers in that area learn the skills and gain access to resources that would help them revitalize their own neighborhoods.
And according to Weinstein, the past two years of the program, which encourages developers to consider their role in gentrification and instead build what the existing community needs, have “exceeded all of our expectations in Germantown.”
Weinstein, the president of Philly Office Retail, said Jumpstart’s real estate development training program has graduated 215 people, handed out 55 loans and put nearly $5.5 million “on the street” — all part of the effort in pushing for blight removal and neighborhood improvement.
That kind of success is what has prompted Jumpstart funder Philadelphia LISC to scale the model to other neighborhoods, thanks to a $125,000 grant it received from the Barra Foundation near the end of last year. Shift Capital, a development firm in Kensington currently working to revitalize the commercial corridor in that area, has already adopted the Jumpstart model for its work there.
(Weinstein mentioned that neighborhoods such as Strawberry Mansion and the West Philadelphia Promise Zone have already expressed interest. Even cities outside of Philly, including Newark, Wilmington and as far as Salt Lake City, are looking at Jumpstart as a model to follow.)
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It took Weinstein years to gain the kind of knowledge, network and skills he has to be able to share with others. And so as the name suggests, Jumpstart is all about giving others a head start in “trying to put all the pieces together,” Weinstein said.
Interested? Philly Office Retail and LISC are holding an information session on Nov. 13 at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia where the organizations will be talking about what kind of impact Jumpstart could have on other neighborhoods, as well as sharing a bunch of resources they created to help others get started.
You don’t have to wait until the info session to check these out for yourself, as LISC has made these tools publicly available on a fresh new website.
Dana Hanchin, deputy director at LISC, said the $125,000 grant Jumpstart received last year helped in documenting the success of the Jumpstart Germantown model and translating that into the resources it’s made available.
LISC will also be hosting a seed grant competition for nonprofits, including CDCs and civic associations, interested in starting their own neighborhood Jumpstart programs, through which $5,000 will each be awarded to three different programs to help with early startup costs.
Hanchin said she would like to see involvement from community- and mission-based lenders that can offer sources of capital to those orgs and individuals interested in implementing Jumpstart programs in their communities. LISC and Philly Office Retail have already reached out to institutions such as FINANTA, Reinvestment Fund and The Enterprise Center for this kind of support.
And with a City Council resolution adopted late last year allowing for the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development to hold hearings about Jumpstart, the program could also see some backing from the city as a whole.