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West Philadelphia Chosen as “Promise Zone” for Federal Community Development Program

January 10, 2014 Category: People

Kiara Molina, a ninth-grader at Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy, introduces President Obama. (Image via @Michael_Nutter)

President Obama announced that a large segment of West Philadelphia will be designated as one of five “Promise Zones” in low-income communities throughout the country.

Mayor Nutter and Eva Gladstein, head of the Office Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO), were in the front row of the announcement held at the White House. 

“Being a Promise Zone will enable the City to align existing resources and apply for new federal funding – building on efforts already at work – through a multi-faceted, focused approach,” Mayor Nutter said in a press release. 

The special economic zone stretches to the Schuylkill River on the east, Girard Avenue on the north, 48th Street to the west and Sansom Street to the south.

The neighborhoods of Mantua, West Powelton, Belmont and Mill Creek are within its boundaries, including parts of Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. There 35,315 residents in the designated area, according to the City of Philadelphia.


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The plan is to leverage tax credits and to expedite applications for existing federal programs within the promise zones to encourage private investment and job creation. The proposed tax credits will need to be approved my Congress, so it remains to be seen if they will be a part of the program.

From our Partners

Local partners include include Drexel University, Mt. Vernon Manor, Philadelphia LISC, People’s Emergency Center, Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the City’s Commerce Department, Philadelphia Housing Authority, Office of Housing and Community Development. Eva Gladstein and CEO are leading the initiative locally.

“When communities and governments and businesses and not-for-profits work together, then we can make a difference.” President Obama said at the program’s announcement.  

Here is video of the complete announcement.


For look at existing programs and initiatives in this section of West Philadelphia, here is a list of past Generocity stories based in the area:



Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity

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