Dec. 28, 2015 2:59 pm

8 things to anticipate on the social impact front in 2016

It's looking to be a great year for making smarter impact — for the most part. Here's what's in store for Philadelphia.

The sun rising over Philadelphia.

(Photo by Flickr user PROThe West End, used under a Creative Commons license)

We’re standing at the gates between this year and next, and we’re raring to go.

Frankly, the prospect of what’s to come in 2016 is making our mouths water here at Generocity. Here are the social impact plots we’re looking forward to following in the year ahead.

1. Nonprofit Repositioning Fund

Established in October, the Fund is serving as an intermediary of sorts for struggling nonprofits looking to consolidate resources — that means guiding (and funding) organizations as they explore opportunities that could range from sharing staff and space to possible mergers and acquisitions among nonprofits with coinciding missions.

Which suffering organizations will consolidate and trudge forward? Which will dodge the conversation completely? Which will merge, which will be acquired, which will fail? We’ll find out in 2016.

2. The Kenney Administration

This is going to be fun. We know Mayor-Elect Jim Kenney co-authored the 2014 bill that eventually made the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability a permanent fixture in city government. We also know his transition team is 169 people deep and includes staff from Message Agency, a web dev shop and B Corporation serving nonprofits. Founder Marcus Iannozzi was recruited as a mouthpiece for local social enterprise.

A whole squad of folks on the transition team are dedicated to the environment and sustainability. Still — last winter, Kenney enlisted Philip Rinaldi, the South Philly refinery executive and mastermind behind that big energy hub pipeline idea, as an economic development policy advisor last winter.

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We’re looking forward to finding out how the incoming administration will interact with players in the city’s social impact space.

3. The pending effects of these major leadership changes 

There was a lot of movement in leadership among the area’s major organizations in 2015. Laura Kind McKenna is stepping down from her post at the Patricia Kind Family Foundation. Fairmount Park Conservancy and Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust merged this past spring. Broad Street Ministry founder Bill Golderer is pursuing his first political campaign in his PA-7 congressional run — more on that below.

United Way, The Philadelphia Foundation and the Friends Center all experienced shifts in leadership in 2015. Once the dust settles, will these organizations emerge in familiar form? How will they change, and how will that change affect their impact?

4. Climate Ventures 2.0

Thanks to a stacked roster of partners, the folks at GoodCompany Ventures will be helping social entrepreneurs tackle climate change using climate data. Climate Ventures 2.0, launching this coming February, is GoodCompany’s response to President Barack Obama‘s Climate Data Initiative.

Climate Ventures 2.0, said GoodCompany, will look and feel a lot like their public policy-focused accelerator FastFWD, but on a much larger scale. What kind of climate-centric enterprise concepts will this cohort of social entrepreneurs bring to the table?

5. Indego’s first full year

Philadelphia’s bike share program had a successful launch this past spring and brought on a general manager this past fall. We’re pushing for more access, but holy cow, all the sweet, sweet usage data behind the creation of all those slick Indego apps is thrilling. How robust will that information be once a full year of data has been collected?

6. Bill Golderer’s run for Congress

The Broad Street Ministry founder has some big ideas for how government can better foster innovation. We’re looking forward to keeping up with his first political campaign as he goes to bat with PA-7 incumbent Pat Meehan.

7. Philadelphia Land Bank

The long-awaited launch of the Philadelphia Land Bank happened right before the end of the year. We’ll be interested in how many vacant properties are transferred to the land bank in the coming year, but more importantly, we’re looking forward to discovering what comes of those properties — what will become of them, who will they stand to serve and in what way, and what other organizations might be able to glean from that process.

8. State budget woes

Here’s the bleak-feeling wildcard. As of this posting, the Pennsylvania state budget had not yet been passed, and local nonprofits are feeling the burnThe Associated Press reported today that both the House and the Senate won’t be meeting again before the new year. We want to be optimistic about the outcome of this now-six-months-long impasse, but for many government-funded organizations, time is running out — or it’s already gone.


The essence of what we’re trying to do here at Generocity is find out how to get better and smarter at creating impact. We fully anticipate capturing and employing that process in the new year. As we follow these stories, we hope you’ll join us.


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