(Photo by Flickr user Philadelphia City Council, used under a Creative Commons license)
This past November, Mayor Jim Kenney and his team assembled a massive transition team and charged them with developing recommendations for how the new administration can improve city services.
The transition team, comprised of cross-sector local leaders, broke off into committees and then broke off again into subcommittees.
They came up with 139 recommendations for the administration.
That’s a lot of bullet points. Here are 10 of the more immediate takeaways from that list (recommendations for July 1) that carry relevance for Philadelphians working in the social impact community:
- The administration should look to identify key city staffers capable of leading open data policy implementation in each department. They should also expand the Open Data Advisory Board roster and clarify roles within it.
- An update is way overdue for the city’s procurement process.
- Form a Talent Development unit to better connect jobseekers to employment opportunities, and put together a Community Development Corporation Advisory Committee, a Small Business Advisory Committee and a waste and litter cabinet while you’re at it.
- Get a plan in the works that increases the number of minority and women-owned businesses by 50%. Also, increase those business’ income from government and agency contracts by $18 million before FY17 and by $48 million before FY19.
- Increase access to arts and culture resources in neighborhoods.
- Identify foundation leaders that might be interested in supporting early childhood education. Also, improve the STARS system and tighten relations between the Mayor’s Office, the school district and community-based organizations providing education programming.
- Get alternative energy players around a table to talk about how to remove barriers to entry — but make sure to engage the public.
- Institutionalize a Health in All Policies framework — a holistic approach that would hold policymakers more accountable for the wide-scale health of Philadelphians — through Executive Order, then establish a task force to implement it.
- Restructure the Office of Immigrant Affairs and establish a centralized database that will allow the city to connect individuals to community organizations and nonprofits that are serving the immigrant community.
- Develop goals and metrics that will reduce the city’s imprisoned population.
Those are just the recommendations for July 1. Here are five more quick recommendations made by the transition team for the end of the year:
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- Re-design PhillyStat and implement an eProcurement process.
- Create a database that will track cultural programming, expand resources for arts and culture organizations and develop an accessibility scorecard for neighborhoods.
- Assist nonprofits and businesses with funding.
- Publish the new Greenworks plan and create a training program for energy efficiency jobs.
- Implement 15 new miles of bike lanes and circuit trails.
Phew. While those recommendations are all really neat to think about, the viability is improbable — it’s a super ambitious list considering the size and quantity of the recommendations, but it doesn’t mean none of them will get done.
Marcus Iannozzi, founder of Callowhill-based web design firm and social enterprise Message Agency sat in a subcommittee on broadening procurement opportunities for small organizations. Within the committee as a whole, he said, the conversations he was involved in were a breath of fresh air.
“It’s actually focused more on community in economic development and making sure the rest of Philadelphia is not left behind in the growth we’re experiencing,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of gains, but a lot of people have been left behind.”
That, he said, is a testament to Kenney’s commitment to fighting poverty in Philadelphia. Iannozzi suggested the city use the workforce development systems that are already in place to meet the demand for talent.
In other words, prepare the people we’ve already got in Philadelphia rather than recruit from outside employment bases. A great example of a small organization that’s already doing that, Iannozzi said, is Wash Cycle Laundry.
“As they’ve scaled up, they’ve been able to offer employment to folks who were formerly incarcerated or coming off of welfare,” he said. “Wash Cycle Laundry grew because of a lot of its procurement.”
He’s right — according to founder Gabriel Mandujano, most of the company’s growth comes from commercial and institutional contracts. Those are the contracts Iannozzi wants to see more organizations procure from the city’s anchor institutions — institutions like the University of Pennsylvania and Comcast.
“Especially for B Corps who are interested in making sure they are offering those kinds of opportunities, this is really really important,” he said. “Connecting to the institutions to get those projects that will fund that kind of growth, and finding the staff that are really prepared. That’s what’s really exciting.”-30-
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