(Photo by Flickr user Neil Kremer, used under a Creative Commons license)
Nonprofits, business leaders and public officials working to improve the health of their cities should actively engage with their counterparts in metropolitan areas across the country.
Nonprofit Economy League is hoping to be the catalyst that sparks fluid, productive conversation between the country’s cross-sector leaders. Next fall, they’ll be heading to Los Angeles with a small troop of Philadelphia-area leaders to do just that.
“We really dig in to try and understand what that region is doing differently or in an innovative way that we can learn from,” said Economy League Philadelphia Managing Director Josh Sevin. “What are some of the broader lessons we can apply to bring back?”
Sevin said the trip will seek to accomplish three things:
- Bring newly learned ideas back to Philadelphia.
- Attain new perspective on how Philadelphia is doing compared to other metropolitan areas.
- Strengthen the bonds between local leaders.
The nonprofit has already been on two scouting trips to L.A., Sevin said.
“What we do is try to talk with leaders across business and nonprofit communities to understand the biggest issues that excite them,” he said.
Those issues are primarily homelessness and education. L.A. has a notoriously plaguing homelessness issue, with approximately 41,474 persons experiencing homelessness last year, and in 2013 only 21 percent of children under age 5 were enrolled in childcare.
Yet, the number of nonprofit organizations tackling those issues is massive. Los Angeles is home to 2,142 foundations and over 35,000 nonprofits — and there’s no shortage of social entrepreneurs, with Impact Hub L.A. flaunting 300 members and an increasing number of social enterprises sprouting up across the region.
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“When something sounds that ambitious for a metro of that size, I wonder how much market share is it going to have,” said Sevin. That’s what Economy League hopes to find out.
“Some people may think L.A. is this sprawling, fractured place,” Sevin said. “We’re seeing again and again for a place defined so much by its diversity, there’s some really creative and great coalition building happening.”-30-
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