Dec. 13, 2016 12:54 pm

‘Relationships are the best things we can build in this city’: Mo Manklang says goodbye

Generocity's community manager marks her five-year anniversary with a farewell.

Classic Mo, amiright?

(Courtesy image)

Today marks my five-year anniversary at Generocity, two days before my final day with the organization.

It’s bittersweet and exciting at the same time. Generocity has evolved so greatly from its first iteration as a heartwarming nonprofit news blog, into a full-fledged news outlet that helps Philadelphia’s do-gooders become more productive and more connected.

When I started at Generocity, I had recently ended work running a not-for-profit arts organization, because I realized I was duplicating efforts by other awesome organizations such as Small But Mighty and InLiquid Art and Design. After realizing this, I began to concentrate my efforts on connecting people to the work that was already in motion, and feeling all the better for it.

I then heard about Generocity, an organization that (fortunately for me) was hiring someone do the work that I was already doing, and I jumped at the chance. I will always be thankful to the then-team, particularly Suzanne Levy and Mike Kaiser, for hiring me for the most transformative job I’ve ever had, as well as Generocity’s founder Sandra Baldino for creating a breeding ground for the coverage of local social impact.

Five years later, it continues to be one of my greatest pleasures in life to connect people to purpose, helping to make this city better in the most efficient ways possible, with the needs of the community front and center. We have seen this work change from a nonprofit-centric scene into a multifaceted network of nonprofits, for-profits, the city and its citizens, who each have a role to play.

Though this year developed, er, unexpectedly, we have seen people and organizations alike mobilize to own their piece of the puzzle. We’ll need more of that in the years to come; inaction is no longer an option and “intentions” around issues like diversity and equity must move into action.

Since joining the Technically Media team, it has been a pleasure to see our coverage grow through the work of Editor Julie Zeglen and Lead Reporter Tony Abraham. They’ll continue this important work and I look forward to seeing how their reporting develops. (Do me a favor: Make sure to email them tips here, as I will not be on staff to constantly email with leads anymore.)

From our Partners

As I reflect on my time, here are just a few highlights:

  • Partnering with the Sustainable Business Network on the Good Economy Challenge during the election for our new mayor and city council candidates. This drive proved that our collective efforts could affect policy and push our local government toward sustainable practices and policy.
  • Producing the “Around the Corner” series with PhillyCAM, a vital player in our local media system. Take some time to watch a few videos of interviews with local leaders and get to know their faces, OK? I’ll wait here.
  • Bringing providers, workers, teachers and engaged citizens together around homelessness during our Blueprint: Homelessness event to plug new people and energy into the work that’s being done. (Stay tuned for more Blueprints on other topics.)
  • We showed Philadelphians that being geeky and passionate about their city is vital and laudable at this year’s Philly Geek Awards. (One more shoutout for our female-powered nominee list!)
  • And finally, the work that I am most proud of, our “leaders of color” series. In a city that is 44 percent black and 54 percent people of color, it is of huge importance that we recognize and elevate, not erase, the leaders that represent the people of Philadelphia. These are leaders who are on the ground, who may not have yet permeated our top spots in leadership, and who should be leading us in understanding the best ways to do right by Philadelphia.

My biggest takeaway? Relationships are the best things we can build in this city. For every problem, there is a Lauren Miltenberger who is eager to enlist students to help. For every jaded front-line worker who needs inspiration, there is a Kevin Upshur who works tirelessly to help kids in Strawberry Mansion. For every law that does not uphold community needs, there is a Saleem Chapman to help people to understand and engage with policy. Knowing these kinds of people is what drives innovation and keeps us motivated year after year.

I have been fortunate to spend five years building relationships within Philadelphia, and I look forward to continuing to build those relationships in other capacities. I remain an avid supporter of Generocity and the important role it plays in helping us to focus on solutions and forward movement instead of simply problems. It’s been a privilege to be the convener of discussions, asking hard questions of this city about how we “do good.” We need to do more of that.

You’ll still see me around Philly, working in community organizing and cooperatives with the likes of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (not a government office!) and the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance and scheming as a Democracy at Work Institute fellow. Right now — more than ever — this work needs to be pushed forward, supporting democratically run workplaces and organizing our people to stand for what’s right. From now on, I’ll be cheering on Generocity from the outside, eagerly following its coverage and partners.

Here’s to the future!

[Editor’s note: Want to say goodbye in person? Tomorrow evening is our “Holiday Impact Community Party” at PhillyCAM HQ, 699 Ranstead St. Mo will be hanging out near the cheese table.] 


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