There’s a lot of skepticism about ethical redevelopment in communities that have been historically marginalized. Including community perspective in the planning and development process for blighted properties, in some cases, hasn’t been enough.
Developer and social entrepreneur Ken Weinstein’s take on social impact real estate is different: Give local developers and community leaders the skills they need to revitalize their own neighborhoods.
Jumpstart Germantown has had its fair share of successes, and stakeholders and community leaders in other Philadelphia neighborhoods have taken notice. Late last year, Shift Capital and Impact Services launched Jumpstart Kensington, followed shortly thereafter by Jumpstart Mt. Airy spearheaded by Weinstein and his company, Philly Office Retail.
Jumpstart’s success so far, said Philadelphia LISC Executive Director Andrew Frishkoff, is largely due to Weinstein being a “repository of information.” Frishkoff, who, in his capacity at Philadelphia LISC, has worked with Weinstein for years as a lender, said Weinstein can only do so much.
“He still has a business to run,” he said.
That’s why Philadelphia LISC is jumping into bed with Jumpstart again — but a bit differently this time. Last month, Philadelphia LISC was awarded a $125,000 capacity-building grant from the Barra Foundation to help Weinstein and Philly Office Retail grow and support Jumpstart.
It’s a “virtual expansion” of sorts that Weinstein himself doesn’t have to manage, said Frishkoff.
That means Philadelphia LISC will help the developer revamp the program curriculum and its website — all work that’s expected to be completed this summer. Then, the partners will roll materials out to Kensington with potential to support an additional site; Frishkoff mentioned interest from neighborhoods inside West Philly’s Promise Zone and Strawberry Mansion.
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“Folks in other areas can use these materials and adopt and adapt them as they need to,” said Frishkoff.
Essentially, Philadelphia LISC is helping Weinstein strengthen and refine the program’s structure so it can thrive in its newest iterations. As far as financing, people interested in bringing Jumpstart to their neighborhood will have to figure that out on their own.
“Developers bring their own talents, some of their own capital and resources to this,” said Frishkoff. “The capital available in Germantown won’t necessarily be available in Kensington or another neighborhood.”-30-
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