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The 10 most popular Generocity stories of 2019

December 17, 2019 Category: FeaturedLongMethod
We are a scant eight days away from a new year and a new decade. This year, my first as editor of Generocity, has flown by. It has been eye-opening.

Who knew that the nonprofit sector in Philadelphia was as manifold, dynamic and as full of truly dedicated and extraordinary people as it is? You all knew, but I didn’t, and I am humbled and grateful for how generous you have been in teaching me this.

You all rock.

It has also been extremely interesting for me to see which of the hundreds of stories we published this year really struck a chord with you, and so were shared a lot and racked up the most pageviews. Tl;dr — they aren’t necessarily the stories I thought would end up as most-read.

Our regular features: Power Moves, On the Market, Money Moves, remain very popular, even though none of them made it into this year’s top 10. (One Power Moves — the one announcing that Jasmine Sessoms had joined Community College of Philadelphia — fell just short of making the list.) Likewise, the pieces our regular columnist, Valerie Johnson, writes are always very well-read. Her “Please (please, please) don’t do this when applying for nonprofit jobs” almost made it to top 10.

One of the stories on this list wasn’t edited by me but my remarkably talented predecessor, Julie Zeglen. But in a significant way her imprimatur is on five other stories on this list as well — even if she didn’t edit, assign or solicit them — she created the 2019 editorial calendar topics they were written to illuminate. I hope the  2020 editorial calendar generates as much powerful conversation as this year’s did.

From our Partners

Here’s a list of what you read the most this year:

10. A week after its CEO left, the Food Trust cuts a dozen jobs

and

9. Yael Lehman leaves the Food Trust

It isn’t at all surprising that the sudden departure of the Food Trust’s president and CEO, Yael Lehman, after 18 years of leadership, was a widely-read piece of news. Nor is it surprising that the announcement of job cuts a week after that also made our top 10. As people say, Philadelphia is a big city with a small city feel, and the nonprofit sector is a fairly tight-knit community within that. Just as you are the first to congratulate your colleagues when they are promoted or earn accolades, you keep a watchful eye for the ripple effects of big changes in top leadership.

8. Race and exclusion in Philadelphia: Snapshots from the past 100 years

Skyline with City Hall, 1927. (Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia, Digital Collections)

Part one of a two-part look at the city’s 100-year history of exclusion and racism by Haverford College guest columnists Eric Hartman and Stephanie Keene goes a long way in explaining today’s poverty rate and life expectancy gap in Philadelphia. This piece is phenomenal in all sorts of ways, not least of which is that despite its length (even published in two parts, it is a long read) it kept you so engaged you propelled it to this #8 spot.

7. Open letter: Staying silent is an act of complicity

and

6. Dear white people and non-Black people of color: Get comfortable being uncomfortable

Talking about great guest columns … Elicia Gonzales, the executive director of Women’s Medical Fund, wrote two pieces this year which resonated deeply with our readers. #7 was offered in response to public accusations of racism, ageism and other forms of discrimination levied at the Attic Youth Center. We asked Gonzales to write a piece for our racial equity series (we like her honest but compassionate voice as much as you do), which rings in at #6 for the year (and #19 for the most-read stories of all time).

All the racial equity stories we ran were pretty well-read (there is another one coming up on this list) with the guest columns the most popular of the bunch. Markita Morris-Louis‘ column, “Activating race equity problem-solving on nonprofit boards” very nearly made it to this top 10.

5. 28 nonprofit leaders of color on the rise in Philadelphia

DiverseForce's third cohort.

DiverseForce on Boards’ third cohort. (Courtesy photo)

The members of the 2019 DiverseForce on Boards cohort were the focus of this #5 most-read piece this year. One of the things I like best about being editor of Generocity is being witness to the scale and scope of talent in the nonprofit sector. That so many of the folks profiled in our leadership lists and in the profiles we write are people of color makes me happy. Philadelphia is filled with excellence … but you knew that, didn’t you?

4. Undersold and maligned, Coatesville isn’t what you’ve been led to believe it is

A sleeper hit! Typically our stories about the suburbs don’t get the pageviews our Philadelphia stories do. But this piece about the old steel town in Chester County that Al-Jazeera called  “two square miles of ghetto” made two things very clear. One, the suburbs aren’t all lily-white and wealthy. Two, as it is in neighborhoods in Philly, strength (and purpose and real change) is born in community.

By the way, “Bypassed,” the project-in-progress on which freelancer Grace Shallow focused her story, is tentatively slated to premiere in April 2020. We’ll give you details as soon as we have them.

3. Talking racial equity? Make sure you understand these 17 words

People like glossaries. People share glossaries. People are grappling with racial equity at their organizations. People are looking for ways to define what racial equity means. This article burned slow and steady and made it into the #3 slot for the year.

2. The homework gap in Philadelphia neighborhoods

Screenshot of the interactive map.

This guest column by Karima Zedan owes its exceptional performance not only to Zedan’s skill as writer but also to the fact it deals with topics our readers are profoundly interested in: education, youth, and eliminating barriers to digital access and literacy (more on this last soon). This piece, with its interactive map and wealth of statistics, is not only a good read but a useful resource as well. And who doesn’t love that sort of double duty? This piece is not only #2 this year, but #6 most-read of all time.

1. Let’s talk about the digital divide

#1 this year and #1 of all time. It’s a bit hard to figure why, but maybe it’s the Pew Research Center charts detailing tech adoption by people with disabilities and smartphone access by Black, Latinx and low-income families. But more likely, this piece about digital adoption, access and literacy that introduced our very popular digital divide month stories, resonated because so many nonprofits in Philly are doing genuinely inspiring work on the digital front.

And that’s it for now. We’ll be doing some more end-of-year round-ups of different sorts — so stay tuned!

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