May 9, 2023 6:37 am

Government for the People

We asked, they answered! What nonprofit leaders believe their communities need from Philadelphia’s next mayor.


(Photo via Flickr user JB, used under a Creative Commons license)

In the Committee of Seventy’s recent nonpartisan poll , no Mayoral candidate garnered more than 20% support from voters. While the majority of those polled were undecided, if these margins remain, whoever wins will need to govern mostly people who did not vote for them.

So what do those who work directly with Philadelphia’s communities think the next Mayor of Philadelphia needs to consider?

Generocity asked several Philadelphia nonprofit leaders to anonymously share their respective insights based on questions asked by Billy Penn in their Mayoral Quiz.


Gun Violence/Public Safety

screenshot from Billy Penn Mayoral quiz

“I want them to prioritize violence prevention programs as it’s the main tool the city has to address this crisis due to statewide preemption and lack of other protections. Other cities have effectively used such efforts to address this crisis. What the question doesn’t reveal and probably would further refine approaches is what we mean by VIP programs and why the current efforts are not working. The issue with the current approaches is poor coordination and implementation, combined with too much focus on programs, that while valuable, do not help reduce violence in the next three years. We need more investment in programs working with the highest risk individuals which tend to be in the 18-30-year-old range, not youth, along with other criteria. We would like to see at least 70% of resources go to such efforts and then improved implementation, evaluation and improvement.”

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“I wish there would have been all of the above. To truly disrupt violence and promote public safety, it takes a three-prong effort – prevention, intervention, and suppression. All of the answers felt part of the same, as job readiness programs and streetscape/vacant lot improvements are part of violence prevention strategies. The next mayor needs to understand that the violence and crime and symptoms of bigger issues and a holistic solution needs to be implemented. Solutions that bring together government, philanthropy, and industry coming together coordinating resources and efforts.”


Workforce Development

screenshot from Billy Penn Mayoral quiz

“Spend more money on outreach and recruiting- [The next Mayor] would be to work with nonprofit/CBO workforce agencies to fund training programs that create a pipeline into recruitment for municipal jobs.”

“The next Mayor should “spend more money” but it should focus on training and recruiting. If people in our communities are not prepared and qualified for municipal jobs, the City and Mayor need to work with nonprofits and the schools to do so. And with nonprofits being on the ground in communities, partnering with us for outreach, training, and recruitment could successfully place members in livable wage jobs/careers.”

screenshot from Billy Penn Mayoral quiz

“Devoting more resources to recruit within specific industries, like life sciences – Again, funneling more funding into education/ workforce training to provide access and opportunity to those who are under-resourced.

“There is a lot that needs to be done to attract more companies, starting with training and preparation for skilled workers. Organizations like Amazon will or will not come here if we do not have the talent to support them. Working with workforce organizations like ours will create a pipeline into jobs that companies might bring to our area.”



screenshot from Billy Penn Mayoral quiz

“Building subsidized housing as a city ensures it remains affordable. For-profit developers agree to tax credit packages that allow them to swap housing to non-subsidized units after a certain period of time, which is why the UCity Townhomes are a problem. I also considered choosing making it easier for people to move into vacant houses, but that was too vague a statement – I’d prefer something stronger, like the city developing existing vacant homes into useable, high-quality, ADA rental units that will be affordable.”


screenshot from Billy Penn Mayoral quiz

“More and more homes are becoming less affordable. Between rising rental costs that are not aligned with wages to income requirements that are not feasible for average incomes our communities are receiving, some type of rental assistance and mediation program is needed to be maintained. We are working with families that have full-time jobs making average income but not being able to move because they can’t meet the 3X requirements most landlords are now facing, and because of their income, they do not qualify for Section 8 which more and more landlords are focusing on. Something needs to change our resources and assistance can only go so far and our communities are in need.”



screenshot from Billy Penn Mayoral quiz

“There needs to be increased investment in the district instead of continued investment in the charter expansion which will increase equitable access education throughout the city.”

screenshot from Billy Penn Mayoral quiz

“Investing in the community through CCP can be integral in supporting proper development of workforce talent,  employment needs, and pathways out of poverty, as well as decreasing violence. Subsidizing tuition for those who need it and are willing to get the support and education will reduce the needs and societal issues later”


Tell Us!

What issues should the next Mayor focus on to support the communities you serve?

How can Government and Philanthropy work more collectively together?

What collectives and coalitions are working, and which need more support/strategy?

Share Your Thoughts Here!


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