Philly4Philly: The Citizen Philanthropy Movement Comes to PhiladelphiaBy William Yang |
What if there was a small, but critical, project you could lead and fundraise for that would visibly help Philadelphia? That’s the question on the minds of Philly4Philly, a crowdfunding initiative that will officially launch on Thursday, July 26th.
Organized by the Washington D.C.-based organization, Citizen Effect, Philly4Philly will help turn 150 passionate Philadelphians into full-fledged citizen philanthropists who will learn how to rally their friends and family to raise money for high-impact projects in the region. Citizen Effect previously launched their first local campaign in Detroit called Detroit4Detroit and is hoping to replicate that success here in Philadelphia.
Em Hall, the New Media Director of Citizen Effect, and Nicole Schneidman, the Strategic Initiatives Manager of Citizen Effect, shared with us why Citizen Effect chose Philadelphia as their second iteration and what they expect to achieve through Philly4Philly.
Why did Citizen Effect choose Philly4Philly for the second iteration of the citywide campaign?
Em: First, we needed to choose from one of the Knight Foundation’s eight “resident Knight communities,” part of their “Engaged Communities” initiative. Excluding Detroit, that left us seven options, and in selecting from those we considered two simple criteria. Population: we had to make sure the city’s large enough to find 150 citizen philanthropists. City passion: it’s all about citizens that love their city. Philly jumped off the page on both accounts. It is a large city and more importantly, for anyone who has spent time there or has a friend from Philly, that city passion runs deep. We actually had our eyes on Philly from the start and are thrilled to be here.
As someone who has visited Philadelphia a few times now organizing this campaign, what are some of your key takeways on the city?
Nicole: Philadelphia is incredible. It’s a city of history, neighborhoods, and innovation. Walking through the city alone is a treat and I’ve been blow away by the city’s accessibility, diversity, and the different characters of its neighborhoods every time we visit. In preparing for launch, we’ve been lucky to connect with people from across different sectors and backgrounds and every new conversation just reaffirms our decision to start working here. Philadelphia has an incredible concentration of engaged, informed citizens who don’t hesitate to ask questions, the hard ones. And I think that that’s all part of what really distinguishes the city — its commitment to finding solutions.
We’ve been incredibly fortunate in the organizations and individuals who have embraced Philly4Philly and have already helped us hone and improve our approach. People are eager to collaborate in exciting, surprising ways, but that just seems to be the norm here because it’s all about what we can get done together to have a better, stronger impact. I think we’ve found from that willingness to partner and share information, advice, and connections that the City of Brotherly Love is more than an appropriate title and we’ve barely scratched the surface.
What’s different in the design of the Philly4Philly from Detroit4Detroit?
Em: The key for us is understanding what we do well and the value we add. At the end of the day, Citizen Effect is simply a tool that communities can use to mobilize citizens and raise money for critical projects. All of that stayed the same. However, this needs to be a Philly-inspired and Philly-owned initiative to be successful. To make that happen, we’re working hard to ensure the issues Philly4Philly will address and types of nonprofits we work with will reflect the current situation in Philadelphia and how citizens want to get involved, both at a neighborhood and city-wide level. We are not coming in and telling anyone what needs to be done.
We’re also bringing on a full-time staff member to lead our on-the-ground effort to make sure we’re tapped into the community and getting the feedback we need to keep the program on track. We already have a very deep, hands-on level of commitment from our Philly Local Advisory Committee and their guidance has been essential in starting off on the right foot. And, we’re also crafting a marketing and outreach strategy to engage people from across Philadelphia to truly reflect the city’s landscape. We’re really hoping to engage a diverse audience in defining what it means to be a Philly4Philly Citizen Philanthropist.
Why was it important for you to have staff “on the ground” in Philadelphia this time around?
Em: We played with a couple different team structures in Detroit, from one dedicated fellow to a team of volunteers and interns. We felt that if we were 100% committed to Philly that warranted funding a full-time person who would be the name, face, and voice of the effort.
Detroit4Detroit recently celebrated their 150th citizen philanthropist, what’s been the most significant impact of Detroit4Detroit?
Em: Each of the projects are going to have an impact on a community in Detroit, but I see the most significant impact is identifying and bringing together 150 passionate citizens that love Detroit. Over the next few months, we will be providing these citizens the tools, training, and technology they need to complete their project so that when they are done, they will be better community leaders. That is the most powerful impact we can have.
What did you learn from Detroit4Detroit? What makes a great citizen philanthropist?
Em: Passion. Plain and simple. If someone has the passion to be the change they want to see in their community, they can become a successful citizen philanthropist.
Your launch event is on July 26th, why should people come out to the event? What can they expect?
Em: We’ll be bringing together our first ten nonprofit partners including: The Food Trust and the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools, Local Advisors, and some of the first of the 150 to introduce Philly4Philly and celebrate our start.
We’ve also teamed up with Flying Kite and Generocity and are excited to get together to connect with Philadelphians from across the city who are interested in learning more, getting to know our first projects, and joining the Philly4Philly community. We’re going to be keeping it low key as we want attendees to be able to connect and have conversations, but food and drink will be available, so come on out for a fun evening with great people and get to know us and what’s in store for Philly4Philly.
How can people reading this connect and get involved to make the Philly4Philly campaign better?
Em: We’re launching the full-blown Philly4Philly website soon, but for now anyone interested in learning more should be sure to visit the site and fill out the online form. That way they’ll be kept in the loop on all things Philly4Philly. There’s also a Facebook page and Twitter account, so be sure to like and follow us. Finally, we just posted a save the date for the launch party and everyone is invited to attend.blog comments powered by Disqus