James Wright, Director, Community, Economic, and Real Estate Development, People's Emergency Center (PEC) and Lancaster Avenue - West Philadelphia, PA
What is your organization's mission or values statement?
People's Emergency Center (PEC) nurtures families, strengthens neighborhoods, and drives change. We are committed to increasing equity and opportunity throughout our entire community. We provide comprehensive supportive services to women and their children experiencing homelessness, revitalize our West Philadelphia neighborhood, and advocate for social justice.
What communities are you supporting?
PEC works in Belmont, Mill Creek, West Powelton, Saunders Park, and Mantua.
What’s one thing you wish people knew about your organization?
I wish people knew we are a homeless shelter +(plus)! Our work is deeper and wider than that one issue. Even our shelter program is about more than just housing people. We work with our residents to increase self-sufficiency. We work in our community to increase equity, beauty, and prosperity. We connect with our peers to innovate beyond the barriers that impede the work of reducing poverty in Philadelphia.
How do you define impact in the work that your organization does?
I define impact simply as the successful completion of a project. What that looks like is a family moving into a well-renovated home they can afford. It also looks like a young adult working as a community connector, engaging their fellow neighbor about mutually important matters. It looks like a business expanding into the empty storefront next door. It looks like a legacy business celebrating 25+ years in existence. It looks like a renovated park becoming a hub of positive vitality. It looks like strong civic associations guiding the changes happening in their communities.
If you look at philanthropy as social currency - contributing not only dollars but time and talent, how does your organization spread the philanthropic love to other organizations?
We spread philanthropic love through collaboration. Whether that collaboration comes through connecting with local arts organizations to conduct creative placemaking. Connecting with local civics to negotiate community benefits agreements for large-scale real estate developments. We spread philanthropic love by collaborating with peer organizations to increase the number of affordable housing units in Philadelphia.