LISC National
Our Priorities

West Philadelphia

West Philadelphia is a diverse, close-knit and vibrant community located minutes from Center City Philadelphia, home to family-friendly parks and schools, celebrated eateries, and an active arts and culture scene. A rich history of community organizing and development has created a welcoming, progressive, and affordable environment accessible to families, students, working people, and professionals alike, reversing decades of population decline. West Philadelphia also contains some of the most prestigious academic and medical institutions in the world, offering dynamic education, employment, and cultural opportunities for residents.

Yet half of West Philadelphia residents still live in poverty and unemployment hovers near 20%. Population loss and concentrated poverty have had a profound impact on the physical and social fabric of the neighborhood, such that crime and drug related activities continue to compromise quality of life. Recent pressures in the housing market and tensions with newer student populations have presented new challenges for lower-income residents and families.

SCI West

LISC had been working in West Philadelphia already for over two decades. Since 2007, LISC has focused investments in West Philadelphia following a comprehensive Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) approach called “SCI-West.”

Make Your Mark & We Are Mantua Community Plans
Through SCI West, LISC is focused on Mantua and the Lower Lancaster Avenue area, including the Belmont, West Powelton, Saunders Park and Mill Creek neighborhoods. In 2011, two organizations in West Philadelphia began creating comprehensive plans to revitalize these neighborhoods and improve quality of life. People’s Emergency Center (PEC) convened residents to inform the Make Your Mark plan, while Mount Vernon Manor (MVM) involved residents in the “We Are Mantua!” Transformation Plan.

Community Plans: Make Your Mark & We Are Mantua

Learn more about how Philadelphia LISC brought PEC and MVM together to identify shared priorities from the two plans and coordinate implementation.

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SCI West Activity

In addition to PEC and MVM, Philadelphia LISC supports other community partners advancing SCI West priorities. 

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Equitable Development Principles

Read the 5 priorities for a Fair Future, identified through a community process that engaged more than 365 West Philadelphia residents.

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Promise Zone and Promise Neighborhoods

Learn more about LISC's involvement in the federal Promise Zone designation and Promise Neighborhoods award in West Philadelphia.

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SCI-West Core Partners:


Rachel Brooks, Program Officer