The Allegheny West Foundation is one of the oldest and most successful community development corporations (CDC) in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1968, and for more than 40 years, the organization has worked on improving and developing the community in many different ways.
Alvin Little is the Main Street manager for the foundation and has lived in the community for more than 30 years.
“[The Allegheny West Foundation] revolves around neighborhood revitalization. Our approach deals not just with housing, but jobs, training and also targets certain things such as safety and cleanliness…and those things that impact a neighborhoods way of life in a positive way,” said Little.
Part of the revitalization strategy involves educational and youth programs such as Fresh Start. This program serves adults by providing entrepreneurial training to those interested in starting their own business.
“With the economy as it is, we noticed that jobs were not hiring like they used to. A lot of times, people were just looking for a job and not focusing on their career, so we started Fresh Start,” said Tay Carey, director of youth programs at the Allegheny West Foundation.
Children in the Fresh Start program receive free tutoring after school and are sometimes paid small stipends to do their homework. In the summer, the children are offered jobs at the local Tastycake thrift store and Sneaker Villas stores throughout the area. Last summer the program took in 350 students.
The foundation also focuses on rebuilding areas to provide affordable housing for residents. Through a partnership with PNC bank, eligible candidates receive grants towards the down payment of their house and they must work with the bank to increase their credit scores.
These and many other programs were developed to help Allegheny West become the thriving area, it once was.
Kristina Leon & Chesney Davis, Group 12, Nicetown-Tioga & Allegheny West.