Women’s Opportunities Resource Center
Project Goal: Project goals are split into two buckets: development of a new community partnership and associated launch of services therein, as well as subsequent program expansion. Sub-goals around partnership include successful completion of the following steps: socioeconomic and demographic research into at least three New American candidate populations, on-the-ground research into candidate populations and associated partner orgs, selection of population and partner, development of Memorandum of Understanding, and launch of services and associated outreach. For program performance, WORC’s goal is to generate awareness of and interest in its services and programs to individuals previously isolated from mainstream economic resources. WORC anticipates serving 50 new individuals and families as a direct result of this work in the target community; further details on recruitment and target participation by program are provided below.
Founded in 1993, Women’s Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) enables low-income individuals – primarily women and their families – to increase their social and economic self-sufficiency through self-employment training, support services, savings programs and access to business and financial resources. Our programs provide clients – whether individuals or entrepreneurs – with essential financial education and income & wealth-building strategies. WORC has been nationally recognized for its efforts, receiving, among other awards, the 2012 Action Partner from Women’s Way for improving self-sufficiency among women in Greater Philadelphia, and the U.S. Treasury Dept. 2001 Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development: Poverty Alleviation. We are a certified U.S. Treasury Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and SBA Microloan Intermediary.
Address 2010 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-4411
Total number of Agency Staff Members 7 FT, 4 PT
Agency Budget $1,089,931
The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:
- Familiarizing his/herself with the agency, its history, mission, current programs, organizational structure and strategic growth plans
- Building on WORC’s 2016 Market Needs Assessment, conduct internet-based and on-the ground research into key New American communities of opportunity
- Identifying and interfacing with potential collaborating organizations in said communities
- With assistance from the team, developing a model for ranking the prospect communities and selecting a final partner
- Developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the partner organization, including clear delineation of responsibilities
- Co-developing and launching outreach materials and events
- Documenting all activities to ensure that ease of replication in additional communities is maximized.
Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:
- A four year degree from an accredited university in a relevant discipline
- Ability to interact with individuals of diverse demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds
- Effectiveness in conducting web-based and place-based market research
- Willingness and ability to travel throughout the area to engage in marketing and outreach activities
- Organized self-starter with strong analytical skills and ability to multi-task
- Interest in community development, economics, and/or microfinance helpful
- Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends, in particular for attending relevant community meetings and events
- Bi/multilingual candidates preferred but not required
Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:
The Partnership Developer will spearhead a distinct, place-based project in which WORC deepens its presence in an immigrant/refugee/asylee (New Americans) community by collaborating with an on-the-ground organization embedded in that population. WORC will introduce its range of training, lending, and savings programs that tackle poverty at its root. New Americans in particular face significant economic distress caused by lack of financial education, lack of access to mainstream financial resources, and additional cultural and educational barriers. WORC programs will provide these individuals the core education and skills needed to establish financial self-determination. The particular target community will be selected via this project, with the potential for the partnership model to be rolled out in additional Philadelphia neighborhoods in the future. While the target community is not yet known, the need for increased economic opportunity among recent New American populations in clear. As per the US Census 2015 American Community Survey, median household income was $31,007 among foreign-born non-U.S. citizens in Philadelphia, almost 20% lower than the overall median of $38,253, and 32.1% were in poverty as compared to 26.5% overall. WORC brings a strong track record with 30-40% of our clients historically being immigrant/refugee/asylee. We now seek an embedded partner in a community in which WORC will establish a new foothold or deepen its existing presence.
How the new capacity created by this fellow will help strengthen the community and alleviate the problem:
WORC’s client base faces varying levels of isolation from the mainstream financial system. This is particularly true for New Americans, who are often unaware of both the American way of finance (e.g. the concept of credit scores) as well as resources like WORC and its peer agencies & traditional financial institutions. As a result, New Americans tend to remain insular, maintaining familiar practices like not declaring income, maintaining cash-based businesses, and relying on the immediate community for financing and other services. Targeted, proactive outreach strategies are thus required to enter these communities. This project represents a pilot of one such approach; the Partnership Developer will spearhead the identification and selection of a partner organization in a specific community of focus such as northeast or south Philadelphia. The result is to draw New Americans out of the shadows and to create a partnership model with the potential to be replicated in other communities. WORC’s approach is in concert with the City’s greater revitalization efforts, particularly Philadelphia2035, an overall vision document adopted by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in 2011 with district-specific plans subsequently introduced.
Level of community involvement in the fellow’s project:
The project is anchored in community outreach and will involve a tremendous degree of interaction with diverse individuals. The Project Developer is charged with identifying a key new immigrant/refugee/asylee community of focus and associated collaborating partner. As such, the Developer will conduct extensive exploration at the project’s outset, including significant on-the-ground outreach to community development corporations, neighborhood associations, and Chambers of Commerce, among others. With input from the team, the Developer will eventually select a final community and complete all steps to finalizing and launching the partnership, including development of a Memorandum of Understanding with the partner organization, co-creating program marketing materials, and co-leading outreach events with the partner to identify new clients for our range of programs. The Developer will have significant autonomy and responsibility but will not be working in a vacuum. Additional detail on how the Developer interacts with the WORC team is to be provided further in this proposal.
The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:
WORC brings a decades-long track record of administering programs that directly combat poverty through an asset-building approach. WORC’s major areas of programming include Self-Employment Training, Microloan Program with amounts of $1,000-$35,000 for business launch or expansion, and Family Savings Account (FSA) Program providing families a 100% match for money saved (up to $2,000), coupled with financial education, toward purchase of a target asset – home purchase, business expansion, or education. To date, WORC has trained over 3,500 individuals leading to 825 businesses launched, closed 647 microloans totaling $2.6 million and creating/retaining 1,750 jobs, and graduated 1,412 FSA participants saving $2.9 million, matched $2.85 million and leveraging $42.7 million in outside resources. A client emblematic of WORC’s impact is Abdoulaye, a New Guinean immigrant who in 2009 opened West Philadelphia commercial print and graphic design shop Abbi Print. Abdoulaye received his first WORC loan in 2014 for $4.5k toward purchase of equipment. Sales continued to rise, and in September 2016 Abdoulaye was approved for an additional $12k for installation of a high-capacity Heidelberg digital printing press. Abdoulaye epitomizes WORC’s focus on dense yet untapped entrepreneurial communities; he has a storefront on the well-traveled 60th Street corridor, and is an active member of the 60th Street Business Association through which WORC will identify new clients. The 60th Street BA is a prime example of the type of embedded partner WORC will identify during this project.
Fellow orientation plan:
The project’s supervisor is Community Loan Officer Inja Coates, who will orient and train the Partnership Developer and provide day-to-day supervision. Training will include internal elements like program immersion and org structure review, as well as external elements like meeting with key WORC clients and stakeholders. A holistic understanding of the organization and its clientele is a necessary foundation for the work of this project.
Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor: Inja Coates; Community Loan Officer
Plans for supervision of the fellow:
The Partnership Developer will be supervised by Community Loan Officer Inja Coates. While supervision will be more intensive during the on-boarding phase, the Developer will gain greater autonomy as the year progresses and as the individual is conducting research on the ground in Philadelphia communities. Any larger obstacles or project adjustments that arise will be elevated to Director of Training & Lending Larry Poppert.
Will fellow be working at the same address listed above?
Will the fellow have their own…
Office? Fellow will share
Desk? Fellow will have their own
Computer? Fellow will have their own
The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…
As a team member in a group setting 30
As a team leader in a group setting 20
Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position? Yes
If so, how often and where? Yes, to diverse communities within Philadelphia using mass transit.
Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…
A driver’s license? No
Their own car? No