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SOCIAL INNOVATIONS JOURNAL: It might take a village to reform DHS, help community support itself

Editor's note: This is presented as part of a content partnership with the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal.

The old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is one that the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) is coming to embrace. The latest in a series of reforms at the agency is a new initiative called Improving Outcomes for Children (IOC), which aims to improve service delivery and outcomes for children in care by engaging community partners, streamlining case management, and vigilantly tracking outcomes indicators to measure the initiative’s success.

In doing so, Philadelphia DHS is embracing a new model of child welfare that acknowledges that public agencies cannot singlehandedly combat child abuse and neglect, but rather that communities are in the best position to help protect children and support families during times of need. By engaging these communities more effectively and recognizing their essential, if informal, role in service delivery, and by using data to measure success, DHS believes it can improve the safety, permanency and well-being of the children in its care.

Philadelphia DHS is not the first agency to experiment with this hypothesis of change, but given the particular challenges they face, if they are successful, there is enormous potential to influence child welfare agencies nationwide by changing practice and the mindset of child welfare service delivery.
The innovation in the IOC initiative is two-fold. First, the data tracking component of IOC represents the latest, and boldest, step towards real and meaningful accountability within DHS ever. The initiative is results-oriented, making everyone single-mindedly focused on quality service delivery and improving clients’ outcomes. Accountability done well -- using outcomes to assess the impact of programs and policies -- leads to improved client outcomes. Although accountability is not a new concept in child welfare, and some agencies nationally have embraced it, most still have not. If Philadelphia can make its system more transparent and accountable, it could serve as an important model for similar jurisdictions around the country. 

The second true innovation in IOC is the community partnership component. The premise is fairly intuitive: Children belong in families, families operate in a sphere of communities, and most often the reason that families enter the child welfare system is that they are isolated from these communities and have nowhere to turn during times of need. If families are well-supported and have access to the resources they need during times of crisis, then children will do better too.
In some ways, enhancing community partnership can be best described as building a continuum of care for at-risk children and families. The model acknowledges that many of the children who touch the child welfare system come from broken communities, and are children of yesterday’s at-risk children from similarly broken communities, or even the child welfare system themselves. By working to establish a continuum of care that can catch families when they need support, and acknowledging that DHS cannot perform this task alone, DHS may be able to significantly reduce caseloads and improve outcomes for all children at risk of entering the child welfare system in Philadelphia.

Read the full article here.

PHILADELPHIA SOCIAL INNOVATIONS JOURNAL is the first online publication to bring a public focus to social innovators and their nonprofit organizations, foundations and social sector businesses in Greater Philadelphia Area, to recognize success and encourage others around the country to strive for similar results.

Citizen Effect launches Philly4Philly to raise $250k through 150 citizen philanthropists

The local nonprofit community continues to see new attempts to jumpstart local funding streams.
A week after FundingWorks launched its local crowdfunding platform, the latest tool comes in the form of Philly4Philly, a philanthropist mobilization project that aims to engage 150 Philadelphians in philanthropy for a selection of nonprofits. 
It is part of Citizen Effect, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that aims to provide "everyday citizens the tools and networks they need to work directly with communities in need."
"We think anyone can be a philanthropist," says Fiona Roach Canning, COO & Partner Director for Citizen Effect.
Philly4Philly will curate 150 nonprofit community projects in Greater Philadelphia in need of up to $10,000 in funding to become a reality, matching them with 150 citizen philanthropists who will be trained in fundraising through list-building, messaging, social media and offline events. 
"We see ourselves as marketing machines for nonprofits," says Nicole Schneidman, Citizen Effect's Strategic Initiatives Manager, who has started engagement with local nonprofits and potential citizen philanthropists and is putting together a team of local interns to work on the project. Citizen Effect launched Detroit4Detroit earlier this year, and to date has 75 citizens committed to raising $140,000 for projects ranging from education to housing and shelter.
The organization will formally launch with an event later this month. Nominate a nonprofit here.

Source: Fiona Roach Canning, Citizen Effect
Writer: Joe Petrucci

Arts Alive: PNC Foundation Grants 25 Groups a Combined $1M

Five recipients representing diverse programming were among the new grantees in the latest round of funding from the PNC Foundation through PNC Arts Alive, which announced 25 grants totaling $1 million last week.

Asian Arts Initiative, First Person Arts, Mendelssohn Club, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre and Theatre Horizon were the new grantees. Grant size for all recipients ranged between $25,000 and $80,000. The Philadelphia Orchestra earned the largest grant to support eZseatU and Sound All Around, programs that engage young and diverse audiences.

Through four years of PNC Arts Alive, more than 100 organizations have received a combined $4 million to support innovative ways to engage audiences through the visual and performing arts.

PNC Arts Alive 2012 Funding
(new grantees)
PNC Arts Alive presents Neighborhood Spotlight: a series of public art workshops and visual art presentations by resident artists, engaging two vibrant multi-cultural neighborhoods: Chinatown and South Philadelphia. The series will begin with a cross-cultural exploration of Latino and Asian communities culminating with an exhibition of handmade lanterns and an oral history soundscape. $40,000
The PNC Arts Alive Philadelphia Story Project uses personal stories from three immigrant communities for a public storytelling celebration. Participants mentored by a professional storyteller will present their tales of coming to Philadelphia at a free, family-friendly Story Day celebration which includes other elements reflecting their ethnic origins, such as food and live music.  $30,000
The PNC Arts Alive grant supports the Mendelssohn Club’s Big Sing Community Series.  Here, the chorus and the audience sit together while the chorus performs.  Ethnically-diverse guest choruses will teach the Mendelssohn chorus and their audiences some of their repertoire during these performances. $25,000
The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre will offer free admission and transportation during PNC Arts Alive Free Will Wednesdays to Othello featuring Tony Award-nominated African American actor Forrest McClendon. They will also host pop up theater performances, share flip-camera audience reviews on their Website and host backstage tours and artist receptions. $35,000
PNC Arts Alive presents Theatre Horizon’s Grand Opening Season, offering the city’s residents, many of whom are low-income and underserved, free tickets to attend critically-acclaimed live theater in their own neighborhood. $25,000

(returning grantees)
Presented by PNC Arts Alive, Come See About Me celebrates the Supremes’ imprint on fashion, music, civil rights and female empowerment. A dazzling exhibition with over 70 gowns, album covers, photographs, video footage, and extensive programming will dramatize how the Supremes broke racial and gender barriers.  $75,000
The PNC Arts Alive grant supports ticket subsidies for three programs:  the Borgata Pops concert of country western, pop and classical music and featuring “America’s Got Talent” stars; a classical series featuring “Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony” with area choral groups; and the second annual Atlantic City Music Festival.  $45,000
PNC’s Open Rehearsal Series will once again open the doors of Black Pearl’s rehearsals to African-and Latin-American high schoolers from underserved Philadelphia neighborhoods.  Students will be invited on stage for a "mini-lesson" in conducting live musicians.$30,000
Meet Your Seat will introduce individuals and families from diverse backgrounds to the magical world of live theatre through cultural performances, house/theatre tours and hands-on activities.  $30,000
ColorWheels is a professionally-staffed mobile arts studio that will bring art-making to low-income and immigrant communities in South Philadelphia.  The curriculum includes on-the-spot art-making and a year-long project where participants contribute to a collaborative piece.   $35,000
Marrying artistic presentations to mobile technology, Check In to the Arts presented by PNC Arts Alive will increase access to the arts for young, diverse audiences.  By simply “checking in” using a smart phone, audiences will be able to receive any number of ticketed events for a free or subsidized rate.  $50,000
A five-day summer dance festival will feature the work of diverse choreographers from the Philadelphia area. Artistic director Roni Koresh will select 15 local, independent dancers to perform his new work and each show will include a performance by Koresh. $35,000
The Opera will expand PNC Arts Alive Family Days with opera-themed activities on three Saturdays at the Academy of Music. Families will be invited for workshops in group singing, conducting and stage combat plus tours of the sets, orchestra pit, dressing rooms and wardrobe areas. $40,000
The PNC Arts Alive Discovery Series includes half-price ticketing nights, free dress rehearsals and student rush prices for works that will add to the cannon of family productions. $40,000
In its second year, Social Artworking will deepen audience relationships and expand its reach with “pop up” public performances at community festivals and public gatherings to announce upcoming free exhibitions and arts activities.  $40,000
PNC Arts Alive will again be presenting sponsor of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe.  It will also sponsor Le Grand Continental, a dance event from Montreal making its American debut and featuring more than 200 Philadelphians of all ages, dance abilities, and backgrounds on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. $50,000
Mural Arts will stage The Meal, a series of visual and performance art pieces that gather people around a communal table to engage in dialogue about a chosen theme. Two French artists will lead community workshops to develop a theme for the design of ceramic plates and a table runner for a meal of 1,600 Philadelphians in a public space.  $40,000
Through PNC Arts Alive support, the museum ‘s Family Access to the Arts initiative will continue the Every Family Party, a vibrant family festival, and Pay-What-You-Wish first Sundays. $55,000
PNC Arts Alive will once again support eZseatU and Sound All Around – education programs for young, diverse audiences. Sound All Around will expand its concerts into underserved neighborhoods to introduce preschoolers to classical music.  eZseatU offers college students a $25 season membership to attend any number of subscription concerts for $1 each. $80,000
Street Movies! presented by PNC Arts Alive is a series of free outdoor films and discussions in 14 different locations throughout Philadelphia.  In 2012 and 2013, Scribe will take a mobile digital media studio into neighborhoods so community residents can create short ‘digital postcards’ that will be screened along with the films.  $35,000
PNC Arts Alive! Family Fun Days continue with interactive, family-oriented activities on Sundays from June to December.  Live artist demonstrations and multi-cultural workshops and performances educate and engage children, many from low to moderate-income households.  Admission will be free for children 17 and under.  $35,000

Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia:  PNC Arts Alive Award for Innovation $40,000
ArtReach:  Independence Starts Here $15,000
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance:  PhillyFunGuide -- “Free” Campaign $50,000
Open Minds:  Program Evaluation $20,000

Philly SEED finalists for education entrepreneurship grants announced

Forty-one applications have been whittled down to 12 finalists for the inaugural round of funding for Philly SEED, which aims to promote education entrepreneurs in the region.
Spearheaded by PhillyCORE Leaders, Councilman Bill Green and The Spruce Foundation, Philly SEED chose finalists in two categories -- expanding/established entrepreneurs and emerging entrepreneurs.
Finalists will present their ideas on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the WHYY building (150 N. 6th St., Philadelphia). You can support the program by coming out -- $40 will get you food, drinks and inspiration. For $70, you'll also be able to sponsor a principal, teacher or parent to attend for free. Proceeds and donations go to the winner of the emerging entrepreneurs group.

Emerging Entrepreneurs
ApprenNet’s K12Meets is a scalable, low cost teaching training tool that leverages technology for countless teachers to practice skills, collaborate with each other, and receive meaningful expert feedback.    
I.O. promotes health, literacy, financial literacy, and community by offering access to nutrition and fitness; providing financial tools for growth and security; improving education and employment; and by developing leaders.
Lessonsmith is an online platform that helps teachers share and collaborate on resources to make their lessons more engaging and more effective.  
Philasoup is a monthly microgrant dinner that brings innovative and dynamic Philadelphia-area educators together, funds selected education-based projects, and highlights the great work educators are doing around the city.
Teacher Action Group incubates and facilitates Educator-led School Transformation by providing city-wide peer professional development programs that leverage social capital of schools and communities.
YES! for Schools provides at-risk students with practical tools to manage stress, resulting in increased academic performance, improved student behavior and healthier school communities.
Expanding/Established Entrepreneurs
Education-Plus Inc. is building high school-college partnerships that target low income students in which a high school student obtains his/her degree during the evening hours at his/her high school.  This model ensures access, affordability, and college accountability. 
Springboard Collaborative combines targeted student instruction with parent training in an incentivized system that closes the literacy gap.
Startup Corps empowers high school students to be active, engaged participants in their education by leveraging their passions and teaching them the skills necessary to start something real.
the school collective is an online professional development network, accessible by independent teachers, schools and organizations, that enhances school and teacher quality through the streamlining of planning procedures and sharing of best practices.
The Student Leadership Project develops a corps of influential students who are the primary builders of school culture. With students taking ownership of culture, teachers can focus on instruction.
Urban Blazers is a non-profit organization that provides young people from under-resourced Philadelphia communities with  regular leadership programs that are highlighted by outings which include hiking, rock climbing and more. 

Source: Rachel Meadows, City Councilman Bill Green's office
Writer: Joe Petrucci

Baiada Center expands to Baiada Institute, offers family wisdom at recent summit

The Laurence A. Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship announced today that it is expanding to become the Baiada Institute, a University-level institute within Drexel University. The Baiada Institute will pursue more seed capital, micro-grants, and Small Business Innovation Research grants. 

Previously, Baiada functioned within the LeBow College of Business. 

The parents of Mel, Mark, Mike and Matt Baiada must have been some kind of magic. The four siblings have found business success in very different fields. On March 8, the Baiada Center, named after the family patriarch, hosted The Brothers Baiada: 4 Faces of Entrepreneurship.
Mark Baiada founded Bayada Nurses, and has grown a home health care operation to more than 200 offices in 20 states. He was awarded Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year, which commended his tenet to think big, work hard, and show love.
Mike Baiada was one of Drexel's earliest students to receive dual business and engineering degrees. Mike's ATH Group fundamentally alters the air traffic control process, aiming to greatly increase timeliness and profitability. Mike, also a commercial airline pilot for United, says the secret to success is to determine process first, and then create minimal technology to make ideas a reality.
SolidSurface Designs is Matt Baiada's business. "When I was in grammar school, we had to walk two miles to get home. We would pass a lumber yard every day," recalls Matt. "There was a contractor there who had a whole lot of cash and was always peeling off bills. That was pretty impressive." Matt began by fixing up the Baiada family home, then founded a carpentry and cabinetmaking business that became SolidSurface, a 20,000 square foot manufacturing facility with 25 employees.
Mel, the youngest of the brothers, went into information technology. He sold his company Bluestone to Hewlett Packard in 2001 for over $350 million. His advice: passion is useless if there is no need for your product or service in the marketplace -- save your passion for long term sustainability. Mel is now managing partner at BaseCamp Ventures and President of Basecamp Business
The early morning event, part of the Eye of the Entrepreneur series, drew a crowd of about 150.

Today's announcement was made possible by a $500,000 donation from the Barbara and Charles Close Foundation, $250,00 from Mel and Mark Baiada and $200,00 from Dick Hayne of Urban Outfitters, also a Drexel trustee. A behavioral laboratory planned for the new 12-story LeBow College of Business facility will foster experiential learning in sales and negotiations.

Source: Matt Baiada, Mark Baiada, Mel Baiada, Mike Baiada, Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship
Writer: Sue Spolan

SOCIAL INNOVATIONS: PolicyMap makes good data to help make good decisions

Editor's note: This is presented as part of a partnership with the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal.

PolicyMap. Good Data. Good Decisions." That tagline captures both the purpose of PolicyMap and what drives the team behind this innovative new tool. Everyone -- from funders to the general public -- is placing increasing pressure on public and nonprofit sector programs to make data-driven decisions. Good data, however, can be costly and time-consuming to gather, not to mention difficult to analyze and interpret.

Data-mapping software has emerged as a critical tool for helping everyone from large government agencies to small nonprofits analyze and present place-based data more effectively. Until recently, however, mapping data required significant expertise and software investment.

Enter PolicyMap. Launched in 2007 with seed funding from The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a Philadelphia-based organization committed to community investment, PolicyMap offers datasets combined with powerful mapping technology, without expensive software or training. Through PolicyMap, users have access to customizable data and tools that can help them map their own data. PolicyMap aims to provide and present information in ways that help users make better and timelier decisions.

PolicyMap is a revolutionary tool, making mapped data and mapping functions available via the web to a variety of public policy and program stakeholders, from large government agencies to small grassroots organizations that would not otherwise have access to such usable data. PolicyMap makes information accessible and easy to understand, offers a one-stop shop for multiple sources of data, and allows users to generate and customize data maps.

As a result, people and organizations are equipped to make better-informed decisions about investments and programming, and improve tracking and communication about impact. Examples include:

- Wachovia Regional Foundation used PolicyMap to coordinate with other public, private and nonprofit investors by identifying underinvested areas.

- Neighborworks has combined its own neighborhood, block-by-block survey results with PolicyMap’s market data in order to examine patterns and identify particularly successful or blighted blocks.

- The Brookings Institution has used PolicyMap to develop a widget that allows users to view the locations of, and generate reports about, communities in 10 different metropolitan areas with limited access to supermarkets.

In addition to the innovative nature of PolicyMap from a product perspective, PolicyMap also serves as an example of innovation at the organizational level through its internal culture. The team makes the exploration of new applications, features, data sources and partners a priority. The team is lean, and, as a result, agile. Every staff member is critical to the organization and empowered to take ownership for the areas for which s/he is responsible.

Read the full article here.

PHILADELPHIA SOCIAL INNOVATIONS JOURNAL is the first online publication to bring a public focus to social innovators and their nonprofit organizations, foundations and social sector businesses in Greater Philadelphia Area, to recognize success and encourage others around the country to strive for similar results.

Conshohocken's OpenDesks reaches 1,000 worldwide workspaces as it chases investment

Need a hangout in Honolulu? A desk in Des Moines? Conshohocken-based OpenDesks can get it for you. The startup just announced that it offers 1,000 temporary work spaces worldwide. Options for rentals range from a desk in a coworking space, to a private office, to meeting rooms. Chris DiFonzo, co-founder and CEO of OpenDesks, cites a recent statistic that coworking is up 88% and now accounts for over 1,300 spaces internationally, according to Deskmag.
DiFonzo, who originally created the OpenDesks concept after leaving his previous job in 2010, relaunched in June 2011 with partner Keith Dallara. "It's been a direct uphill climb," says DiFonzo. "We went from less than 100 spaces to over a thousand." 
To appeal to investors, OpenDesks recently registered as a C corporation. Revenue, says DiFonzo, comes from making a margin on the space. OpenDesks has access to offerings from international space providers Regus and Alliance Business Center Network, as well as regional provider American Executive Centers. "What we are working toward is delivering OpenDesks as Software as a Service," says DiFonzo. "A company would pay a fee, and the entire team would have easy access to flexible workspace anywhere in the world."
DiFonzo cites the example of client Readyforce, a California-based startup in First Round Capital's portfolio. The company needs offices all over the country for a month at a time to conduct remote interviews. "We've been able not only to get them locations that offer great service and are owner operated, but we've saved them 20 to 30% off list prices."

DiFonzo says it would be a lot of work for them to line up offices themselves. In contrast, space seekers on OpenDesks get real time confirmation with a well designed, easy to use interface.
The company's main competitors are LiquidSpace and LooseCubes, but DiFonzo says both of those companies' offerings are concentrated around headquarters on the west coast and New York City, respectively.
The OpenDesks website averages 300 to 500 searches a day, according to DiFonzo, and since June, has made close to 400 reservations worldwide. The app is also available as on both iPhone and Android platforms.

Source: Chris DiFonzo, OpenDesks
Writer: Sue Spolan

Wilco, Temple partner to bridge North Philly's digital divide

North Philadelphia is getting a digital makeover, thanks to a new initiative between Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc. and Temple University. "What we're trying to do is create a new urban ecosystem for digital entrepreneurship in North Philadelphia," says Brigitte Daniel, Executive VP of Wilco. 
Daniel, who just returned from an Eisenhower Fellowship-funded tour of some very impoverished areas of the world, sees mobile apps as the most effective way to bridge the digital divide.

"In Southeast Asia, people went right from landline phones to mobile phones, leapfrogging over fiber optics and wired technology and going right to wireless networks," she explains. "In the US, the majority of our apps are for gaming and entertainment. In the last two years, we've developed more social service and government apps. Very shortly, we're going to see in low income populations that the mobile phone and tablet will be the pre-eminent way for everyone to access broadband information and content."
Daniel says the new partnership with Temple, launched in the beginning of 2012 with the Urban Apps & Maps Studio and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, will target Philadelphia Housing Authority residents.

"We are calling this a public-private-people partnership because it is a collaborative effort between an educational institution and a private company that puts North Philadelphia communities, including residents, right at the center of the development process," says Daniel. "This is an area that has not experienced the same renaissance as West Philadelphia. It's an interesting opportunity to have more impact on the surrounding community than any other school in Philadelphia."
Daniel cites not only the digital divide, but the cultural divide between Temple students and low income residents, who live side by side. "There's been some tension between the community and the school." The initiative both encourages students to solve nearby urban problems and offers training to PHA residents. The project could have implications on a national scale.
Daniel credits Temple Vice Provost for Research and Business Development Tony Lowman with helping to get the new initiative off the ground, and offering an opportunity not only to develop apps for PHA residents, but with their help as well. Lowman, previously at Drexel, was the leading academic partner in the Freedom Rings Sustainable Broadband Adoption Partnership. Drexel provided 5,000 laptops to PHA residents as part of the Freedom Rings Partnership.
Daniel says, "If we implement this well and get the community engaged, it will be inviting, not intimidating." Some of the ideas for apps to build include streamlining the way PHA residents can find social services, and get easier access to health care and educational materials. Daniel expects measurable results in two to three years.

Source: Brigitte Daniel, Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc.
Writer: Sue Spolan

Drexel engineers music, 3D technology innovations with separate Philly institutions

Drexel University looks at the entire region as an extension of its campus. Ideas flow like steam beneath Philadelphia's streets. Two professors in different departments are heading multidisciplinary teams that merge new technology with Philadelphia traditions. 
In collaboration with the Academy of Natural Sciences, the plan to print 3D dinosaurs has already gained national attention. In the area of music technology, Professor Youngmoo Kim is developing the first app to do real time annotation of Philadelphia Orchestra performances. The Drexel-generated iOS orchestra app will be the first of its kind in the world.
Paleontologist Ken Lacovara is in the process of reanimating dinosaurs. Before you jump to the obvious Jurassic Park conclusion, there are a lot of steps in between. Lacovara, a paleontologist, has teamed up with Dr. James Tangorra in Drexel's College of Engineering to scan and print out 3D dinosaur bones. 
Also on board is Drexel Mechanical Engineering prof Sorin Siegler, whose focus is biomechanics. "We don’t really know exactly how dinosaurs moved," says Lacovara, who wonders how a creature weighing 60 to 80 tons could move and trot. Not to mention lay an egg. 
With a birth canal opening at two and a half stories in the air, and an egg the size of a volleyball, Lacovara wonders how the massive dino would withstand the stress of squatting and getting up. With the help of his colleagues, creating 3D models and working out the biomechanics will answer literally tons of questions.
Over in Drexel's METLab, whch stands for Music, Entertainment and Technology, Youngmoo Kim takes a break from a robotics demonstration to talk about his collaboration with The Philadelphia Orchestra. It started a few years ago, when Kim made his students sit through a classical concert. "Those without classical training said, yeah, that was nice, but I didn't get it," recalls Kim. It was around the same time the iPhone came out, so he and students undertook a project to create an app that would tell listeners about the performance in real time. 
It was such a hit that Kim and students applied for and won the Knight Arts Challenge. While Kim cannot be specific about the date of the public rollout, he says it will be within the year. Perhaps the launch will coincide with the orchestra's 2012-2013 season opener this fall, but Kim remains mum.
Kim also says that not every concert will have an accompanying app, so concertgoers who find smartphone use distasteful can choose performances without the tech overlay.
"There used to be a brouhaha over supertitles at the opera," says Kim, who has dual training in music and engineering. "Ten to twenty years later no one cares. If you go to an opera now and there are no subtitles, something seems wrong. Likewise, 10 to 20 years from now, no one will care if someone uses a phone at the symphony."

Source: Ken Lacovara, Youngmoo Kim, Drexel University
Writer: Sue Spolan

Vascular Magnetics' $7M Series A round shows impact of Science Center's QED program, company's team

Fresh off a $7 million round of Series A financing, Richard Woodward says without hesitation that the company he co-founded, Vascular Magnetics, would not exist without the first-of-its-kind QED Proof of Concept Funding Program at the University City Science Center.

A veteran executive from the biotech sector with extensive startup and early stage experience, Woodward was semi-retired and consulting in 2009 when he learned about the QED program, which assesses white papers on promising technologies and links the best with a business advisor and the possibility of funding. In the case of Vascular Magnetics, Woodward was paired with Dr. Robert J. Levy of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and they were awarded $200,000 by the QED program in 2010.  The result was CHOP’s first spin-out company, focused on developing its proprietary, magnetically targeted drug delivery system for the treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

“I was joking with my wife that this would have been a whole lot easier when I was 40,” Woodward says. “She said that when I was 40, I wouldn’t have had any idea what to do.”

In one respect, Woodward has come full circle with CHOP. His daughter had a medical condition that incapacitated her for her a couple years and a physician from CHOP helped contain the ailment, allowing Woodward’s daughter to pursue a career working for another children’s hospital.

“Dr. Levy, I have so much respect for that man,” says Woodward, the COO, of the company’s founding scientist. “He’s brilliant and a very prolific inventor, with something on the order of 31 issued patents. He probably has another 30 in various stages of the application process.

“It’s fairly rare to find an academic like that.”

The entire Series A round was funded by Wayne-based Devon Park Bioventures, whose general partners Christopher Moller and Marc Ostro will join the Vascular Magnetics board and rounds out a compelling case study of the potential of Greater Philadelphia's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Funds will allow the company to complete clinical trials, which are expected to begin in 2014. While the company will stay “aggressively virtual,” according to Woodward, there’s a good chance it will hire up to two more individuals. Also, the company is planning on maintaining workspace in the Science Center’s Port Business Incubator.

PAD effects about 30 million in Europe and North America, including 10 million in the U.S. Vascular Magnetics’ system aims to provide a more durable and effective treatment than angioplasty, grafts and drug eluting stents. It does this by combining biodegradeable, magnetic drug-loaded particles, a magnetic targeting catheter and an external device for creating a uniform magnetic field.

Woodward says some of Levy’s team at CHOP will be involved as consultants.

“These are some of the people that have developed the whole system. It’s important to have them around.”

Writer: Joe Petrucci
Source: Richard Woodward, Vascular Magnetics

Photos courtesy of Vascular Magnetics
Richard Woodward
Dr. Robert Levy

Women own IgnitePhilly9, Philadelphia Orchard Project wins $1,000

Like some kind of sustainable Vaudeville act, a giant check made out to The Philadelphia Orchard Project danced past Paul Kimport, co-owner of Johnny Brenda's, where Ignite Philly 9 was underway last Thursday. The Ignite 6 winner received $1,000 for its urban fruit tree initiative.
There are a few truly key vantage points with good sight lines to the stage at JB's, and Kimport stood at one of the best, with a view of the entire area. To the right, bathed in the blue light of a photo booth, speaker Yasmine Mustafa practiced her talk about bringing GirlDevelopIt to Philadelphia. Straight ahead, past the attentive bartenders, Jessica Moore was onstage talking about her startup, Philadelphia Cow Share.
This was one of the best Ignite Phillys we've done," says co-organizer Dana Vachon. "The speakers were diverse. The crowd was diverse. It was awesome! It's always exciting to see a couple hundred people get so excited about the good things in our city."

Co-organizer Geoff DiMasi adds, "I am really proud of the diversity of speakers. Some cities make Ignite into a tech and start-up event while ours is a celebration of the city."
Perhaps the most mind blowing moment came at the top of the program. Keya Dannenbaum, founder of ElectNext, opened IgnitePhilly not with a talk about politics or civics, as expected. In five minutes, with very simply illustrated slides, Dannenbaum brought the house to tears with a story about a bridge, a note, and a great love.
"I was pretty nervous since it was so personal, and I knew the expectation would be something different because, one, I'm always talking about ElectNext and two, because I felt that it would be more typical of an Ignite event to speak to a specific accomplishment directly relatable to Philadelphia," says Dannenbaum, who had absolutely no idea what the response would be. She'd only ever told the story once before, at her wedding. "I ultimately decided to tell it because I just really, really love that story." She intentionally left out all mention of ElectNext, which continues to grow from its headquarters at PMN's Project Liberty.
It was a night that went to the women. Pam Selle's speech, entitled Go the Fuck Home, was about finding a balance between work and life, and received dozens of twitter and real life accolades. Mustafa, who turns 30 this week, won for Best Overall presentation. Sisters Emaleigh and Aine Doley talked about their grassroots neighborhood renewal work in Germantown. Diana Lind of The Next American City asked us to consider blowing up Interstate 95, for real. 
Some pretty sharp guys also took the stage, like the Bicycle Coalition's Alex Doty, up and coming stand up comic Doogie Horner, the brilliant Dave Martorana, Tim Bennett of Bennett Compost, as well as Jeff Friedman and the Code for America fellows, who are in residence here this month. 
While  DiMasi could not get over the fact that he's already organized nine Ignites (when he can still recall creating the first) the packed room begged for Ignite 10. Says Vachon, "So far, we do not have a date for Ignite 10, probably sometime in the late spring."

As far as rumors of moving to a larger venue? Not true. "We love the venue and while we would love to accommodate more people, we think the impact of an intimate sold out event is perfect for now," replies DiMasi.

Source: Keya Dannenbaum, ElectNext, Dana Vachon, Ignite Philly
Writer: Sue Spolan

SOCIAL INNOVATIONS JOURNAL: Lee Nunery, Seth Williams among those focused on community impact

Editor's note: This is presented as part of a partnership with the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal.

Next week, the Winter 2012 edition of the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal (PSIJ), titled "Innovations in Community Impact," will launch on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, second floor (19 S. 22nd St., Philadelphia).  You can read the Winter edition then by going to the PSIJ websiteThe event is open to the public, but requires an RSVP by emailing here.  The forum runs from 8:30 a.m.-12 noon, and will showcase two panels discussing health, education, criminal justice, child welfare innovative solutions to impact Philadelphia communities.  Some of the voices you will hear or read include:
  • Dan Hilferty and Independence Blue Cross’s newly created Social Impact Foundation that serves as a model for Corporate Social Responsibility and Responsible social investing;
  • Kenny Gamble and Adur Rahim Islam, a successful real estate developer in South Philadelphia who took the unusual step of getting into the business of education, seeking to address at a holistic level the social ills that plagued local neighborhoods by focusing on schools as a way to redevelop a sense of pride and ownership within communities;
  • Anne Marie Ambrose and the Department of Human Services’ program, Improving Outcomes for Children, which aims to improve service delivery and outcomes for children in care by engaging community partners, streamlining case management and vigilantly tracking outcomes indicators to measure the initiative’s success;
  • District Attorney Seth Williams’ commitment to The Choice is Yours (TCY), an alternative-to-incarceration program to increase public safety and reduce recidivism rates by diverting first-time, non-violent felony drug offenders away from prison and into the labor market through positive job training and support;
  • Ann Karlen and Fair Food’s strategy to strengthen the Philadelphia regional food system by increasing the demand for a humane, sustainable, local agriculture system; and
  • Dr. Lee Nunery and the School District’s efforts to create alternative education settings that ensure all students can succeed in schools and their partnership with colleges to create direct college access and completion pipelines.
Philadelphia Social Innovation Journal publishes "Nominate an Innovator" articles which are public nominations of social innovations.  The Winter issue will highlight PolicyMap, demonstrating how programs can make "data-driven" decisions using a dynamic web-based tool, Naveguemos con Salud, a program providing breast health education and treatment assistance for Latinas, and Sunday Suppers, a novel intervention focused on educating low-income residents of the Norris Square neighborhood about the importance of taking time for nutritious family meals.

The Winter edition will highlight one of PSIJ columnists who explores the notion that problem-solving requires a different level of thought than our current thinking, which actually creates programs; the growing relevance of nonprofit collaboration; and the need for nonprofits to think strategically about partnerships as a way to grow revenue.

PSIJ 2012 Editions: In the Spring you will read about innovations in Arts and Culture, followed by innovations in Philanthropy and Responsible Investing in late Summer/early Fall.  Late Fall you will read about innovations in Collaborations, Affiliations, Partnerships and Mergers.

Increased partnership with foundations and universities: We welcome Independence Blue Cross Foundation and the Patricia Kind Foundation to our advisory board, which is composed of Independence Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Scattergood Foundation, St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Wells Fargo, Inglis Foundation, Barra Foundation, and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as well as the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice, the Wharton School, and Sage Communications.

PSIJ is guided by an advisory board of regional foundations, the University of Pennsylvania, and thought leaders that include: Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Patricia Kind Foundation, Independence Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Scattergood Foundation, St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, Wells Fargo, Inglis Foundation, Barra Foundation, and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government, School of Social Policy and Practice,  and the Wharton School; and Sage Communications.

NICHOLAS TORRES and TINE HANSEN-TURTON are co-founders of Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal. Send feedback here.

Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal is the first online publication to bring a public focus to social innovators and their nonprofit organizations, foundations and social sector businesses in Greater Philadelphia Area, to recognize success and encourage others around the country to strive for similar results.

TEDxPHILLY CATCH-UP: Jen Pahlka and the Code for America crew see great things for tech in city

This is the first installment of an ongoing series that catches up with last November’s TEDxPhilly speakers.

For more videos of last year's TEDxPhilly talks, visit the event's YouTube channel.


Jennifer Pahlka has made cities her life work. She considers herself a product of American cities, from New York, where she grew up, to Oakland and San Francisco more recently, and now Philadelphia, where she’s visited close to a dozen times in the last year or so. She refered to Philly as a “city of love” in her TEDxPhilly talk last November at Temple University.

As founder and executive director of Code for America, she helps match web professionals with cities to create efficiency and promote accessibility among municipal offices by sorting databases, building apps, and freeing up data. Philadelphia is one of only two programs to be a part of CfA for two consecutive years, and this year’s edition recently welcomed CfA fellows Alex Yule, Elizabeth Hunt, and Michelle Lee.

Flying Kite talked to Pahlka and the three new fellows to catch up on their work in Philly and how CfA has grown into a game-changing experience for cities across the country.

Flying Kite (FK): How has your project in Philadelphia advanced since TEDxPhilly?
Jennifer Pahlka (JP): The big news is that our 2012 fellows just started their work in Philadelphia on Monday (Jan. 30). Michelle Lee, Alex Yule, and Liz Hunt are the new team, and they are accomplished, talented, and passionate about making the City of Philadelphia work better for all its residents. They're starting five weeks of meeting with everyone they can and figuring out how they can make a bit impact there this year.

Part of their work will be carrying on Change by Us in Philly, which currently hosts 418 ideas and 50 active projects, in which citizens are helping to make their neighborhoods better.

FK: Any changes to report? New partners, funding, accolades or other growth?
JP: At the end of last year, Code for America received a $1.5M grant from Google to start two new programs, including what we call the CfA Brigade, which will help civic developers and others anywhere in the country to stand up civic apps for their communities, and a start up accelerator for civic businesses.  We're hoping to have a big Philly presence when we get it up and running.

FK: What is one thing you've learned since TEDxPhilly about cities or Philadelphia?
JP: Sixty percent of the world will be living in cities by 2020!

FK: What's the next milestone for your work and why is it important?
JP: Our call for applications for our 2013 cities program closes on April 1. We hope that more and more cities around the country want to be a part of this movement, so that more cities can work openly, efficiently, and be deeply engaged with their citizens.

FK: What are your specific tasks while in Philadelphia?
Elizabeth Hunt (EH): As part of our year-long fellowship with Code for America, we’re spending 5 weeks in discovery mode in Philadelphia: understanding how the city serves its citizens, what Philadelphians want and need from their city, and how technology might help make local government more open, efficient, and engaging.

Alex Yule (AY): To that end, we’re meeting with citizens, officials across city government, as well as members of the tech and civic communities. We are also searching for champions – strong local partners who can help us build solutions, and maintain them once we’re gone. We want the tools and solutions we build to live on!

FK: What do you think of Philly's potential as a tech hub/leader?
Michelle Lee (ML): At Code for America, our past successes can be attributed to great partners at every level of city government and community. They help us make sure any technology we build is relevant to the real, existing, and complex urban challenges that cities face today.

Similarly, Drexel University’s ExCITE (Expressive and Creative Interactive Technologies) program is bridging technology with the arts. Philadelphia is an established national leader in healthcare and education, and has recently won major awards for sustainability and the arts. There’s a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of our sustainability, education, and especially our healthcare strengths in the same way.

FK: What are Philly's most pressing tech challenges?
AY: It seems to me that Philadelphia’s most pressing challenge is that people outside Philadelphia don’t seem to know there’s a vibrant tech scene here. So it may be difficult for companies here to attract more tech talent.

FK: What has impressed you about technology in Philadelphia?
ML: You could argue that the relative scarcity of technology investment capital here so far has actually had a silver lining. Philadelphia’s tech community has created sustainable businesses, very much in touch with their users and customers. I don’t believe you’d see a dot-com bust here.

AY: Philly has a strong core of companies who live in Philly because they truly love and believe in their city. Some other cities are full of companies who are there because “they’re supposed to be.” You get a very clear sense of that traveling around the city and chatting with people -- there are no opportunists or fair-weather friends here. People are in it for the long haul, they’re dedicated to building this city up as an even greater place to live and work.

Is there a difference between your initial perception of the city and the way you feel after being here for a bit?
AY: I’d heard about Azavea’s great mapping work while I was still back in school -- but I had no idea the scene was so vibrant! The city really is a bit of a hidden gem.

EH: I’m from San Francisco. I’d never really thought about it as a place with a tech scene. Since I’ve been here, I’ve learned there are thriving tech, civic, and arts communities. Some of the initiatives we’ve learned about -- the Urban Apps and Maps program at Temple and the new ExCITE program at Drexel for example -- are strong indicators that Philadelphia is a city on the verge of becoming an exciting hub of opportunity, whether you’re a tech person, an artist, or civic leader. Now is the time to move to Philly!

SUE SPOLAN is Innovation & Jobs News editor for Flying Kite. Send feedback here.

JOE PETRUCCI is managing editor for Flying Kite. Send feedback here.

From left, Liz Hunt, Alex Yule, Michelle Lee, Mayor Michael Nutter, Manager of Civic Innovation and Participation Jeff Friedman, and Director Of Communications And Strategic Partnerships Desiree Peterkin Bell,

Nutter to Philly Startup Leaders: Entrepreneurs want to come to this city, we need to make it easier

Below is text of a letter sent last week from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to Philly Startup Leaders regarding his address to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and his commitment to making the city more attractive for entrepreneurs (published with permission from Philly Startup Leaders)

Philly Startup Leaders community:
During my address to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce this week, I emphasized that one of the best things to happen in Philly over the last decade has been the growth of organizations that bring big thinkers together like Philly Startup Leaders. This active, entrepreneurial community inspires creativity, new ideas and new thinking in Philadelphia. Our city’s future success is dependent on the strategic use of our talent, and it is the companies like yours in the innovation sector that will create jobs for Philadelphians in the decades to come.

We have a whole community of organizations that are creating a network of entrepreneurs who are based in Philadelphia and have connections around the world. If we are to become Philadelphia, an international city, we will need to rely on companies big and small, new and established to help spread the Philadelphia story around the world. I know that entrepreneurs want to come to this city and we need to make it easier to start their businesses right here.

Through my second term, my Commerce Department and I will stress the importance of making Philadelphia a more dynamic city for startups. I recognize the value fo these companies – and of organizations like Philly Startup Leaders, which brings these entrepreneurs together – to Philadelphia’s success in the new economy. The City is here to help.

Thank you for choosing Philadelphia for your home and business. I know we can do big things, and it is through imagination, ambition and resilience that together, we will lead Philadelphia to success in the new economy.

Michael A. Nutter

For Philly Startup Leaders' response, go here.
For more on starting a business in Philadelphia, go here.

Live in 3, 2, 1: Countdown to PhillyCAM grand opening tomorrow

"There's nothing like going live," says Deborah Rudman, Programming Director for Philadelphia Community Access Media (PhillyCAM), which celebrates the grand opening of official headquarters this Wednesday.
Mayor Michael Nutter will be in attendance for the big reveal at 699 Ranstead Street in downtown Philadelphia. The fight for public access began 27 years ago, and the formal creation of PhillyCAM finally happened in 2009. The mayor will provide the countdown to live programming, a first for the public access channel. Gretjen Clausing, Executive Director, says "It is a moment that I have pictured since 1997 when I started working on the fight to get public access.  Just thinking of the countdown before we start sending out a live signal just gives me goosebumps."
Of the brightly colored HQ, Clausing says, " It's fantastic. Flexible. Welcoming. And it still has that new car smell. We  are only just beginning to understand the possibilities of the space and all the equipment that we have installed." 
The organization began life in temporary quarters at the Painted Bride Art Center, and while concurrently building membership and programming, PhillyCAM found a permanent home. With the assistance of Metcalfe Architecture and Design, a former photographer's studio has been transformed into a multilevel suite of studios, a media lab, community space, classrooms and offices. An Express Studio faces directly onto 7th street.
Rudman describes the new space simply as "fabulous, even better real than imagined," with people stopping by on lunch break to use the commons, or dropping in to use the media lab before going to see a movie at the nearby Ritz Theater.
Rudman looks forward to new studio production classes, more programs produced by PhillyCAM members, regular live shows,and connections between people who might not have met otherwise.
The grand opening takes place at 2 pm tomorrow, followed in the evening by a reception at 6 that will lead up to a live show, produced right in the midst of the party, at 7, featuring interviews with staff, some pre-produced drop-ins and perhaps a few unexpected moments. The public is welcome to both the 2 pm and 6 pm events..

Source: Gretjen Clausing, Deborah Rudman, PhillyCAM
Writer: Sue Spolan
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