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Imagine Philly as a startup at CEOs for Cities national meeting May 17-18

In a January opinion piece in TechCrunch, entrepreneur Jon Bischke suggested the most successful urban leaders are those who view cities like startups. CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders dedicated to creating next generation cities, will examine that premise at its 2012 Spring National Meeting: The City As a Startup -- Creating Demand, Attracting Talent, Taking Risks and Going to Scale.
 
The meeting is set for May 17-18 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati and is made possible with support from The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation. Former AOL Chairman and CEO Steve Case will deliver the morning keynote and also sit on a panel conservation about Startup America. 
 
CEOs for Cities will also release its latest City Vitals report, a framework for measuring the success of cities. Other panels include considering Songdo, South Korea as the planet's smartest city and using the collective impact approach to catalyze social change. There will also be opportunities to tour Cincinnati attractions and examples of success.
 
Register here. View a draft agenda here.

Philly Tech Week: A Burning Ring of Entrepreneurial Fire

"We're still getting attendee numbers in, but we'll be around if not above 10k, double last year," reports Christopher Wink, who co-organized Philly Tech Week along with Sean Blanda and Brian James Kirk on behalf of Technically Philly. Culminating with the Signature Event, a chic cocktail party featuring high end demos from The Knight Foundation, Wharton Computing, T-Mobile, NextFab and Hive76, Philly Tech Week was a total success by all measurement. For Wink, one highlight was when "the mayor dropped an open data executive order that we've been pushing on for a year." The impact of Philly Tech Week, says Wink, is real.

"It's like family," said Novotorium's Mike Krupit of the startup community that packed Thursday night's Fourth Annual Entreprenur Expo, held at the Gershman building of the University of the Arts. Presented by Philly Startup Leaders and organized by Gloria Bell, forty entrepreneurs lined up in a ring around the perimeter of the auditorium. Dozens of enthusiastic teams were on hand, some of which are so familiar that they've set up permanent space in this reporter's head, such as Lokalty, CloudMine, AboutOne, Basecamp Business, PalmLing and HeartMe.

Others doing a great job of bringing attention to their product included Patty Tawadros' iWoof'd Up, a pre-launch company offering a behavior modification program to reward family members with points redeemable for wish list items; Artsy Canvas, from the talented Kendall Schoenrock, whose large scale graphic repro company LTL has become the go to business for tech startups (LTL has created sheets of nametags for many Philly Tech Week Events).

ConXt, from Eric Sauers and Eric Greenberg, automatically updates your private address book using social media. Said Sauers, "The part of the expo that really stuck out to me was the great collection of attendees. I've been to other expos and have found the audience really doesn't fit the companies displaying." Indeed, it was not unusual to see participants floating around the room, away from their tables, catching up with their colleagues. In attendance were many familiar faces from the Philly Startup community, including several teams from Startup Weekend, like Zazzberry, Yagglo and Credit Cardio, who were still aglow from the high of building businesses from the ground up in 54 hours.

"The growth of Entrepreneur Expo, from 20 companies and approximately 200 attendees four years ago to 40 companies and over 500 attendees this year, has been a direct reflection of the growth of the tech community as a whole," said organizer Gloria Bell. "It just seemed such a natural fit to schedule the event as part of Philly Tech Week this year. For me, the highlight of Expo is always watching the intense interest on the faces of the attendees and exhibitors as they interact.  Last night was no exception."

Tonight is the Signature Event of Philly Tech Week, to take place at Moore College of Art, and the week wraps up tomorrow with 10 more events.

SnipSnap Clips the Competition at Switch Philly

Like magic. On the same day that Ted Mann's SnipSnap mobile app debuted on the iTunes Store, Switch Philly awarded Mann and team the winning spot in Wednesday night's tech startup competition. Switch, one of the highlights of Philly Tech Week, took place at the University of the Arts.

SnipSnap is on a fast track forward, and it's the second win this week for the coupon scanning team of Mann, Kyle Martin and Kostas Nasis. Earlier in the week, SnipSnap won Mobile Monday Mid-Atlantic.

"I'm the father of two kids and an unsalaried CEO of a startup," says Mann. "We have what we call the bowl of shame in our house. It's filled with coupons."

Elsewhere, the coo-pon versus kew-pon pronunciation debate continues at The Reckoner, whose creator Dan Koch, now on board as a Senior Architect at AppRenaissance, was in attendance on Wednesday.

SnipSnap impressed judges Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital, Mayor Michael Nutter, and Ellen Weber of Robin Hood Ventures, triumphing over worthy contenders PalmLing, Inhabi, Yagglo (which won Philly Startup Weekend), and Airtimem.

Weber, speaking after the event, reports that she is getting an iPad this weekend as a result of her time at Philly Startup Weekend with the Yagglo team, whose designer Shawn Hickman, she says, is one to track.

Source: Mike Krupit, Novotorium; Ted Mann, SnipSnap; Ellen Weber, Robin Hood Ventures
Writer: Sue Spolan

Nearly $3M in Knight Arts Challenge Awards awarded at Philadelphia Museum of Art

"You have to look at his lines," said Janet Echelman of the collection of rare Van Gogh paintings on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the venue for the Knight Arts Challenge Awards ceremony on Monday night. "Look at his drawing skill." Echelman, an internationally known sculptor known for her public art, was on hand to share in the honor of a $400,000 grant to the Center City District to transform the Dilworth Plaza, and be completed in March 2014, according to Paul Levy, who accepted the Knight Award on behalf of the CCD.

Winners and ceremony attendees were treated to a private viewing of the blockbuster exhibit of impressionist paintings, and Lorene Cary, who received a $100,000 award for her Hip H'Opera project, toured the exhibit with Jeri Lynne Johnson, winner of $50,000 for the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra.

The 35 winners, who have known for a month but were sworn to secrecy, uniformly reported great surprise upon receiving the news, hauling in a combined $2.76 million. "They don't just call you. They say, 'We want you to come into the office,'" said Lori Dillard Rech, who accepted $25,000 on behalf of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists' Made in Philly project. "You think you have to defend yourself, not knowing that you've already gotten the award."

Erica Hawthorne, who applied as an individual on behalf of other individuals, could not believe she was granted $60,000 for her Small-but-Mighty Arts Grant, which will award local artists anywhere from $50 to $1,000 each.

Speakers at the event included Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy's Gary Steuer, who said that the Knight Arts Challenge, now in its second of three years, is making its imprimatur on the city. Mayor Nutter remarked upon the larger effect of $9 million in Knight grants, which translates to $18 million, since each grantee must come up with matching funds, touching the lives of all Philadelphians and bringing in tourism dollars.

On a related note, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation received $350,000 for Midnight Madness, an effort to engage younger audiences with a series of late night summer happenings to include music, food and rare midnight tours of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Campus Philly, helmed by Deborah Diamond, received $100,000 to offer free or discounted admission to college students visiting the city's cultural venues.

It's not all about Center City. Neighborhoods likw Nicetown-Tioga, West Philadelphia, and East Kensington will also be getting a little Knight magic. You can see the full list of winners below, and a video here.

Performing Arts Will Diversify Old City's First Fridays
Project: Arden Festival Fridays
Recipient: Arden Theatre Company
Award: $50,000
To diversify artistic offerings by presenting multidisciplinary performances alongside gallery events during Old City's monthly First Fridays

"Pop-Up" Performances Bring Latin Jazz to Philly Neighborhoods
Project: AMLA Flash Jazz Mobile
Recipient: Artists and Musicians of Latin America
Award: $35,000
To cultivate new audiences for Latin jazz by presenting "pop-up" performances by local artists using a portable stage

Stories of Urban Youth Come to Life in "Hip H'Opera"
Project: Hip H'Opera
Recipient: Art Sanctuary
Award: $100,000
To celebrate two art forms that use the human voice to tell profound stories by creating a "Hip H'Opera" using the stories of urban life

Communities Experience Art in Unexpected Places
Project: Neighborhood Spotlight Series 
Recipient: Asian Arts Initiative
Award: $45,000
To provide everyday artistic experiences by creating site-specific works for nontraditional places like restaurants, storefronts and public plazas

Late-Night Cabarets Explore Social Issues with Sparkle on the Avenue of the Arts
Project: Bearded Ladies Cabaret Revolution
Recipient: Bearded Ladies Cabaret
Award: $30,000
To attract new audiences to theater – using the medium to explore social issues with sparkle – through a series of original, late-night cabarets

New Form of Symphonic Pops Concert Celebrates World Music
Project: Black Pearl Pops!
Recipient: Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra
Award: $50,000
To showcase diverse cultures by transforming a symphonic "pops" concert into a celebration of world music

College Students Gain New Access to the City's Arts Scene
Project: Campus Philly's Passport to the Arts
Recipient: Campus Philly
Award: $100,000
To foster a lifelong appreciation of the arts by offering free or discounted admission to venues and performances for college students

Workshop Gives Voice to Unheard Stories of the Lao-American Community
Project: Laos in the House: Voices from Four Decades of the Lao Diaspora
Recipient: Catzie Vilayphonh
Award: $25,000
To promote storytelling within the Lao-American community through a writing, performance and filmmaking workshop

Public Art Transforms Dilworth Plaza and Thriving Center City
Project: New Public Art at Dilworth Plaza
Recipient: Center City District
Award: $400,000
To help transform historic Dilworth Plaza by commissioning internationally recognized sculptor Janet Echelman to create an artwork inspired by the site's historic association with water and steam

Art Installation Open to All Inspires Dialogue on Art and Spirituality
Project: In the Light: A Skyspace by James Turrell
Recipient: Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse Project
Award: $80,000
To offer visitors a contemplative art space by incorporating the work of internationally acclaimed light artist James Turrell into a new facility


Residents Transform Vacant Lots Into Visual and Sound Gardens
Project: Site and Sound Gardens
Recipient: COSACOSA art at large
Award: $75,000
To transform abandoned spaces into "sacred" art parks for the community by engaging residents to create visual and sound gardens in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood

Local Artists Get Support From Mini Grant Program
Project: Small-But-Mighty Arts Grant
Recipient: Erica Hawthorne
Award: $60,000
To give a boost to local artists by creating a mini grant program to help finance their art making with awards ranging from $50 to $1,000

Mobile Studio Brings Community Art to New Neighborhoods
Project: ColorWheels: Delivering Creativity to Your Community
Recipient: Fleisher Art Memorial
Award: $50,000
To engage the community in hands-on art making by expanding the reach of a mobile studio where participants create projects inspired by their neighborhoods

West Philadelphia Lots Become Artistic Skate Parks
Project: Skateable City
Recipient: Franklin's Paine Skatepark Fund
Award: $100,000
To help transform West Philadelphia neighborhoods by turning blacktop lots into art-laden skate parks

Free Theater Festival Showcases Diversity On Stage
Project: Philly Urban Theatre Festival
Recipient: GoKash Productions
Award: $20,000
To promote original plays through a free theater festival dedicated to multicultural themes 

Late-Night Museum Happenings Encourage New Audiences
Project: Midnight Madness 
Recipient: Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation
Award: $350,000
To engage younger audiences in the visual arts through a series of simultaneous late-night happenings at three of Philadelphia's premier  art museums

Cutting-Edge Performing Arts Gain New Visibility Through Residency Program
Project: Underground Residencies at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Recipient: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Award: $150,000
To engage new audiences in the performing arts by creating a residency program in the Kimmel Center's black-box theater for innovative and emerging art groups

Visual and Performing Arts Fill an East Kensington Lot
Project: Little Berlin Fairgrounds
Recipient: Little Berlin
Award: $10,000
To help transform the East Kensington neighborhood by turning an empty lot into an event space for musicians, art fairs and children's workshops

Outdoor Summer Film Series Showcases Local Artists and Filmmakers
Project: Urban Drive-In with DIY Food Culture
Recipient: The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design
Award: $20,000
To introduce the work of local visual artists and filmmakers to a wider audience by establishing an outdoor independent film series on the Parkway

Weekly Drumming Lessons Inspire Local Youth
Project: Drum Line 
Recipient: Musicopia
Award: $90,000
To empower and inspire Philadelphia's youth through their participation in an indoor percussion ensemble by providing weekly drumming lessons and performing opportunities

Gospel Choirs, Composers and Jazz Ensembles Celebrate Dr. King
Project: New Music Celebrations of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
Recipient: Orchestra 2001
Award: $40,000
To celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Orchestra 2001 will present a concert featuring a new concerto based on the civil rights leader's life

Design Center Provides New Resources to Theater and Visual Artists
Project: Philadelphia Theatrical Design Center
Recipient: Partners for Sacred Places
Award: $180,000
To expand the capacity of the city's theater community by providing a new space for theater designers and visual artists at a repurposed local church

Free Digital Cameras Give Access to Communities for Photography Exhibition
Project: Bring to Light: Philadelphia
Recipient: Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
Award: $35,000
To encourage broader audience participation in the city's visual arts by expanding Philly Photo Day, where everyone is invited to take a picture on the same day for an exhibition

Architecture Seen in a New Light with 3D Video Art Events
Project: Animated Architecture: 3D Video Mapping Projections on Historic Sites
Recipient: Sean Stoops
Award: $20,000
To support an innovative form of 3D digital animation by creating site-specific video art events screened on local buildings

Plays in Nontraditional Spaces Bring Adventure to Audiences
Project: Outside The (Black) Box
Recipient: Swim Pony Performing Arts
Award: $50,000
To weave the arts into the community by presenting original, contemporary plays in nontraditional spaces, including Eastern State Penitentiary and the Academy of Natural Sciences

Multidisciplinary Festival Features Black Male Artists
Project: Henry "Box" Brown - The Escape Artist 
Recipient: The Brothers Network
Award: $25,000
To introduce diverse audiences to the performing arts by creating a multidisciplinary festival that features black men as thinkers, artists, choreographers, dancers, composers and more

Locally Produced Art Populates Neighborhood Public Spaces
Project: Made in Philly
Recipient: The Center for Emerging Visual Artists
Award: $25,000
To bring visual art to a wider audience by placing locally produced art in public advertising spaces in the same neighborhood where the piece was produced

Ceramic Mug "Assault" Explores Relevance of Handmade Things
Project: Guerilla Mug Assault
Recipient: The Clay Studio
Award: $15,000
To explore the relevance of handmade ceramic objects in the 21st century by providing a handmade mug to people leaving coffee shops and encouraging them to post about their experiences on the Web

Choral Works for Nontraditional Spaces to Be Commissioned
Project: Performances at the Icebox
Recipient: The Crossing
Award: $50,000
To introduce a wider audience to contemporary choral music by establishing a series of new works designed specifically for a nontraditional venue – the recently restored Crane Arts' Icebox

Sculptural Installation Explores Visual Art and Theater
Project: Daniel Arsham: Performative Architecture
Recipient: The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Award: $80,000
To create a sculptural intervention by artist Daniel Arsham within The Fabric Workshop and Museum that will include a live performance to explore the boundaries between museum and theatrical spaces

Teaching Program Fosters New Knowledge for Use of Technology in the Arts
Project: Corps of Interactive Artist Teachers
Recipient: The Hacktory
Award: $40,000
To promote the use of technology in the arts by developing an intensive tech/art curriculum for local artists who will share their knowledge with Philadelphia students

Creative Incubator Supports Emerging Creative Businesses
Project: Creative Incubator
Recipient: The University of the Arts
Award: $120,000
To promote economic stability for the city's cultural community by offering support to emerging creative businesses with pre-seed funding, mentorship programs and workshops

Citywide Scavenger Hunts Introduce Teens to Art and Adventure
Project: ARTward Bound: a creative orienteering adventure
Recipient: The Village of Arts and Humanities
Award: $60,000
To develop young people's awareness of the city's vibrant cultural scene through interactive scavenger hunts led by local artists

Master Class Series Provides Advanced Training for Local Actors
Project: Creating a Common Artistic Voice
Recipient: The Wilma Theater
Award: $60,000
To enhance training for local actors by creating a series of master classes

Public Art Enlivens The Porch at 30th Street Station
Project: A Permanent Place for Temporary Art in University City
Recipient: University City District
Award: $120,000
To establish a new outlet for public art that showcases temporary installations at The Porch at 30th Street Station

Source: Mayor Michael Nutter, Gary Steuer, Lori Dillard Rech, Erica Hawthorne, Lorene Cary, Janet Echelman, Paul Levy
Writer: Sue Spolan

A 41-hour digital fast to raise digital divide awareness

Could you step away from the keyboard? This weekend, Philly Tech Week (PTW) curator Tayyib Smith, in conjunction with KEYSPOTS, asked the tech community and everyone else in the city to participate in a 41 hour digital fast beginning Saturday April 21 at 3 p.m. No computer. No email. No social media. No mobile apps (those participating in Philly Startup Weekend get a fast pass). The fast ended when PTW began, with breakfast on Monday (April 23) at 8 a.m.

Brandon Shockley, a content associate at Mighty Engine, did his best to participate in the fast, but couldn't make it even a quarter of the way. "I can't say I was successful, despite my best efforts. I cracked," reports Shockley. "The internet is habit forming. I made it about 7 hours, and then had to go back to the safety of my inbox."
 
Nearly half of Philadelphia lacks basic computer skills and internet access, according to Smith, who did make it through an internet free weekend in which he says he stopped himself 15 or 20 times from reaching for his phone and computer.

In the lead-up to Philly Tech Week, Smith, founder of 215mag and Little Giant Creative, called attention "to the 41% of Philadelphians who still don’t have basic computer skills and Internet access, which essentially means a  lack of basic opportunity." Smith curates this year’s Access and Policy track for Philly Tech Week.
 
"One of the biggest dangers to the people in our city who can’t communicate digitally is the risk of being underrepresented in media, government, and culture," says Smith, who notes that a new discourse is being developed, the language of programming, and it seems to him as if a monolithic group of people are explaining that language, disproportionately affecting minorities. "That’s why the first step is closing our city’s digital divide is raising awareness of this issue."
 
Smith hopes the fast will help publicize KEYSPOTS, an initiative of the Freedom Rings Partnership, that offers over 80 public computing sites where residents can get free internet access and training. "Do nothing and support our efforts," reads a banner on the website. Well, not totally nothing. In the next few days, Smith encourages connected people to spread the word about the fast via Facebook, Twitter and email. And then shut it all down. 

Source: Tayyib Smith, Digital FAST, Brandon Shockley, Mighty Engine
Writer: Sue Spolan

The Weekend Treasure: like Groupon with a running start

Coming soon: a mad dash. The Weekend Treasure does discounters like Groupon and Amazon Local one better. Each week, subscribers will receive an email with two clues as to where a giveaway will take place over the weekend.

"The email features a local product from a local merchant that's 100 dollars or less in value," says founder Dave Clarke, who has his sights set on the demographic of 22 to 40 year old urban professionals. "The idea is if you want it and love it, and you can figure out the clues and find it, it's yours." It will be Clarke himself standing at the destination with product in hand.

Riffing off the very popular phenomenon of City Chase and other urban scavenger hunts, Clarke says The Weekend Treasure was one of those two in the morning jump out of bed ideas (and seriously, has nothing to do with the fact that Clarke in getting married in a month). "No one is doing this type of thing. By no means do I think I am going to conquer Groupon or Living Social. I am interested in the idea of creating instant delight," says Clarke, who cites recent work with a behavioral psychologist as inspiration for The Weekend Treasure.

Now in pre-launch, with a goal to roll out this spring, The Weekend Treasure will also reward runners up with a discount at the featured merchant. "We'd like to prove it will actually drive traffic," says Clarke. "If a merchant is giving away a hundred dollar product and we drive 2 customers, that's a win. A small win, but better than ecommerce." There is an exhaustion in the marketplace due to the proliferation of email coupon businesses that have jumped on the Groupon train.

Clarke also runs AuthenticMatters, a digital communications consultancy, but says The Weekend Treasure has been gaining mindshare over the past three or four months. Urban adventurers can sign up via The Weekend Treasure's Launchrock powered home page. And Clarke promises he will keep the contest clean. "It's not going to be weird where you have to crawl in a sewer."

Source: Dave Clarke, The Weekend Treasure
Writer: Sue Spolan

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

SERVICE PARTNERS
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
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