Denise McGregor Armbrister is the driving force behind the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation which is marking 20 years of revitalizing neighborhoods in Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
“We’ve really been focusing all of our resources on the issue of neighborhood revitalization in those communities and what that really entails is providing dollars for comprehensive, resident-driven neighborhood planning,” said Armbrister, who is the foundation’s executive director.
The organization has invested $15.8 million in 20 communities in Philadelphia through its neighborhood grants program.
As an example of its work, Armbrister highlighted how the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation was awarded funding to spend 12 to 18 months on planning for neighborhood revitalization and bringing all the residents and stakeholders to the table to strategically prioritize the issues that they plan to focus on during the next five years.
“It’s really a consensus building process — that all the voices are at the table and really what we have found in that planning approach is the transformation or change or the revitalization is sustained because all of these voices were at the table in the very beginning and it wasn’t a plan that was brought to them, as opposed to them lifting their voices and saying this is what we are prioritizing,” she said.