On Nov. 8, about 5,000 people gathered around more than 400 tables in homes, jobs, libraries, YMCAs, coffee shops, community centers and media outlets all over the region. They gathered with the common value that they want to make our neighborhoods, towns and regions better places to live, work and play. The path to realize our greatest aspirations and overcome our greatest challenges begins with speaking with each other – not at each other.
Thank you to the many organizations and individuals who helped organize and lead this effort. A special thank you to the Knight Foundation for supporting this effort in our region and several others around the country.
The initial comments we have received validate the power of On the Table Philly conversations.
“We had a great conversation with lots of positive feedback. The participants loved it!” noted Diane Lauer, Chief Philanthropy Officer of the YWCA Tri-County Area.
“The conversation lasted almost an hour over the stated time – people were fully engaged,” said Anita Kulick, President and CEO of Educating Communities for Parenting. “Each of us came away more informed and more motivated to keep working to bring about positive change. We came away knowing we’re not alone and that there is strength in numbers and partnerships. I look forward to continuing what we started at our next gathering.”
Mayor Jim Kenney kicked off the day with a Public Service Announcement and a proclamation declaring Nov. 8 “On the Table Philly Day.” Managing Director Mike DiBerardinis hosted a conversation, as did several City Council members.
WURD Radio Host Vincent Thompson aired a live three-hour show that included On the Table Philly hosts as callers and an interview with our President & CEO Pedro A. Ramos. Additional media outlets hosted tables.
The conversations reflected a broad range of interests:
- Health: prostate cancer, access for women with substance abuse disorders, and medical student health advocates and community health workers talking together about socioeconomic health factors
- Arts and Culture: how filmmakers can engage in their communities, support services for cultural workers, and teens discussing how to break down access barriers
- Poverty: what works in enhancing economic mobility
- Education: helping students find their path post high school graduation
- Proactive zoning
- Digital Inclusion
- The #Metoo movement
- Public Transit: improving mobility and safety in West Philadelphia
- How children would design an ideal community
… to name a few.
We look forward to sharing the results of surveys completed after the event in a report to the community, to awarding the Activate mini-grants affiliated with the initiative in partnership with Philadelphia LISC and – especially – to seeing the ongoing conversations and connections that emerge as a result of On the Table Philly.