“Covid-19 and the fallout from it confronts Philadelphia with a series of overlapping health, economic, fiscal and social crises. These are perhaps the deepest crises the city has faced in modern memory, but its roots are not new.”
So began a powerful Citizen op-ed last month, co-written by Richard Florida, author of The Rise of The Creative Class, professor at University of Toronto, inaugural Philadelphia fellow, along with Bruce Katz, founding director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University and co-author of The New Localism.
In their much-buzzed-about call to action, the authors proposed seven steps, or pillars, for moving the city forward—from addressing “hyper-poverty” to prioritizing health and resilience.
And next Monday evening, October 19, the article will essentially come to life, as Fitler Club hosts a panel discussion moderated by Citizen co-founder Larry Platt and featuring Katz as well as Ryan Boyer, Laborers’ District Council of Metropolitan Philadelphia and Vicinity; Harold Epps, senior advisor at Bellevue Strategies and former Philadelphia director of commerce; Michael Forman, chairman and CEO of FS Investments and co-founder of Fitler Club; and John Fry, president, Drexel University. You can join the panel virtually, via Zoom, by registering here.
“2020 has been a historic year for reasons that are all too familiar to us,” says Forman. “While our city has experienced tragedy and loss, I believe this is a time of opportunity for a newly engaged civic community in Philadelphia. We are seeing more people active in local issues than ever before and we need to work together on creative solutions.”
Forman explains that Fitler Club is hosting the panel “to highlight issues, many of which predate 2020, in a more honest, earnest way. Our membership reflects a new generation of diverse and civically engaged leaders and we expect [Fitler] Club to play an important role in how our city adapts, transitions and ultimately recovers.”
Log in to Zoom to hear what these local leaders have to say, then stick around for a Q&A and to share your own proposals. The more, the merrier—because for real progress to occur, we all need to be at the table.
And as Katz and Florida argued in their piece, “waiting for the federal government is the absence of a strategy…local leaders must lead and be supported with an injection of corporate and civic capital—a $250 million Philadelphia Regeneration Fund at a minimum—to drive a burst of practice-driven innovation. The crises the city faces are the greatest in a generation, perhaps in a century. The time for bold ambitious leadership is now.”
Monday, October 19, 5:30 -7:30 via Zoom; register here.Header photo by Elevated Angles / Visit Philadelphia