Philadelphia, PA – February 11, 2022 – The Reverend Leon H. Sullivan Community Impact Center, which will occupy the renovated Zion Baptist Church Annex, recently received over $1 million in private and public funding. Benefactors include Philadelphia native and philanthropist H. Chase Lenfest, North10 Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), and the McLean Contributionship. Public funding was received through the support of Pennsylvania State Senator Sharif Street, and Pennsylvania House of Representatives Danilo Burgos and Darisha Parker.
Prior to 2014, the Zion Baptist Church Annex at Broad and Venango offered invaluable resources and programs to residents of the North Philadelphia community. Thanks to a recent push for the re-envisioning of the space by community leaders, Called to Serve CDC and Sullivan CDC, this historic structure is being revitalized.
“This project will not only provide invaluable resources for North Philadelphia community members but bring new life and instill a revitalized sense of pride for the area,” said Mr. Lenfest. “The project leaders behind the Sullivan Community Impact Center, North10 Philadelphia, and I all share the commitment of responding to resident-driven plans for uplifting the neighborhood. This is our chance to see a new generation truly gain opportunities in their own backyards.”
“I’m honored to marshal resources for the Sullivan Community Impact Center. The various youth based programs and community arts center will be integral to positively engaging our young people, not only enhancing the future viability of our communities, but having an immediate impact on promoting safe spaces and community safety. Deliberate, sustained investment in our kids is how we create a foundation for long-term success. The Community Impact Center builds on the legacy of Rev. Leon H. Sullivan while preparing our young scholars to be the leaders we know they can be,” said Pennsylvania State Senator Sharif Street.
“I represent an example of what is possible when people are provided with opportunities,” said Rev. Michael Major, Sr., co-project leader, founder and board president of Called To Serve CDC. Major, who grew up on the block immediately behind Zion, was one of the youth who benefitted from the Zion Annex programs. Now in his 26th year as a senior technology business analyst for a local Wall Street firm, Major credits the support and encouragement he received as a youth for where he is today.
The many programs committed to the Sullivan Community Impact Center include the BriDDge Career Pathways Program for youth based on the booming interest in Esports, a community arts center, a co-op café/bookstore, the Temple Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative, numerous community programs offered by the Center for Urban Bioethics of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine and Temple University Health System, and much more. Mosaic Development Partners, a Black-owned impact real estate development and reinvestment firm, is overseeing the project.
The Community Impact Center will continue the legacy of Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, noted civil rights leader and pastor of Zion Baptist Church for 38 years. From Zion, Rev. Sullivan launched both local and global campaigns on behalf of human rights and economic justice.
The Called to Serve CDC and Sullivan CDC are continuously seeking to build their circle of donor partners in order to raise an additional $4 million in philanthropic support. The Reverend Leon H. Sullivan Community Impact Center is scheduled to open in 2023.