When I moved to Philadelphia in 1984 for my first job, I would oftentimes, weather permitting, ride my bike to get to where I needed to go.

Growing up in central Pennsylvania meant watching a lot of cornfields and wide open terrains pass by, whatever your means of travelling were. In Philadelphia, though, the landscape would change within a matter of seconds as I raced by. Back then, you could walk two blocks and feel like you were in a different city, and the same holds true today.

Here at the Chamber, we embrace Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods and want to find ways to promote economic prosperity across the city, regardless of zip code.

The driving force behind our efforts is Philadelphia’s immense poverty rate of 26 percent, the highest among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

The Roadmap for Growth Action Team is the vehicle through which the Chamber approaches this work. It was conceived in 2014 as an initiative to engage Philadelphia’s business and civic communities, neighborhood organizations along with our new Mayor Jim Kenney and City Council in a shared agenda of growth and prosperity.

Under the leadership of our co-chairs David L. Cohen of Comcast Corporation and Pedro Ramos of the Philadelphia Foundation, our goal is to engage and unite Chamber members through the wide array of leaders that make up the Roadmap for Growth Action Team with civic and neighborhood organization leaders in the development and execution of a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda to lift and improve Philadelphia’s economic and civic life.

The primary goals of the Roadmap for Growth Action Team are:

  • To advocate for policies that contribute to the city’s economic and civic well-being, including education and workforce, infrastructure and civic engagement.
  • To build a coalition of businesses, non-profits, civic and neighborhood organizations that care about Philadelphia’s economy and residents’ quality of life.
  • To take an active role in addressing critical needs and issues and support economic opportunity across race, gender, and ethnic boundaries.

We want to achieve these goals with integrity, giving credit to those who offer ideas and solutions, and with transparency and accountability, using knowledge and research-based decisions to reach measurable outcomes.

Our job as business people, civic leaders, politicians and residents is to uplift all areas of our city, providing everyone with a seat at the table while maintaining diversity and inclusion. We are actively planning for conversations about actions that we as a city can take together to improve Philadelphia.

If you are interested in being a part of the conversation, please email me at rwonderling@chamberPHL.com. Rob Wonderling is president of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia.