With the Trump administration’s planning to cut federal funding for schools, infrastructure and social welfare, corporate volunteering programmes are trying to fill the gap
Can America’s sixth-largest US city get companies’ help to solve deep-seated poverty, job, and housing woes? With 1.5 million people, Philadelphia is an old, historic, and venerated US city with even older problems: entrenched poverty and homelessness, post-industrial joblessness, and a stretched social fabric. But a UN focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, and renewed energy in corporate volunteering may bring new vibrancy to efforts to improve the city affectionately called Philly.
Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate of the top 10 US cities, at approximately 26%, almost twice the US national average of 13.5%. That means a quarter of Philly’s residents live below the poverty line, and just over a quarter of Philadelphians have had access to a four-year college degree, according to the Pew Report.
Compare this to Boston or Washington DC, where half of adults have four-year degrees. Philadelphia’s job growth rate of 1.1% is half the nation’s average of 2.2%. And Philadelphia faces some of the racial inequality seen in other US cities, as well as a panoply of housing issues – lack of new affordable housing, foreclosures and homelessness, as well as gentrification driving up rental costs (see Tiny homes try to tackle affordable housing crunch).