The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia aims to help build a Greater Philadelphia powered by informed and collaborative leadership. It addresses critical issues facing the region by providing impactful research, connecting diverse leaders, and advancing shared solutions. Since its founding in 1909, the Economy League has believed that high-quality analysis and practical insight about the region’s most important challenges and opportunities combined with collaborative, cross-sector leadership are crucial drivers of regional prosperity.
The Economy League has a storied history of civic innovation dating back to its founding as the Bureau of Municipal Research in 1909. In the 1950s, it was an active participant in city charter reform in the 1950s; in the 1960s it led the charge to consolidate rail lines into the present-day Southeastern PA Transit Authority; in the 1990s Economy League research on reasons behind Philadelphia’s negative population growth led to the formation of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, which has helped transform the city into a welcoming place for tens of thousands of immigrants. In the early 2000s, Economy League research showed that while Philadelphia has more college students than any other US city save Boston, the city was doing a terrible job of retention; this work gave birth to Campus Philadelphia, and today Philadelphia retains more college students than Boston.
With a bold and focused strategic plan, Vision 2021, the Economy League is poised to tackle the region’s big challenges, like slow and inequitable growth, job creation, business development, education, and infrastructure.
In 2019 the Economy League is launching Policy Hub, a local version of the Congressional Budget Office, to help provide leaders from newsmakers to policymakers the information they need to make good policy decisions. It is building “civic muscle” by developing its signature Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange (GPLEX) – an innovative program that has taken over 1,000 diverse leaders to other cities to study their opportunities and challenges – into GPLEX 365, a learning community that engages the talents and interests of GPLEX alumni and powers a civic activator called GPLEX Labs. The latter launched in 2019 with the Full City Challenge, a rapid incubator focused on identifying and supporting new collaborations that leverage the region’s robust food economy to address the acute problems of hunger and poverty in the Philadelphia region. Finally, the innovative Philadelphia Anchors for Growth & Equity initiative is leveraging the collective purchasing power of the region’s eds-and-meds institutions to create jobs and grow local businesses.
Additionally, in recent years, the Economy League’s robust civic consulting arm has helped shape the City of Philadelphia’s workforce strategy, made the case for building an “impact” economy, aided the region’s transit agency in developing a long-range strategic vision, and helped define the parameters of the region’s food economy. Our team is currently working with Temple University to develop a multifaceted place-based strategy to attack poverty and inequity in one of the region’s most challenged neighborhoods, North-Central Philadelphia.
Find out more about the Economy League by visiting www.economyleague.org or YouTube.