Philadelphia, PA, June  15, 2020 – The Greater Philadelphia business and civic community, in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the four other southeastern Pennsylvania counties announced today that they are spearheading an effort to recharge the regional economy as the area begins to recuperate from the impact of COVID-19 and address the need for greater economic empowerment and equity for all citizens.

The global pandemic combined with calls for reforms to promote racial equality present an opportunity for the region’s business community to work in concert with Philadelphia City government, county leadership and Governor Wolf’s administration to create an effort to implement positive economic change for all.

Representing a diverse, cross sector group of leaders, the Philadelphia Regional Recharge and Recovery Taskforce is leading a proactive, integrated public-private effort to accelerate Greater Philadelphia’s recovery and come together as a city and region to address systemic inequalities that exist. 

Led by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber) and its CEO Council for Growth, the initiative will examine precise operating challenges for immediate economic recovery and develop actionable plans that identify practical, short-term solutions to fast-track key industry sector growth, while minimizing continued economic disruption. In addition, the initiative will determine the type and scale of resources necessary to achieve accelerated short and mid-term economic recovery to inform local, state and federal governments.

Supported by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke, and the counties of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the initiative will focus its attention and effort on a limited number of verticals to be chaired by business and civic leaders that will help the region quickly recharge the economy.

“The pandemic has spurred our region’s business, civic, and government leaders to a new level of collaboration to ensure the health and safety of Philadelphians,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, Independence Health Group CEO and Chair of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. “We have to bring that same spirit to the critical task of recharging our economy. We can leverage our strengths and safeguard our competitive advantages. We will build a stronger Greater Philadelphia, with growth in every neighborhood, in the post-pandemic global economy.”

The initiative will focus on the following verticals:

  1. Higher Education
  2. Small and Mid-sized companies
  3. Hospitality/Tourism/Arts and Culture
  4. Health Care Delivery 
  5. Financial Services
  6. Tech, Media, Telecom
  7. Life Sciences
  8. Talent/Workforce

“Before COVID-19 hit, the Philadelphia region was experiencing a period of unprecedented growth; but we know that growth hasn’t benefited everyone equally, and deep economic disparities have only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “As we reopen the city, we must approach our short- and long-term plans for economic recovery in an equitable, more inclusive way. By bringing together diverse leaders from across our region and representing a variety of industries, the Philadelphia Regional Recharge and Recovery Taskforce will allow all of us to approach economic recovery collectively, while still keeping our most pressing needs at the forefront of local efforts. The regional initiative will also help inform parallel initiatives at the local level: an equitable entrepreneurship strategy and a workforce response and recharge plan. In a city like Philadelphia, where we know our residents face unique challenges due to high poverty and other systemic conditions, it is critical that we focus our resources on helping our most vulnerable business owners and workers. We also recognize the need for a broader approach to economic recovery that includes fostering accelerated recovery for the industries that drive our regional economy. Together, we will renew the Philadelphia region’s economy in a way that benefits everyone.”

“As the state’s economy begins to reopen from the public health emergency, this initiative will be an important collaborative that will help inform our path to economic recovery,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “This virus doesn’t care about county or state borders, so regional approaches such as this are critically important as we work together to develop a strong economic development plan that focuses on health and bolsters business and workforce development growth throughout the commonwealth.”

The Taskforce will organize teams to identify opportunities within and across each vertical to define actionable, short-term implementation steps that will create maximum inclusive economic impact and propel Philadelphia’s economy forward. The initiative’s recommendations are planned to be released this summer.

The work of this group will look at numerous sectors that drive the economy in each of the southeastern Pennsylvania counties—Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia—as well as examine best practices from around the nation and world.

“The business community continues to stand with the Mayor and our City during this very difficult time.  Now, more than ever, we need to work together across the public and private sectors to recharge our economy and be intentional about inclusive growth for all of our citizens” concluded Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

View the list of Taskforce participants »

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber) brings area businesses and civic leaders together to promote growth and create opportunity in our region. Our members represent eleven counties, three states, and roughly 600,000 employees from thousands of member companies and organizations. We advocate for regional development, business-friendly public policies, and economic prosperity. And all that we do serves one clear goal: to make Greater Philadelphia a great place for good business.

The CEO Council for Growth (CEO Council), a Council of the Chamber, leads our region forward by envisioning a stronger, more competitive community, convening decision makers, taking action, and advocating for policies and practices that strengthen our regional economy. The CEO Council is a team of more than 60 devoted business, higher education, and civic leaders from across our 11-county Greater Philadelphia community. CEO Council members are engaged advocates who are committed to innovation in business, improving regional mobility, and fostering talent as key opportunities that define our competitive advantage and drive economic growth.

Philadelphia Regional Recharge and Recovery Taskforce Leadership

  1. Madeline Bell, CHOP
  2. John Christmas, City Council, City of Philadelphia
  3. David L. Cohen, Comcast
  4. Dennis Davin, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  5. Greg Davis, Vanguard
  6. Carolina DiGiorgio, Congreso
  7. Anne Ewers, Kimmel Center
  8. Michael Forman, FS Investments
  9. John Fry, Drexel University   
  10. Sylvie Gallier Howard, City of Philadelphia
  11. Chris Gheysens, Wawa, Inc.
  12. Jeff Guaracino, Visit Philadelphia
  13. Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania
  14. Bill Hankowsky
  15. Patrick T. Harker, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
  16. Daniel J. Hilferty, Independence Health Group
  17. Osagie Imasogie, PIPV Capital
  18. Sue Jacobson, Jacobson Strategic Communications
  19. Dan Kerr, Burns Mechanical
  20. Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital
  21. Jack Lynch, Main Line Health
  22. Jenn Maher, 1776
  23. Jeff Marrazzo, Spark Therapeutics
  24. Sharmain Matlock-Turner, Urban Affairs Coalition
  25. Ashley McEvoy, Johnson & Johnson
  26. Anne Nevins, PIDC
  27. Phil Okala, Penn Medicine
  28. Bret Perkins, Comcast
  29. Wendell E. Pritchett, University of Pennsylvania
  30. Lou Rodriguez, Rodriguez Consulting, LLC
  31. Jay H. Shah, Hersha Hospitality Group
  32. Judee von Seldeneck, Diversified Search
  33. Jami Wintz McKeon, Morgan Lewis
  34. Aaron A. Walton, Cheyney University
  35. Rob Wonderling, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
  36. Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group