“As the city goes, so the country goes.”
Arto Woodley was a 2012-2014 SC2 fellow in the city of Chester, Pennsylvania. He worked to promote crucial cross-sector collaboration and strategic partnerships in Chester, to address the most difficult and deeply entrenched issues that the city had faced for decades. Woodley sought to create the civic capacity and collaborative leadership that would help Chester become an entrepreneurial community and to increase public, private, and philanthropic resources.
Woodley drew upon his personal experience as “a child of the city” who grew up in Toledo, Ohio; along with his background in faith-based and neighborhood organizations; and his ability to connect with private and public investment opportunities, to work with Mayor Linder’s office and develop frameworks for two civic organizations, a Public Private Partnership (P3) Initiative to bring together private sector, non-profit, and government leaders (including the SC2 CSTs), and a Faith and Neighborhood Council to bring together the various faith and neighborhood leaders in the city.
After gathering research from Jacksonville, Florida, and Camden, New Jersey, which have more mature public-private ventures, Woodley launched a preliminary partnership platform for both organizations in 2014. His work has helped to build trust among community members and focus more attention and activity on the mayor’s priorities of public safety, education, and employment opportunities for Chester residents. Woodley credits the involvement of Widener University with catalyzing the dialogues he established in Chester.