Southwest Philadelphia will have a new community development corporation if two local visionaries have their way.
Regina Young and Joe Quinones met about a year ago. Although continents apart, Quinones working in Nigeria where he worked for four years as CEO for real estate development company, and Young, a very active community organizer in Southwest Philadelphia, both shared the same vision.
The vision was to create an entity to serve the African-American community and ensure its development.
It was during a return trip from Nigeria when Quinones met Young.
“I really admired her passion and commitment to the community and she was working on a CDC herself,” Quinones said. “I proposed to her that we could explore whether or not we could combine forces.”
During an interview, Quinones said he shared with Young his idea of community and described his vision for the CDC.
“After a number of discussions we decided to become the founders of Empowered Communities Development Corporation,” Quinones said.
The Empowered Communities CDC has a greater vision than just economic development and improvement of local infrastructure, which typically encompasses the work of CDC’s.
Quinones points to other ethnic groups as an example of collective elevation and believes African-American communities can create communities — elevating them socially and economically.
“We need to replicate this kind of social infrastructure where we can come to the table in a more self-actualized, high performing community as opposed to what we have now which is individual success,” Quinones said.
Young, a former social worker who has been involved in community projects throughout Philadelphia and in her home state of Connecticut, said she has 20 years of experience in community development.
Young possesses a master’s degree in community development from Eastern University’s Urban Studies Program.
Young noted as a parent and former educator, her vision for the community and passion for its well-being is guided by hope for the children.
“I want to definitely be able to create something tangible for them and identify a viable source in the community,” Young said.