economic development

Germantown United CDC featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer today

Parks can be a powerful tool to rescue struggling commercial areas. Pulitzer prize-winning writer Inga Saffron, architecture critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, recently visited Germantown to tour the newly renovated Vernon Park, which fronts Germantown’s central business district. Read her take on the park’s comeback, neighborhood revitalization, and rising development in Germantown.

The article features Ruth Seeley, the president of the Friends of Vernon Park – the organization that courageously led the charge for the park renovations – alongside Germantown United CDC’s new Commercial Corridor Manager Emaleigh Doley, who discussed the challenges impacting efforts to improve the nearby shopping district.

This is an exciting time for Germantown. If you are energized about the neighborhood’s potential, consider joining one of the many civic groups – like Friends of Vernon Park, your local Registered Community Organization (RCO), or GU’s own volunteer committee – and get involved in moving Germantown forward!

read the full story in The Philadelphia Inquirer


read the full story

Funding opportunities for local businesses

The Merchant Fund’s Business Stabilization grant (deadline approaching: September 15!) and the City of Philadelphia’s Storefront Improvement Program (SIP) are currently accepting applications from small businesses looking to grow their business or improve their storefronts. Read on to learn about eligibility requirements.

Want to know how Germantown United CDC can support a grant application for your business? Get in touch with GU’s Corridor Manager Emaleigh Doley at

The new Rita's Water Ice at 5815 Wayne Avenue is the recipient of a Storefront Improvement Program (SIP) reimbursable grant. Photo by Germantown resident Bob McKee.

The new Rita’s Water Ice at 5815 Wayne Avenue is the recipient of a Storefront Improvement Program (SIP) reimbursable grant. Photo by Germantown resident Bob McKee.

The Merchants Fund – Business Stabilization Grants

Deadline: Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Application & more info:

The Merchants Fund is offering Business Stabilization grants of up to $10,000 to help small businesses remain stable and viable in the face of economic challenges, changes and crisis. The Merchants Fund is committed to providing for the economic needs of the merchant community with modest grants. Merchants must be located in Philadelphia for a minimum of three years. The application process is competitive. The Merchants Fund lists a number of tips on their website and noted that many successful applicants for grants have partnered with a sponsoring agency such as a community development corporation, like GU, which can assist the applicant before and after the grant process.

TIP: Learn first-hand how Germantown businesses are already benefitting from these funding opportunities. Artisan tile making company Karen Singer Tileworks, located in Germantown just off Germantown Avenue, benefited from critical funding from The Merchants Fund in 2014. The grant aided in costs needed for the studio’s new air filtration system. Read more.

City of Philadelphia – Storefront Improvement Program (SIP)

Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Application + more info:

The city’s Storefront Improvement Program is back in action thanks to the successful “Save SIP” campaign. (Suggested reading: Philadelphia Saves Small But Powerful Storefront Design Program.) The program is now accepting applications according to the original assistance formula, which was designed to get more businesses to participate by lowering the barriers to entry. The purpose of SIP is to encourage businesses and property owners within targeted neighborhood commercial corridors, like Germantown, to improve their storefronts, making these areas more attractive to shoppers and growing their vitality and economic performance. The program reimburses owners of commercial buildings and businesses up to 50% of the total cost of eligible improvements, for a maximum reimbursement of $10,000 for a single commercial property or $15,000 for a multiple address or corner business property.

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