When we first connected with Ken Weinstein of Philly Office Retail, who founded the Jumpstart program in 2015, we had no idea how transformative the program could be not only in Germantown but throughout the City of Philadelphia. As of today, the program has trained well over 1,000 aspiring developers, has lent over $15 million dollars to buy and renovate properties citywide, and has started to inspire programs across the country.
Jumpstart consists of approximately 10 hours of classroom training in all facets of impact real estate development, assignment to a seasoned real estate mentor, and access to flexible, short-term capital to purchase and renovate a home. The program solves for two of the biggest gaps in under-served communities: access to knowledge and access to capital. It directly puts the power to re-develop community in the hands of the community, and gives them the tools to be successful. Empowering the local community inherently creates developers with a social consciousness who care about, and can affect, the future of their neighborhood.
In 2016, representatives from Impact Services, New Kensington CDC, and SHIFT, and five members of the Harrowgate community attended Ken’s program in hopes of piloting it in Kensington. Fast forward to 2018…with the knowledge gained and $500K raised by IMPACT Services from JP Morgan Chase, Jumpstart Kensington was launched. The Barra Foundation funded a formal program launch guide and set of instructional materials. SHIFT and IMPACT developed the curriculum based on the collective team’s real estate development and financing expertise to deliver the program and provide mentorship.
Jumpstart Kensington continues to graduate over 100 students (85% of which are from under-represented groups), and has provided training and support for at least two projects in Kensington with several more in the pipeline.