Evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Teams Pilot: Final Report. A1.2.3 Local Partners


The SC2 team lead encouraged team members to cultivate relationships with community organizations and seek out opportunities to contribute to local needs. This hands-on approach evolved as team members better understood the limits of city staff’s ability to dedicate resources to the pilot. The Chester SC2 team worked primarily with five local partners to address the city’s priority areas.

  • The SC2 team worked with graduate students in the planning department at Temple University to develop a downtown revitalization plan for Chester.
  • To help Chester build its first grocery store within town limits, the SC2 team worked with Philabundance, a hunger relief organization, to find funding to develop and open the Fare & Square grocery store.
  • The SC2 team worked with the city’s health commissioner and a local anchor institution, the Crozner-Chester Medical Center, to develop a new approach to promoting community health through the Healthy Chester Coalition.
  • A second anchor institution, Widener University, engaged with the SC2 team on a number of efforts, including an association of local organizations focused on improving educational opportunities in Chester.
  • Finally, the SC2 team worked in partnership with a community liaison team on the health- and education-related activities described above. This was a team of consultants hired by Chester’s mayor in an attempt to reach citizens long left out of Chester’s political mainstream. It conducted community engagement on behalf of the city and served as liaisons between the community and city government, bringing the perspective of traditionally  disenfranchised groups to the attention of city leaders. The SC2 team and the community liaison team worked together to ensure that coalitions that
    were formed during the pilot incorporated the perspectives of low-income citizens and included representatives from organizations that serve that population in Chester.

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