Monthly, we’re highlighting the regional leaders who are helping lead the work of The Promise and asking them the question, “What’s YOUR Promise?”
This month, we’re chatting with The Promise Governing Board Member Mitchell Little.
How long have you lived in Philadelphia?
All my life. I was born and raised in West Philadelphia.
In 25 words or less, what do you love most about this city?
The gritty, hard-working nature of the people, the way our villages come together in trying times, and our diversity.
In 25 words or less, tell us what you do, professionally.
I’m the executive director of the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO), Philadelphia’s community action agency.
In 25 words or less, how would you describe Philadelphia?
Resilient. Despite our challenges, people keep fighting and strivings to overcome their circumstances.
What interested you most about The Promise?
The work of The Promise naturally aligns with what we do at CEO to advance economic mobility for all Philadelphians. Both CEO and the Promise are rooted in the belief that although someone may be born in or find themselves in poverty, they should have the opportunity to create a life’s path for themselves to meet their economic goals and dreams and build wealth for generations to come. I also relish the chance to give back to and improve the city where I grew up and love so much.
Why do you think poverty remains Philadelphia’s biggest challenge?
Systemic anti-black racism constructed by previous generations is one of the biggest drivers in preventing people today from opportunities with pathways to economic mobility. The impact of underinvestments in public education, unfair wages, high rates of criminal justice involvement, deindustrialization, discriminatory lending, and unfair housing policies still resounds across the city.
As the work of The Promise continues, what are you most interested in learning along the way?
Just how we continue to engage our communities in advocacy and civic participation to help them craft their own solutions. There are great examples of new, authentic engagement taking place throughout the city, but I’m interested in how we grow and expand it. I’m also super interested in how we bring together nonprofits, philanthropy, government, private sector, and community to invest in solutions that work for our marginalized communities.
As a member of the Governing Board, what’s YOUR promise to Philadelphia?
My promise is that I will always approach this work with energy and optimism, with an open mind and a willingness to listen.