PACDC spoke with Matthew George at Germantown United CDC. Matthew George grew up in Mt. Airy and moved between Germantown, East Falls, and Chestnut Hill. In 2017, George moved to Germantown and he wanted to have a direct impact in his neighborhood. Back in high school, George was part of a nonprofit in Chestnut Hill called Teenagers Inc. They would volunteer, go to homeless shelters, clean empty lots. He knew this is what he wanted to later on. So when he saw there was a Business Development Position available, he applied. Fed up with the trash in his neighborhood, he also started I Love Thy Hood which has collected 100,000 pounds of trash since 2019. In 2020, after the death of George Floyd, George recalls businesses owners hugged one another.
“It is about taking that time to make an impact on business owners… The businesses are what keeps this neighborhood running.”
George says Germantown feels like it has always been here. Authentic. Down to earth. Alive. Even if you are a transplant, you embrace what Germantown is. It is a close knit community. You can’t not be engulfed by the community, neighbors, other business owners. “We want to show off what we have here because we are proud. It is a diverse Community. It is a kept secret. Germantown Gems. We are always accepting to new businesses knowing they will become a part of the Germantown culture. Germantown is growing younger and cooler.”
When asked what advice Matthew George would give to someone looking into this work, he says, “Volunteer. Help out those who need it and seek it. Within your neighborhood or any type of org. Join your local CDC, see what events are going on.”