May 2023 Member Spotlight: Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC)

Tell us about how you got your start at the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation:

Growing up in Chinatown, I was surrounded by strong community leaders that inspired me to get involved at a young age. I grew up working in the restaurant my family operated, Happy Garden, which showed me the importance of hard work and community connection. As a Chinatown native, I was able to see the impacts of PCDC’s work firsthand. It is my desire to lift up the community that raised me, and provide support to all, especially those less fortunate.

What do you love most about the work you and your colleagues do?
The driving force behind PCDC’s work is immense care and respect for Philadelphia’s AAPI community, which is a unique aspect of the job that I love. In our day-to-day operations, witnessing the outcomes and successes of our initiatives and programs keeps us motivated. Seeing the direct benefit of our services, whether it is moving into a new home, or a high schooler getting admitted to their dream school, is what keeps me showing up every day.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter into the type of work and programming you do?

Just do it- take action! The needs that our work addresses are not going away, and we are looking to a new generation of leaders to innovate our current processes. Progress lies in the future of our youth.

What would you like young people and others in the community to know about this program?

We hope to communicate that our comprehensive programs are open and accessible to all. Through our work, we strive to empower all those who participate to give back to
their communities, whether in Chinatown, Philadelphia, or across the country. Giving back to your community, regardless of background, is what we strive to communicate in
our work. What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter into the type of work and programming you do?

What’s on the horizon for Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation? What are you excited about in the future?

PCDC has several exciting projects on the horizon, including major advancements in Chinatown’s built environment. On May 8th, we are broke ground on an affordable housing project that will create income accessible places to live for Chinatown’s senior population. Earlier this year, we received federal funding in partnership with the City of Philadelphia to explore capping the Vine Street Expressway, which bisects the neighborhood. Entitled the Chinatown Stitch, this project has the potential to reconnect our community and provide Chinatown with much-needed land for green space, housing development and businesses.

The lifeblood of Chinatown is our commercial corridor, which we prioritize as part of our strategic plan. As of right now, we plan on continuing our revitalization efforts from the immediate post-pandemic time in order to help our commercial corridor fully thrive.

In the words of PCDC Co-Founder George Moy, “This is, was, will be Chinatown.”

10th Street Play-Za: In an effort to bridge the gap between Chinatown and Chinatown North, which is bisected by the Vine Street Expressway, PCDC developed and built a “Play-Za”. This space provides much-needed play equipment for the neighborhood’s youth and is part of PCDC’s Neighborhood Planning initiative which seeks to enhance pedestrian and resident safety, business health, and fair development.   COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic: Starting in March 2021, PCDC began providing COVID-19 services, which included a vaccine clinic, bilingual information, PPE, and tests. The clinic vaccinated 6,442 individuals in a two-year span, and blossomed in to a comprehensive Health program focusing on AAPI-specific health needs and resources.
Food Distribution: As part of Crane Center operations, PCDC distributes over 14,000 pounds of food to 700+ low-income individuals and families every week.    800 Vine Street Senior Housing Groundbreaking: Last week, PCDC, in collaboration with Pennrose LLC, broke ground on 51 units of affordable housing for Chinatown’s senior population. This development is part of the Affordable Housing program and will help fight back against housing access issues and gentrification in Chinatown.