Bright Hope Baptist Church and Bridge of Hope Community Development Corporation Lauds Transformative Development Projects, People Helping People Civic Contributions
PHILADELPHIA (January 23, 2013) – Ken Goldenberg, president and chief executive officer of The Goldenberg Group – one of the Philadelphia region’s premier, diversified real estate developers – has been honored with the inaugural Vision of Hope award from Bright Hope Baptist Church and the Bridge of Hope Community Development Corporation in North Philadelphia. Bright Hope has a century-long history of advocacy and active involvement in the issues and challenges facing the African American community and its neighborhood of residence, North Philadelphia. The Vision of Hope award, presented on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, recognizes distinguished community service, a commitment to minority business enterprise and economic empowerment.
“Bright Hope and Bridge of Hope CDC is proud to honor Ken Goldenberg with our first-ever Vision of Hope award. He is a trailblazer with an impeccable track record of completing developments that have transformed neighborhoods and changed lives here in North Philadelphia, throughout the region, and abroad,” said Reverend Kevin Johnson, pastor of Bright Hope’s 2,500-member congregation. “Ken is a builder and a dreamer. He’s more than a developer – he’s a developer with heart.”
“What a spectacular honor to receive the Vision of Hope award from my good friends at the Bright Hope Baptist Church and the Bridge of Hope CDC,” said Ken Goldenberg. “Bright Hope has seen the likes of some of the 20th century’s foremost visionaries – among them Dr. Martin Luther King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou – and to be held in that company, and called a visionary and a dreamer, is at once humbling and incredibly affirming.”
A Developer with Heart From a very young age, Ken Goldenberg was set on effecting positive social change. After graduating from Harvard Law School and completing a stint as a civil rights and environmental attorney with the Center for Law in the Public Interest, Ken took a year-long sabbatical to backpack through Southeast Asia and Europe. When he returned, Ken earned his MBA from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and, in 1987, established an eponymous real estate development firm with two goals: to develop large complex projects that would help transform communities, and to provide a financial platform that would allow Ken to continue his robust public interest agenda.
“In my 10 years with The Goldenberg Group, I’ve seen Ken apply a tenacious, thoughtful and entrepreneurial spirit to every project he undertakes – corporate and charitable,” said David Mercuris, Senior Vice President, Development Director, The Goldenberg Group. “Like the true leader that he is, he creates winning situations for the company and for the communities. His organizational model of symbiotically combining a private business enterprise with a philanthropic not-for-profit organization is both innovative and inspirational.”
Envisioning a North Philadelphia Partnership In August 2008, armed with a big vision, The Goldenberg Group – in partnership with Bridge of Hope Community Development Corporation, the development arm of Bright Hope Baptist Church – acquired the 4.5 acre John Wanamaker School property, located at 12th Street and West Montgomery Avenue, from the Philadelphia School District.
“Six years ago, we had a dream to build a wonderful beacon of light. A place that would provide jobs and opportunities and hope for people in the community. And, particularly, a place that would bring all of us together, as friends, as colleagues, and as partners,” said Goldenberg.
This past November, The Goldenberg Group broke ground on a $100 million new student residence project at the site. The redevelopment project is underway in partnership with Bridge of Hope Community Development Corporation, and calls for a 320,000 square foot, 14-story apartment building that will house 832 beds across 238 residences; 80 parking spaces; and 11,000 sq. ft. of first-floor retail, for occupancy in fall 2014. However, it is only phase one of a two-or three-phase project. Plus, Goldenberg is already advancing numerous other charitable efforts in the community as part of its holistic approach to community development.
“The partnership of Bridge of Hope and The Goldenberg Group is an example of a faith-based organization and business firm working together to make North Philadelphia a stronger community for all people,” said Rev. Johnson.
People Helping People Ken’s unwavering commitment to the neighborhoods he works in spawned ‘People Helping People- Philadelphia’. Since 2007, employees of The Goldenberg Group have taken one full day every month to get out from behind their desks and work together in the community – reading to students at inner city schools; baking at The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, and cooking for the homeless in North Philadelphia; building a Little League baseball diamond in North Philadelphia, and leading cleanup and gardening activities at a variety of schools and community centers; painting and cleaning a suburban orphanage; producing a carnival at a special needs day camp; and much, much more. To date, People Helping People has contributed nearly 10,000 hours of volunteer work in the Philadelphia area. Goldenberg’s bigger vision here is actually to expand and orchestrate this effort for numerous other companies in the interest of not only doing these good works, but helping to transform the consciousness of Philadelphians generally.
In addition, People Helping People has mobilized an Adopt-A-School program, and recently lent its support to the “Save Stanton” campaign to keep the doors of Graduate Hospital’s E.M. Stanton Elementary School open. The program extended to clean-up efforts in the classrooms and cafeteria, including the purchase of supplies. Today, the Goldenberg Group and People Helping People are working similarly with several schools in the Philadelphia area.
Beyond the city borders, People Helping People has a robust program in Kenya and in the Ivory Coast, centered on education, food and medical assistance, microfinancing, and numerous community projects. For example, in Kenya, People Helping People has funded educational sponsorships for nearly 100 children in primary and secondary schools, including sponsorship of uniforms, supplies and extra tutoring, and provides post- secondary education support; makes available health subsidies and food parcels to the needy, including the elderly and disabled; funds micro loans to entrepreneurs, some of whom have already become quite successful; and supports local organizations through meaningful community partnerships on projects such as building a mortuary for a local hospital, Alcoholics Anonymous outreach programs, construction efforts at a school for the blind and a school for the handicapped, feeding programs for pre-school children, counseling for HIV+ patients, and water projects. Ken Goldenberg actually spends more than three months a year abroad himself, personally participating in and overseeing these charitable activities in Kenya.
ABOUT THE GOLDENBERG GROUP Headquartered in Blue Bell, Pa., The Goldenberg Group has an extensive track record in the successful development of award-winning residential, mixed-use and large commercial retail projects, specializing in, among other things, brownsfield redevelopment projects, community partnerships and historic preservation. Special expertise includes acquisition, permitting, approvals, design, construction, leasing, sales and property management. As described above, these efforts act as the financial platform for Ken Goldenberg and The Goldenberg Group’s robust public interest agenda in Philadelphia and abroad. For more information, visit www.goldenberggroup.com.
ABOUT BRIGHT HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH Established in 1910, Bright Hope Baptist Church looks to give expression and visible form to that faith and fellowship to which God has called his people. Bright Hope has a 100-year history of advocacy and active involvement in the issues and challenges facing the African American community and its neighborhood of residence, North Central Philadelphia. For 35 years, the 2,500-member congregation was under the leadership of Pastor Emeritus William H. Gray III, a former Congressman and past President of the United Negro College Fund. In 2007, Reverend Kevin R. Johnson became the fifth pastor of Bright Hope. Johnson, former Assistant Minister of Abbysinnian Baptist Church in New York City, is a Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Morehouse College, and earned a masters degree from Union Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Columbia University in the Department of Organization and Leadership at Teachers College. For more information, visit www.brighthopebaptist.org/