In 1986, the Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) became Philadelphia’s first and only women-led community development organization. Over the last 30 years the organization has grown to become a nationally recognized, innovative developer that has to-date built more than 282 units of housing and invested $66 million in some of Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods.
Today, WCRP has established itself as a leader in advocating for equitable, healthy community development as well as support for local women and their families. In addition to developing affordable housing, the organization leads community organizing campaigns aimed at shaping public policy outcomes, manages its properties and provides supportive services to tenants and communities throughout Philadelphia.
The idea for forming WCRP gained significant momentum in the mid-1980s after an eastern North Philadelphia neighborhood coalition successfully challenged the lending practices of First Fidelity Bank through the Community Reinvestment Act. Emboldened by the economic opportunities created by their resultant $50 million settlement, the group’s leaders united around a common purpose: finding ways to improve their neighborhood to better the lives of local women and their families.
WCRP spent its first year assessing the need, going door-to-door and networking throughout the community to gather feedback and share ideas. After lengthy deliberations and an eventual consensus, the organization embarked on its first project to rehabilitate eight row homes. Although initially met with skepticism from some lenders, funders and fellow developers, WCRP forged ahead and secured financial backing from Fidelity Bank. Three decades later, that fiercely passionate commitment to their cause is what still drives WCRP today.