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Project Elevate

The City of Philadelphia and nonprofit organization Action Not Words announced that the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania has been selected as the program partner for Project Elevate, an entrepreneurial program in Philadelphia high schools developed by Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two men arrested at a Center City coffee shop in the spring of 2018.

Project Elevate seeks to build wealth in underserved communities through education and opportunity. The Netter Center’s Bridges to Wealth program is taking the lead in implementing Project Elevate, including educational activities focused on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The pilot program, centered around customized experiential learning regarding financial literacy and entrepreneurship, is open to students at Robeson High School and Bartram High School this year. Students can engage in social venture projects that speak to their interests while building a strong base of usable skills. As with all Netter Center programs, Project Elevate participants will engage in a range of University-Assisted Community School programs and resources.

Building on standards-based curricula, Project Elevate offers students opportunities for off-campus trips to universities, businesses, and community organizations. The program offers students opportunities in entrepreneurship and small business development, including “shark tank” competitions, seed funding, and a small business incubator program at the University of Pennsylvania. Project Elevate also promotes student personal development and self-branding, using social media as a vehicle for personal brand development.

Project Elevate also includes weekly classroom instruction for two cohorts of students per school, as well as weekly mentoring sessions with students from the University of Pennsylvania. The senior cohort will participate in field trips to local small businesses and resources, including a visit to the Fashion Business Incubator at Macy’s. Sophomore and junior students will engage with guest speakers with expertise in business development.


Coverage on the program launch:

Press Release from the City of Philadelphia

Penn Today

Philadelphia Inquirer