Philadelphia, PA — Our quality of life within the communities where we reside is of immense importance to us. Everybody dreams of a life in a perfect community yet, these communities are rare to come by. Nicetown CDC has a mission to dynamically improve the quality of life in Nicetown and surrounding communities, by establishing sustainable community economic development. “We fulfill our mission with a holistic and inclusive approach to goals and objectives that prioritize public safety; mobilization through ‘re-education’ and training; affordable housing development; commercial corridor revitalization; arts & culture, and land care.” Nicetown CDC is truly a visionary in solving the problems that a vast amount of communities constantly face. They directly provide supportive services, community education & organizing, land care, and special events coordination.
Au’loni had the opportunity to speak with the President/CEO and Founder of the Nicetown Community Development Corporation, Zakariyya Abdur-Rahman. Under Mr. Rahman’s leadership and direction, a multimillion dollar development has been established with ninety-three affordable housing units, four businesses with ten thousand sq. ft. of prime retail commercial space. The NTCDC headquarters is located at 4414 Germantown Avenue, a historically significant property recognized by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission as one of the strengths of Nicetown. His background consists of experience with sales, product development distribution, management and negotiations, which set him up for success when developing Nicetown CDC. The idea for Nicetown came to Mr. Rahman from inspiration by another individual. “A notable leader in the African American Community said once that the highest achievement for a human endeavor was to establish Community Life. -Imam W.D. Mohammed.” This statement embodies everything that Nicetown CDC stands for. Since the creation of Nicetown, they have helped thousands of people, covering four zip codes and thirty census tracts.
Turning Nicetown CDC from an idea to a reality obviously proved to be a difficult task for Mr. Rahman. Getting community participation involved with the creation was a major challenge he faced. “Buy in from stakeholders and funders” was another obstacle that Mr. Rahman described. Looking at the successful state that Nicetown is currently in, one knows that Mr. Rahman faced these challenges head-on and eventually worked past them. “Consistent outreach and community mobilization block by block, house by house, and stakeholder by stakeholder,” was just one way that Mr. Rahman maneuvered these obstacles. His commitment to Nicetown CDC aided him in overcoming all the other challenges that he was presented with.
Au’loni asked Mr. Rahman if he could offer a bit of advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs in the world today. “Be committed and passionate about what you’re endeavoring and never quit.” This is a major piece of advice seeing how Mr. Rahman utilized his level of commitment to make his dream a success. “Every obstacle is a key to you achieving the anticipated outcome.” Mr. Rahman didn’t look at every obstacle as a problem, he looked at them as support. Viewing challenges in this light is a useful piece of advice for entrepreneurs.
Mr. Rahman has a lot of plans for Nicetown CDC, both in the short-term and the long-term. When discussing short-term goals he stated, “We hope to establish a socio economic paradigm shift where the inhabitants of our community become its leaders and caretakers. Firstly by building people and providing the social services needed to sustain a community.” He then went on to say, “In the long term, we desire to create a model of economic development in comparison to Greenwood Oklahoma. Aka Black wall Street.” Mr. Rahman and Nicetown both serve as an inspiration for creating a business for a purpose.
You can learn much more about Nicetown CDC and its large array of services by visiting the website: http://www.nicetowncdc.org/