Event Recap: Opportunities for All

What happens when you organize a diverse room of 100+ Philadelphians around a common goal like creating opprtunities for all? Magic.

an icon for inspire inspire WITH Anne Gemmell Anne Gemmell Alex Hillman Alex Hillman Opéola Bukola Opéola Bukola

Estimated read time, 14 minutes.

On Wednesday Sept 6th, we pulled off something we’ve never done before.

The goal: to host an event that showed the Democratic nominee Cherelle L Parker and her team that we believe in her vision for a Philadelphia that offers Opportunities for all, and to send the message that we can only accomplish that vision through collaboration.

In less than 6 weeks of planning and hard work, we did exactly that and more.

Thanks to the generous donations of nearly 120 attendees, our “Opportunities for All” community event raised $23,240 for Cherelle’s campaign & the transition work ahead after she wins in November.

In true grassroots community fashion, most of that money came in donations of the smallest dollar amounts:

  • 53% of donations were $200 or less
  • 44% donations were between $200-500
  • Just 3% were over $500 (including a few large donations that enabled other community members to attend)

On behalf of the 10k Independents team, our incredible and hard-working Host committee, the attendees and donors who supported this event, and of course, Cherelle Parker + her staff: THANK YOU for your contributions, your participation, and for still believing in Philadelphia.

Read on to find some of our team’s reflections on the event, related resources, and our next steps.

The power of a room that’s never been assembled before

The numbers mentioned above look good, but our team is most proud to have assembled an incredibly unique and diverse room that we’re confident has never been convened before.

In total, we organized more than 117 donors representing an incredibly wide collection of industries and sectors who aligned with a vision of “Opportunities for All” under a Parker administration.

And many in attendance were first-time donors or political event attendees!

We’re so, so thankful to everyone who participated for being a part of this very special gathering and showing what’s possible when folks believe in a shared goal.

Before Cherelle took the floor to speak, we invited a few guest speakers directly from the Independent business community to share their experience and perspective: Meeka Johnson (All Black Everything Popup) and Robbie Long (Live 24 HRS).

We specifically invited these folks to share because we believe they each represent a unique aspect of small business in Philadelphia that is often overlooked: in addition to running their own small businesses, both Meeka and Robbie do so much to support other small businesses. They see the good and the bad, and they believe deeply in the vision we share. We’re proud and grateful to have them in our camp!

We’re also thankful for our generous food and beverage sponsors, Russell Fletcher & Omar Teagle from Mishka Premium Vodka, and Jill Weber from Rex at the Royal. Both of these businesses care deeply about having a positive impact on Philadelphia, and we’re grateful for their involvement. Please support them when you can!

QOTD: “Don’t let anybody throw shade on your shine.”

One of the many highlights of the event for us was Cherelle Parker’s answer to an audience question: “Don’t let anybody throw shade on your shine.”

The truth is that Philly has long embodied the underdog spirit, but sometimes that energy shows up more like ‘crabs in a bucket’ with all of the doubt, negativity, and infighting. Cherelle’s reminder feels like an especially important one for Philadelphia, where a scarcity mindset leads to unhelpful critique.

It’s exciting to know that our city may have a leader who leads with a growth mindset and from a place of collaboration, where a win for one is a win for all.

And let’s be clear, we will NEVER forget Parker quoting Chuck D:

A truly legendary moment.

To help you remember the evening, below we’ve included a few select photos from the many that were taken! To browse a more complete set of photos, browse the gallery here.

You are welcome to share any photos that you like, we only request that you credit The 10k Independents Project and the photographer, William Harper/@williamh215.

10k Team Highlights & Takeaways

As our team sat down to process the event and recap our takeaways, a few key themes and lessons emerged that we wanted to share:

Takeaway #1: This event was proof that collaboration creates powerful results.

It’s easy to use the word collaboration, but an act of true collaboration like our evening together has its own fingerprint that the word alone cannot describe or create.

True collaborations aren’t the same as “group projects” - they’re rooted in relationships that are built before the work is done, and endure after.

Whether it’s a relationship an attendee had with the host committee member who invited them, or a new relationship that was sparked during our special event, those relationships make anything possible.

Takeaway #2: We have the capacity to convene a room full of doers who haven’t met before.

One of the most common critiques of Philadelphia is that people and organizations work in silos, often duplicating work and effort, and limiting their own impact.

Closely tied to our first highlight, the fact that nearly every person who attended our event was able to meet someone that they never would have met otherwise serves evidence that our 10k Independents team and collaborators have the capacity to organize across and between those silos as we work towards even larger and longer term goals.

We’re proud of this outcome, and intend to do a lot more of it.

Takeaway #3: Cherelle Parker both motivated and deputized us.

Many people have told us that our event was their first time hearing Cherelle Parker speak to a crowd. If that’s you, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

And look, even when she isn’t dropping Chuck D lyrics or quoting Malcolm X, it’s easy to see how powerful it will be to have a top leader for our city who is skilled at reading the room and sending the energy and message that’s needed.

In our room, that energy and message was clear: If you believe in Philadelphia, and are hopeful for this next chapter, you are not alone.

More than 100 Philadelphians who participated in this event – including Cherelle and her team – believe deeply in Philly too. She needs us to believe in her, but also, to show up and do our part in the change that our city needs to thrive.

Thank you to our amazing host committee

One more time, this event would not have been possible if it weren’t for the incredible host committee. These people are the proof that collaboration creates powerful results.

Look these folks up. Find them on LinkedIn. They’re people worth knowing.

  • Anne Gemmell
  • Sheila Ireland
  • Patricia Blumenauer
  • Thom Webster
  • Jeff Friedman
  • Nikki Pumphrey
  • Karin Copeland
  • Evan Malone
  • Michelle Freeman
  • Robbie Long

And of course, our own team: Opéola Bukola, Alex Hillman, and Anne Gemmell. Say hi, we’d love to meet you!

What’s next

If you’ve read this far, thank you again.

For those who want to continue down this path with us, here’s what’s next:

  1. For our part, the 10k Independents team is going to continue our positive relationship with the Parker team through the General election in November & transition into the next year.
  2. We also encourage YOU to continue conversations with us, and with the people you meet at our events and activations. Keep us posted on projects that we can support, collaborations we can be a part of, and efforts that you think we should know about.
  3. Stay tuned for a brief survey that we’ll send in the next couple of weeks. Your answers will help us get an even better snapshot of who was in the room, who wasn’t but should have been, and more
  4. Lastly, if you are interested and able to financially support the 10k Independents Project so we can continue doing this work, we’d love to talk. We think you’ll be very amazed how much we’ve done with extremely limited resources, and the right support will help us do even more.

This is just the beginning.

-Alex, Opéola, Anne

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