In Fall 2016, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia first introduced Reed Smith attorneys Michael Falk and Joshua Peles to The Village of Arts and Humanities, which builds community through innovative arts, educational, social and economic and youth development programs in North Philadelphia. Initially Falk and Peles expressed interest in providing pro bono legal services to assist The Village on several minor matters, but their involvement quickly took on multiple dimensions.
In December 2016, Reed Smith joined Board President Alan Jacobson’s firms, Exit Design and J2 Design, as The Village’s Community Development Corporation (CDC) Tax Credit Partners. As a CDC Tax Credit Partner, Reed Smith will re-direct $75,000 in annual City of Philadelphia Business Income and Receipt Taxes to directly support Village programs. Over the course of ten years, Reed Smith and Exit/J2 will, through the CDC Tax Credit program, together invest $850,000 in The Village in support of its innovative arts-driven economic development efforts. Remarkably, Reed Smith’s significant financial support is matched by the firm’s tireless pro bono legal services over the past year, which saved critical parcels comprising The Village’s historic art parks from Sheriff’s Sales and acquired another parcel through a quiet title action for similar use. As pressures of gentrification become stronger, Reed Smith’s involvement is helping The Village navigate emerging real estate opportunities to increase its impact in building equity within the community.
As the partnership grows, it serves as a model for how arts and business partnerships can increase the capacity of the arts, artists, and activists to strengthen the community bond, affect necessary change for social justice by unlocking the legal system and forging strong working relationships with other key partners such as the Philadelphia Land Bank, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, and elected officials. Reed Smith’s work has sustained The Village as an organization and as a place of art and beauty in the community, ensuring that beloved community spaces will be remain full of activity and creativity for generations of youth and families to come.
May 23, 2018 marks the 33rd annual Arts + Business Council Awards Celebration, a major moment for milestones. Together with you, our “Partners in Imagination,” we’ll be honoring the exceptional leaders, innovators, partnerships and volunteers below, who work to make our region culturally vibrant and economically strong. To purchase ticket packages and individual tickets, please click here.
The 2018 Business + Arts Partnership Award is generously supported by: