Over the years, the Reverend Bill Golderer has launched several social enterprises in Philadelphia, including homeless services organization Broad Street Ministry—something, Golderer says, for which people often congratulate him. But Golderer, now CEO and president of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, has a more measured view of his accomplishments.
“I know a lot of people,” Golderer says. “Building a nonprofit is not that hard when you can easily put your hand on financial management and HR expertise and all the other stuff you need.”
The key, in other words, is the secret sauce that any successful American shares: Social capital. That might be parents or other family, a mentor or a teacher, a loan officer or a coach, a friend who is a financial manager or hiring expert—anyone connected to the levers of opportunity that can ease a journey to financial success.
And it is, as Harvard economist Raj Chetty has studied over and over, the extra something that people living in poverty, including 25 percent of Philadelphians, often lack.