On July 25, 2022, we welcomed Togba Jallah-Porte as the Immigrant Community Capacity Building VISTA at the Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs for the service year 2022-2023. We’re excited to introduce him to you.

Togba will work with immigrant-led community-based organizations to increase their capacity to more effectively and efficiently serve the broad needs of African and Caribbean immigrants, refugees, and asylees in Philadelphia. Key activities for his Serve Philadelphia service year will include: 

  • Researching and developing best practices for capacity-building models that can support the needs of small, grassroots community-based organizations and initiatives 
  • Regularly convening cohort leaders for check-ins and training opportunities 
  • Conducting outreach and building relationships with capacity-building providers in our region and beyond that can support the cohort of small grassroots organizations 
  • Working with capacity-building partners to develop curriculum and training modules to support community-based organizations

We asked Togba some questions to get to know him better.

Why did you decide to work for the City?

As a child, I  traveled with my grandfather, uncle, and mother to various community events throughout Pennsylvania and to my family’s homeland, Liberia.  Witnessing their work and commitment to the community impressed upon me the importance and impact of serving the community. 

As a child of immigrants, I understand how critical it is to provide information and resources to new residents who now call America home. Through life experiences and the people I have grown to admire, I have been groomed for this work. My only aim is to make a positive impact.

What does “multicultural” mean to you?

Multicultural to me is just who we are as a people. Everyone, whether they know it or not, has a rich history from somewhere. It makes us who we are and gives us pride. 

I am a first-generation Liberian-American who recently visited the country for the first time this year. Even before visiting my family’s home, I had a huge interest in my heritage and hearing the stories of my family’s history and contributions to their land. I love the cultures of others and finding common experiences to build a better sense of community.

What do you do in your free time?

I am very passionate about music, so in my free time, I write songs and study the business side of the music industry. I am in the process of releasing an extended play (EP) album recording that should be released by early September. 

I am also very active in my church.  I am a deacon and a member of my church’s choir. As a former college football player, I love staying fit and exercising. It is a great stress reliever.

How do you explain Philadelphia to people new to the City?

There are people from all over the world who have chosen Philadelphia as their home. That is the best way to describe it.

There are so many diverse cultures in Philadelphia and each neighborhood has that home-away-from-home feeling. There is Chinatown in Center City, the Italian Market in the South Philadelphia neighborhood, and many more communities that provide a little piece of home to our diverse population. 

What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?

I hope to build bridges and unite different communities. We are all immigrants or children of immigrants in some way. I want to be able to take something from each community I have the pleasure of interacting with and use that to inform and improve our living experience in Philadelphia. 

I want to do my best in aiding the Office of Immigrant Affairs with the Black Immigrant Capacity Building Project, working closely with the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs (MCACIA), and various cultural events like Welcoming Week and Immigrant Heritage Month.

 I aim to unite and selflessly serve diverse communities to the best of my ability.