Effective July 1, 2023, the programs and staff of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service (OCEVS) and Philly Counts are part of the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO).

In January 2023, the organizations began a process to incorporate the work of the Philly Counts (PC) program and OCEVS into CEO’s organizational structure and work. The merger allows the teams to bring together their existing programs and expertise to better achieve economic justice for all Philadelphians.

The expanded CEO will maintain essential community engagement and outreach programs, including Community Resource Corps, Community Health Workers, the Serve Philadelphia VISTA Corps, and the Civic Engagement Academy. The collaborative effort will continue connecting residents with resources and programs that reduce barriers to economic mobility out of poverty.

The transition process included senior-level city stakeholders, department leaders, external stakeholders, and staff, led by consultant Strategy Arts.

“Bringing these agencies together strengthens our collective work, combining trauma-informed outreach and engagement with advocacy and investment,” said CEO Executive Director Mitch Little. “I’m very grateful to our stakeholders and staff for their commitment throughout this process as we’ve learned, reflected, and built a stronger, better organization.”

“The streamlined structure will allow CEO to continue to build on the innovative workforce development work done to date, such as our innovative approach to AmeriCorps,” said Amanda Gamble, Deputy Executive Director of Place-Based Initiatives, previously of OCEVS. “This fully aligns with CEO’s approach to pathways out of poverty and this team can share best practices with CEO’s other workforce development programs and learn from the work they have been doing.”

CEO is the Community Action Agency (CAA) for the city and county of Philadelphia. The Community Action Program was created by the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act as a means to fight against poverty. Its mission is to help families and individuals with low incomes gain self-sufficiency and mobility out of poverty.