PathWays PA, founded in 1978, began as one of Pennsylvania’s first residential programs to keep low-income, vulnerable women together with their children and has grown to become one of the Greater Philadelphia region’s foremost providers of residential and community-based services for women, children and families.
Pathways will be honored with the Non-Profit of the Year award at the Chamber’s 30th annual Excellence Awards on Thursday, November 15. The award is sponsored by Comcast Business Class. You can register for the awards ceremony here.
We recently sat down with Pathways’ President/CEO, Carol Goertzel, to ask her about the organization and what winning the award means to them.
What is PathWays PA’s role in the Greater Philadelphia business community?
PathWaysPA provides services to some of the 42% of the city’s population that earns under the Self Sufficiency Standard and the 25% living with incomes under the federal poverty level. Through our financial and credit counseling and free tax service, we bring dollars into communities and support community businesses. Through our work with at risk teen moms and girls, as well as teens in the child welfare system, we help to increase the percentage of people who complete high school and enter college, and more prepared to support themselves through their work- enriching communities and cost-saving for all – in addition to assisting in crime prevention and increasing well-being of the next generation.
As a non-profit small business, how has your company built a name for itself?
While we focus most on the work that is in front of us, we build a name for ourselves through our website, fundraisers, business supporters and news stories in which we are highlighted. We work with public officials and community leaders as well as colleagues in the nonprofit sector. We try to participate in forums, as well as sponsor educational forums. We always need more assistance in this area.
What are the benefits of operating a non-profit in the Greater Philadelphia region?
A major benefit is the incredible support of individuals and the business community as everyone works together to ensure that the Philadelphia region is a great place to live, work, and ‘play’. The local governments are committed to the provision of support for all families as well.
What does receiving the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Non-Profit Organization of the Year award mean to you and your business?
Receiving the Chamber’s Non-Profit Organization of the Year Award gives PathWays increased visibility and credibility –it is the most prestigious award we have received; our board of directors is thrilled; and the recognition from the Chamber will definitely assist greatly in our business development as a nonprofit.
Why is it important for small businesses to be recognized?
Small businesses are the cornerstone of a vibrant community and city, providing jobs and goods and services to everyone. Entrepreneurship demands the creativity that moves our region forward- and nonprofits must be entrepreneurial in this environment with growing needs and economic challenges.
What advice do you have for other non-profit small businesses operating in the region?
My advice would be to be a connector for both others and your organization – to focus on quality and results – be clear about your mission and creative in meeting people’s needs, as you are fiscally responsible in this ever-changing world. A positive perspective, using the wisdom of your board, staff and clients or participants will carry you forward with the greatest energy and foresight. Focusing both of growth and development as well as maintenance of effort and ensuring continuation of ‘what works’ is the balance we all must achieve.