Trailblazing executive director, Sandy Salzman, to retire
With profound gratitude for her 21 years of service, New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) announces the retirement of its executive director, Sandy Salzman.
A lifelong resident of Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood, Sandy has devoted her entire career to community leadership and service.
She first became prominent in community affairs as director of the Fishtown Civic Association, from 1980 to 1988. Later, while working for the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, she also helped to establish Friends of Fishtown.
Sandy became administrative assistant at NKCDC in 1995 and was promoted to director in 1998. Under her leadership, NKCDC became the first community-based organization in Philadelphia to use vacant land management as a strategy for neighborhood revitalization. Over two decades, the program has reclaimed more than 90% of the neighborhood's 1,100 vacant parcels, with community participation as its driving force.
"The community would never have been able to have economic development had we not first done land use management, because it stabilized the neighborhood," Sandy said.
During her tenure, NKCDC completed more than 100 housing rehabilitations, helping hundreds of families purchase their own homes and spurring new and revitalized businesses across the community. NKCDC received the Best Practices award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Organization of Excellence award from NeighborWorks America.
"I'm proud of the amount of partnerships we have formed. No CDC can do this work by themselves."
In 2000, Sandy brought together public and private partners to build an annex to the overcrowded Kensington High School. A few years later, she spearheaded NKCDC's development of Coral Street Arts House--a vacant mill factory in East Kensington that is now 27 units of affordable live/work space for artists and their families.
"I'm proud of the amount of partnerships we have formed," Sandy said. "No CDC can do this work by themselves."
Beginning in 2007, Sandy led an effort to work more closely with the communities in Kensington north of Lehigh Avenue, providing housing counseling, food referrals, tax rebate assistance and other services. Through extensive partnerships with community residents and stakeholders, the North of Lehigh Revitalization Plan was completed and released in January 2014.
As part of that plan, NKCDC is transforming an abandoned factory near Somerset Station into a 51-unit apartment complex with commercial and community spaces. NKCDC will move its main office to the new Orinoka Civic House in 2017. Sandy has been instrumental in coordinating these groundbreaking efforts.
"For years, Sandy has helped others realize their personal and professional goals by providing trust, support and the necessary tools."
A retirement celebration will be held Thursday, December 8. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Sandy will remain in her position until a successor is named. A transition committee of staff and board members has been formed, under the guidance of NKCDC board chair Wesley Cascone, and NCKDC has engaged Frontline Solutions (www.frontlinesol.com) to assist in the executive search.
"For years, Sandy has helped others realize their personal and professional goals by providing trust, support and the necessary tools," Wesley said. "She has put her successor in a position to make a great contribution in a community brimming with possibilities. Her greatest accomplishment may be yet to come."