CCEDC Celebrates Community

Elaine Jasper, Facilities & Grants Coordinator for CCEDC; Sherwood Robbins, Managing Director for Seedcopa; Kate Baganski, Grants Coordinator for CCEDC; Chris McHenry, Senior Portfolio and Compliance Manager for Seedcopa; and Jim Hammond, Controller for CCEDC, showcase some of the Decade to Doorways photo essays on display in CCEDC’s lobby.

By Leslie Rylke

This past week, the collaborative and community spirit that permeates Chester County was evident in many ways.  We at the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) value and support the efforts of others to strengthen our community and welcome the opportunity to make our own contributions to this effort.

This week began with a partner organization, NouSoma Communications, asking if they could nominate CCEDC as one of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” in 2017.  This honor included sharing information for the application about some special or innovative organizational program.  We were proud to share the following:

For the past seven years, the Chester County Economic Development Council has rallied staff in support of the Chester County Food Bank.  For five of those years, Seedcopa the lending arm of our organization, has hosted a “Souperbowl” in which staff prepared various soups and complimentary food items for the team to enjoy.  Held on the Friday before the Super Bowl, the event is not just an opportunity for the team to get together for socializing but also serves as a food drive to collect soup and crackers.  This year, the 5th Souperbowl yielded 142 pounds for the food bank.

CCEDC’s Kathleen Nader and Kathy Field help support Nave Newell’s 8th Annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Bake Sale

This past fall, in the months leading up to Thanksgiving, CCEDC held a “60 Days of Giving” drive in which each member of the team was given a box to collect their items and a calendar to check of the 60 days.  In a new single-event record, this drive yielded 1,062 pounds of donations.

Throughout the years, the organization has also held PB & J drives, turkey drives, and can-can drives where a different category of canned good was collected each week.

On several occasions, staff have pooled together their spare change and used that to purchase donations for the food bank as well as held “buck-a-dog days” in which hot dogs and canned beverages are sold for $1 each with the proceeds benefitting the Chester County Food Bank.

CCEDC has also reach out beyond staff by incorporating a food donation into its annual Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT) event as well as encouraging board members to bring items to donate when they attend monthly board meetings.

Outside of scheduled food drives, staff and visitors to our building are welcome to drop off items in the ever-present donation bin that is situated in our lobby.  As long as there is hunger in Chester County, CCEDC will be doing our part to help feed our fellow residents.

Even today, an email from our Facilities Manager, Kathleen Nader, landed in our inbox inviting us to participate in a Cinco de Mayo OLE’ food drive.  She encourages us to “fill the lobby with beans, tomatoes, chilies, rice, tacos, queso, and more!”

Kathleen had a busy week as she and Special Projects Director, Kathy Field, supported Nave Newell on Thursday at their 8th Annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Bake Sale.  She also is helping CCEDC become healthier by organizing a team for the ChesCo! WalkWorks initiative.  This county-wide program encourages residents to get moving by increasing walking and physical activity.  You can sign up or learn more at

Kathleen didn’t stop there, she also invited CCEDC staff and guests to walk across the parking lot and visit our neighbor Fox Rothschild on Wednesday as they were hosting a blood drive.  She made sure to point out that those who donated would have enough time elapse before CCEDC’s own blood drive on June 27.  All of this is in addition to our current clothing and household items drive that will be donated to Purple Heart in mid-May.

One other highlight, was the opportunity to have partner organization, the United Way, reached out to us regarding the “Decade to Doorways” project.  This initiative of the County of Chester plans to eliminate homelessness by 2022.  In support of this plan, the United Way teamed up with photographer Linda Braceland to produce a 12-part photo essay series featuring homeless individuals to tell the story of “Decades to Doorways.”

Several of the photo narratives were put on display in our building’s common areas and will be available for viewing through next Friday.

Finally, we want to share that the United Way is also helping to fill the shelves at the Chester County Food Bank with a “Peanut Butter and Jelly Food Drive.”  To help fill the shelves for the summer with an in-demand food that is high in protein & easy for a child to make a sandwich, simply gather your team, start collecting, then bring the items to weigh-in on Friday, June 2.  Learn more at

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