About the Community Partners

APM Logo

Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha

Small Beginnings

After returning home from the Vietnam War, five veterans and neighborhood residents realized that their community needed help¹. APM’s name translates to “Association of Puerto Ricans on the Move,” which captures the spirit of activism and emerging political consciousness of the Puerto Rican community in the 1960s and 70s¹. In its early years, APM focused on providing behavioral health services². They soon expanded health services to include resources like substance abuse treatment³. APM has also advocated for stronger education in the community, partnering with other organizations to pool together head start, day care, and early intervention resources⁴.

Neighborhood Dedication

Following WWII, thousands of families moved from North Philadelphia to suburban communities outside of the City⁵. As minority groups moved into the newly empty neighborhoods, parts of North Philadelphia were redlined, or determined to be risky investments⁶. This led to severe disinvestment in these neighborhoods, resulting in abandoned properties and deteriorating infrastructure⁶. APM has made big strides to revitalize the surrounding environment to its former glory, beginning with the construction of affordable housing units in the 1990s. By collaborating with local and state politicians, APM was able to leverage the support and funding needed to develop affordable housing units⁷. Some of APM’s neighborhood developments include⁸:

  • Cousin’s Grocery Store
  • Revitalization of over 1,400 abandoned buildings
  • Developed housing units on 475 vacant lots
  • Cleaned/Greened over 900 vacant lots

These developments have worked to stabilize the neighborhood by providing families with quality homes and neighborhood services. APM’s work also enhances street aesthetics, making the community look and feel safer. From the 1970s through the early 2000s, there were high crime rates in this neighborhood⁹. This impacted families by resulting in traumatic losses in the community, in addition to losses like park closures and lack of a sense of community. 

APM’s work has centered around rebuilding a strong community. Our tour features one of APM’s original offices. This historical profile (link to profile) describes APM’s community connector program. The connector program has put the responsibility to organize back into community residents’ hands. Additionally, APM holds regular community events, like festivals and meetings to create space for residents to gather¹⁰. Examples like these show how APM has been able to nurture the sense of community to grow.

APM for Everyone

As the neighborhood has grown, APM recognized the need to make their services more accessible to everyone in Philadelphia. In the 2000s, they rebranded to adopt the slogan “APM for Everyone” ¹¹. Today, APM is recognized as a leading social service organization in Philadelphia. Some of their programs include substance abuse treatment for adults, support services for families and individuals, early childhood education, financial services, affordable housing, kinship care, treatment foster care, and adoption services¹⁰. 

Recently, APM has been involved with advocacy initiatives for their neighborhood. For example, in 2018 the group made donations to Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria¹². Many evacuees found themselves living with family members in Philadelphia after the disaster. Organizations like APM stepped up to provide resources needed to bridge evacuees to more stable housing and income opportunities. Additionally in 2020, APM has worked to organize emergency resources in response to COVID-19 challenges, including telehealth services and the distribution of tablets to increase accessibility to educational services that have moved online¹³ ¹⁴.

Visit APM's website to learn more about their incredible impacts as well as their upcoming plans.

LISC logo

LISC Philadelphia

Over the past few years, LISC has supported the Eastern North Tours through direct grants, ongoing staff time, and assistance with website and communications. The Eastern North Tours were developed by a collaboration of non-profit organizations led by LISC’s Arts and Culture committee and focus on providing tours of El Centro de Oro and Bloque de Oro. For more information on this project visit the Eastern North Tours website. The Eastern North Tours complement our commitment to achieving equitable community development through sustained resident engagement.

Ceiba logo

Ceiba

Ceiba is a coalition of Latino community-based organizations in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1989. The coalition is named after the Ceiba trees that grow in the Caribbean. They are renowned for their longevity and as great gathering places for people to meet and talk under the shade.

Ceiba’s mission is to promote the economic development and financial inclusion of the Latino community through collaborations and advocacy aimed at ensuring their access to quality housing.

Visit Ceiba's website to learn more. 

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Works Cited

¹ “History,” Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, accessed March 23, 2020, https://apmphila.org/about/history/.

² Diaz, Nelson. “Annual Banquet is Held,” Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), Nov. 17, 1974. 

³ "August 24, 1992 (Page 55 of 60)." Philadelphia Inquirer (1969-2001), Aug 24, 1992. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/1843438659?accountid=14270.

⁴ “Early Childhood Education,” Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, accessed March 25, 2020, https://apmphila.org/services/family-services/early-childhood-education/.

⁵ Dayanim, Suzanne Lashner. “Inner Suburbs.” Last modified 2017. https://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/inner-suburbs/.

⁶ Crossney, Kristen B. “Redlining.” Last modified 2016. https://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/redlining/.

⁷ Patrick Kerkstra, “Special Report: APM Sets its Own Rules,” last modified November 3, 2010. https://whyy.org/articles/special-report-apm-set-its-own-rules/.

⁸ Patrick Kerkstra, “Special Report: Vacant Land, Focused Plans,” last modified September 21, 2010. https://whyy.org/articles/special-report-vacant-land-focused-plans/.

⁹ High crime rates

¹⁰ “APM 50th Anniversary.” Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha. Accessed March 25, 2020. https://apmphila.org/apm-50th-anniversary-1970-2020/.

¹¹ Patrick Kerkstra, “Special Report: A New Face on Race Relations,” last modified October 21, 2010. https://whyy.org/articles/special-report-new-face-race-relations/

¹² Jaramillo, Catalina. “A New Group Promises Long Term Support for Puerto Rican Hurricane Evacuees.” Last modified February 28, 2018. https://whyy.org/articles/new-group-promises-long-term-support-puerto-rican-hurricane-evacuees/.

¹³ “APM Addressing the Digital Divide/Tablet Delivery 3-30-2020.” Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha. March 30, 2020. https://apmphila.org/2020/03/30/apm-addressing-the-digital-divide-tablet-delivery-3-30-2020/.

¹⁴ “APM Offers Telehealth.” Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha. April 1, 2020. https://apmphila.org/2020/04/01/apm-offers-telehealth/.

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About the Community Partners