Civic News

Economy League is launching a civic impact accelerator, makes 4 hires

The Civic Impact Labs program, led by Jen Devor, is set to launch this spring.

Jen Devor.

(Courtesy photo)

The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is launching an impact accelerator focused on developing biz plans for civic-minded projects and helping founders seek seed investments.

The nonprofit think tank didn’t share many details about the program, called the Civic Impact Labs, or when applications will officially open. What we do know is that the accelerator is part of the the organization’s Impact Labs program, “a brand new initiative to support community ventures and social enterprises advancing innovative solutions to complex civic challenges in Philadelphia,” said Jen Devor, who was hired as the Economy League’s new civic impact manager to run the program.

Impact Labs is an extension of last year’s Full City Challenge, a joint initiative of the Economy League and Billy Penn that focuses on hunger and poverty in the region, and is expected to launch in March or April.

Before joining the organization, Devor ran for city commissioner in 2019 and worked as director of partnerships for Campus Philly.

“Given my professional background and passion for civic engagement, it feels like the perfect fit,” Devor said.

In addition to Devor, three other new hires were brought on recently. The addition of two new directors, a program manager, and an office manager allows the Economy League to strengthen its Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange (GPLEX) and the Philadelphia Anchors for Growth & Equity (PAGE).


J’nelle Lawrence is the new director for PAGE, a collaborative of Philly’s largest eds and meds institutions to create job growth in disinvested neighborhoods. The Villanova University grad previously worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia as a procurement specialist and at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals as the global supplier diversity manager.

J’nelle Lawrence. (Courtesy photo)

Opeola Bukola will direct GPLEX, a program that brings together Philly’s cross-sector leaders to build “civic muscle.” Bukola is the founder and principal consultant of Lillo Consulting, which works with emerging brands. She has also worked with Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs and with Backstage Capital as the Philadelphia accelerator director and investment associate in strategic initiatives. Recently, Bukola served as the early-stage facilitator of Philly’s Global Identity Partnership that manages unified brand identity in the city.

Opeola Bukola. (Courtesy photo)

Farwa Zaidi is the Economy League’s new office manager. Zaidi will oversee day-to-day projects, board and committee meetings, and the Economy League webpage. Before taking on this role, she was the office manager for the Overseas Press Club of America in New York City.

Farwa Zaidi. (Courtesy photo)

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