City of Opportunity Directories – Part 1
St. Petersburg brands itself as a “City of Opportunity,” where the “sun shines on all.” That aspiration is rapidly becoming reality for more and more city residents. A thriving economy and booming skyline of construction reinforce the sense that St. Petersburg is on the rise.
Yet the perception and reality are not shared by many citizens. There remains a sharp contrast between the ever-expanding skyline of the city’s majority-white “downtown” and the struggling corridors of the majority-black “Midtown” area. The two areas occupy small fractions of the city but loom large as emblems of pervasive economic divides between white and black residents of this increasingly prosperous place.
It was that divide that inspired The Opportunity Directory Project as one facet of a growing landscape of initiatives devoted to economic equity. The Project is designed to close the gaps – in knowledge and opportunity – that have limited the pace of progress toward equity for African Americans in Florida’s 5th largest city.
Part 1 of the Opportunity Directory Project is the first installment of a larger project to create a comprehensive, searchable, online directory of economic opportunities available to people who live, work and invest in South St. Petersburg – the 25-square miles south of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg where nearly 80% of the city’s black population resides.
While there are hundreds of individual programs, plans and initiatives designed to improve the economic and quality of life of St. Petersburg residents, this document limits that universe in three ways:
- Initiatives – This directory features initiatives, rather than individual programs.
- Self-Identified – This directory captures initiatives identified by their creators as designed for economic development and or economic growth.
- South St. Petersburg – This directory features initiatives in South St. Petersburg and adjacent areas, such as downtown and the Grand Central District.
Importantly, this Part 1 directory does not encompass many initiatives that are vital to economic growth, such as workforce development, affordable housing development, financial capacity & wealth-building, and homebuyer & homeowner asset growth initiatives.
Future installments of the Project will publish directories on these and other domains. It will also publish a consumer-friendly directory of opportunity pathway programs, such as programs for exiting poverty, financial empowerment, and business development.