Norris Square Community Alliance is now Xiente

Announcing a New Name and Strategies to Provide Economic Mobility

September 15, 2023 (Philadelphia, PA) – Forty-year-old nonprofit Norris Square Community Alliance announced today that it is relaunching as Xiente with a bold new multi-pronged approach to poverty alleviation. Its new strategy will include developing holistic, proactive, personalized economic mobility plans for two generations of families. The organization will also offer new programs to expand its footprint and impact, including mobile services, a new hub, and an economic mobility network. Xiente will talk about this innovative approach at its Breakfast for Equity event on Friday, September 15 – the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month – at Temple University’s Mitten Hall. The event will also feature a panel discussion on solutions to poverty with experts from Penn and Georgetown, among others.

‘Xiente’ was inspired by the Spanish word for feeling (siente). We at Xiente have a deep understanding of the root causes and hopelessness of persistent poverty. We know how it feels to be poor and left behind. And, more importantly, we know how to work together with partners and rally for a more equitable society. As Xiente, we will disrupt intergenerational poverty and empower families to rise up – improving their lives, and their communities.

—Michelle Carrera Morales

Philadelphia is the largest poor city in America, with almost a quarter of its residents living in poverty. While poverty has slightly dropped overall since 2011, it has increased for Latino residents by an average of 0.1% per year since 2005, translating to approximately 40% of Latino Philadelphians living in poverty as of 2019*. To help reverse this trend, Xiente will launch new methods of service delivery immediately.

In October, Xiente’s mobile preschool, Busesito, will serve almost 100 families in West and South Philadelphia, and, in the future, other communities without access to high-quality, affordable preschools. Generously funded by Vanguard and the William Penn Foundation, Busesito has three components: kindergarten readiness for children, capacity and quality building for informal providers, and economic mobility for families. Busesito will provide students with two half-days of bilingual curriculum for children 3-5 years old. During the preschool day, their parents will partake in financial literacy, job readiness, ESOL, and other social services designed to help provide economic mobility. The goal is to create a replicable model that can scale across Philadelphia and the region.

Then, to continue to bring services to people in their own communities, in 2024, an economic mobility van will hit the road to help Philadelphians with taxes and other essential financial assistance.

Also launching in fall 2023 is Xiente’s new Prosperity Lab – a community development initiative, and an incubator of prosperity for families living in poverty. Using a two-generation approach, the Lab will provide families with affordable housing, social services, and a community infrastructure focused on their social mobility. The Lab will concentrate on providing two hundred families with innovative, integrated services while collecting the necessary data to influence public policy regarding social mobility. If successfully implemented, the Lab will produce a replicable model to advance the economic well-being of families in urban areas. At the same time, the data collected during the project will help the organization advocate for public policies that promote equity in the areas of housing, education, and social services. The first phase will take place in 2023 with the integration of 31 affordable housing units that will be built or remodeled by the fall. Known as “Mi Casa,” the new housing will be for families who currently receive services from the organization. A ribbon-cutting event for move-in will occur in October.

These new approaches draw on NSCA’s more than four decades of experience, during which time it helped over 20,000 people. It will also leverage the CEO’s experience with the Boys & Girls Clubs and Red Cross, as well as learnings from her forthcoming Eisenhower fellowship, to build, analyze, and strengthen Xiente’s new strategies, with the goal of replicating success across Philadelphia and beyond.

In 2022, NSCA provided services to almost 3,000 families: Its early education program served 279 children and provided free lunch; almost 100 adults participated in digital literacy courses; it provided housing counseling for more than 400 people; and thousands more received health services.

Media is invited to:

  • to take a tour of Busesito in late September
  • to attend the ribbon cutting of Mi Casa in mid-October
  • to see Xiente in action in Norris Square anytime