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Erie Downtown Partnership

Total Qualifying Score: 8
County (ARC Region): Yes
State (ARC Region): Yes
Q3. IRS Status: Nonprofit – 2
Q4. Parent Entity: No – 1
Q5. 2 or More Full-Time Employees : Yes (as of 12/31/2019)
Q7. Budget Level: $250,001 to $1.5 million – 5 (Last Fiscal Year Actual Income)
Q8. Restricted Reserves: Yes – 0
Q9. CARES Act Funding: Yes – 0
Q13. Participation by Executive: Yes


Erie Downtown Partnership
Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania 16507

County (ARC Region) Erie
State (ARC Region) Pennsylvania


Q1. Mission:

The Erie Downtown Partnership is a nationally accredited and PA DCED designated Main Street organization serving the downtown commercial core by creating a safe, fun, and welcoming downtown through advocacy, marketing and placemaking activities.

Q2. How organization aligns with ARC’s Plan & Goals:

Goal 1 Alignment:  The Erie Downtown Partnership is the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development designated Downtown Improvement District and Main Street organization working to amplify and support the downtown business community by improving the environment of downtown.

We serve a diverse mix of 600 downtown property and business owners, 20,000 downtown employees and residents, and over one million visitors annually. Our service area is from the Bayfront up to 14th Street and over from Holland to Sassafras Streets. Our service area encompasses Gannon University, UPMC Hamot, Erie Insurance and many cultural assets such as the Erie Art Museum, Children’s Museum, UPMC Ball Park, Erie Insurance Arena, Warner Theatre, Erie Playhouse, and Blasco Library. The commercial core, known as the Downtown Improvement District, serves businesses and residents in part of the 16501 zip code, noted as the “poorest zip code in America”. Downtown is the heart of the northwest Pennsylvania region serving students, employees, residents, visitors, and entrepreneurs who represent a unique mix of minorities, including New Americans and refugees.


Goal 2 Alignment:  A focus on downtown’s cleanliness is key to providing a safe and welcoming downtown experience that supports the businesses, residents, and guests alike.  We employ many different hands-on initiatives including cleaning services such as power washing and litter removal from sidewalks, graffiti removal from public places and privately-owned buildings, deployment of litter and cigarette butt receptacles, as well as flower and tree watering and weeding.  Another tactical approach to creating a better downtown experience is place making activities centered on community building. The Erie Downtown Partnership coordinates numerous events and activities each year focused on health and wellness such as outdoor yoga, a downtown farmers’ market, story times for children, and downtown walking groups.


Goal 3 Alignment:  The Erie Downtown Partnership is an advocate for sustainable and accessible infrastructure throughout downtown.  We serve on many committees that center on transportation and access including the Bayfront Parkway Project Advisory Committee, the City of Erie’s Active Transportation Plan, and the Erie Neighborhood Growth Partnership .

We also work to support critical infrastructure to protect our beautiful and economically important bayfront and Presque Isle which surrounds downtown’s Bayfront to the north. We participate on the Keep Erie Beautiful board of directors, are a founding member of the Keep our Bayfront Beautiful Task Force, participate in the annual Inner Coastal Clean-up, coordinate many downtown clean-up efforts, and actively clean downtown’s sidewalks and public areas daily.



Goal 4 Alignment:  The Erie Downtown Partnership manages a 70-block  Downtown Improvement District, which includes the Bayfront to the north of the district.  The Bayfront is surrounded by Presque Isle Bay with Presque Isle Peninsula visible across the bay.  This natural resource is an essential economic contributor to our regional economy as many downtown businesses rely on revenue from visiting tourists from around the region and Canada.

We are committed to protecting our natural resources and the historic preservation of our built environment and cultural assets.


Goal 5 Alignment:  The Erie Downtown Partnership is dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion to include young leadership and entrepreneurial support.  In 2020 we launched the Listen to Your Neighbor campaign and hosted community gatherings to help citizens learn from one another and how they can help lessen the gap in participation in community development.

We are currently in the process of developing a new Community Relations Strategy to help us understand the barriers for participation in public meetings, events, access to information, and equitable downtown development.  We are particularly interested in reaching traditionally marginalized members of our community such as refugees and New Americans, the disabled and handicapped, new entrepreneurs and students, black creators and innovators.

Q3. IRS Filing Status: 501(c)(3)   

Q4. Unit or Chapter of Larger Organization: No

Q5. Employees:

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 4/1 (as of 9/1/2020)

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 4/1 (as of 12/31/2019)

Current Year Income/Expenses: $400,000/$400,000

Q6. Fiscal Year: Calendar

Q7. Budget Level

Last Fiscal Year Income/Expenses (Actual): $454,506 / $539,502.59

Current Year Income/Expenses (Projected): $400,000 / $400,000

Q8. Restricted Reserves (Amount): Yes ($344,772)

Q9. CARES Act Funding (Amount): Yes ($90,000)
Received From: PPP Application and County CARES Grant   Date Received: April and October
For What Purpose(s): Administrative and operational expenses

Q10. Negative Impacts from COVID-19:

The Erie Downtown Partnership had just invoiced its members for their 2020 assessments in early March, right before COVID-19 shelter in place orders were given. Upon shutdown orders we knew that many of our small businesses would be quickly and deeply impacted, which in turn would impact our property owners as well as our assessment intake. We made the decision to offer a grace period to our assessed members, giving them an extension on assessment payments. Our assessment collections are behind compared to this time last year, and we project that we will be even more deeply impacted in 2021 as a result of the impact the pandemic has had on businesses we serve. Last year we had engaged with Provider Resources, Inc. Community (PRI Community) to help supplement our cleaning needs. We had to suspend their contract in March through June as we did not have enough funding to support their work. With the increase in cleaning we needed to re-engage them and found some funding to do so, which was originally earmarked for place making activities. We are working to find funding to further build out out cleaning initiatives and support downtown’s small businesses through the pandemic and beyond.

Q11. Top Three Concerns:
How do we fund the additional programs needed to solve the problems created or amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic?
What should a well-planned out funding strategy look like for our type of organization?
Are there more innovative approaches to funding programs and services that we aren’t aware of for organizations like ours?

How Participation in Program Will Address Concerns:

The Erie Downtown Partnership staff and board of directors sees this program helping us to understand nonprofit fundraising and funding strategies more deeply.  Participating with nonprofits organizations that we collaborate with on program delivery also amplifies the collective conversation and accountability that we believe is needed to help us cross the threshold.


Q12. Applying as a Proposed Cohort? Yes

List of Organizations in Proposed Cohort:
Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership
Erie Arts and Culture

Q13. Executive Director or CEO Will Participate in the Program? Yes

Q14. Top Two Choices for Cohort Instruction:

Course #1 Choice: 1-Fundraising

Course #2 Choice: 2-Long-term Financial Management

Q15. Desired Course Schedule for Cohort Instruction:

#1 Desired Course Schedule: 1-Fall 2020: 6-Week Course (Nov. 9, 2020 – Dec. 18, 2020)

#2 Desired Course Schedule: 2-Winter 2021 A: 5-Week Course (Jan. 25, 2021 – Feb. 28, 2021)


Name: Emily Fetcko, Assistant Director and Main Street Manager

Application Approved by Organization Director or CEO? Yes, Approved by Executive Director/CEO

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