Jessi Ray Koch
Equitable Development Project Manager
I have a personal and professional dedication to building a more equitable and beautiful world through innovative community planning, policy and engagement. I love serving my hometown of Philadelphia where I have contributed to an array of community-driven projects and organizations. Currently, I run a consulting practice where I focus on furthering a more equitable future by working closely with non-profits, small businesses, artists, and individuals to achieve their goals. I engage a trauma-informed and healing centered approach to my life and work.
Born and raised in Mt.Airy, Philadelphia, and the third generation of Mt. Airy residents in my family, I was instilled with a strong sense of social justice and the importance of being an active community member. My family believes deeply in the importance of volunteerism and mutual aid and I do not remember a time when I was not engaged in some sort of community activism. My parents also demonstrated the importance of creative expression through their own love of music, visual arts, and writing. These lessons helped to shape elements of my core expression in this life and I continue to celebrate this heritage.I serve on the Board of Directors of Pathways to Housing and love to volunteer in my community whenever possible. I also enjoy exploring my artistic nature through a variety of mediums, and exploring the endless possibility of worlds and futures that science fiction articulates.
In 2013 I completed a dual MS in Community and Regional Planning and Urban Design from the University of Texas in Austin. My final comprehensive project focused on my work with the Colony Park community, a primarily Black and Latinx neighborhood undergoing a master planning process for a large parcel of publicly-owned land. I have been fortunate in my life to work in a diversity of fields; from refugee resettlement to community arts program design, from affordable housing policy to small business development.
Before returning to Philadelphia I served as a State and Local Policy Senior Specialist for Grounded Solutions Network. And prior to that was a Senior Planner with the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Office where I focused on affordable housing policy and development in support of a more affordable Austin for all residents.
I am thrilled to join the Centennial Parkside CDC community as the Equitable Development Project Manager. This neighborhood exemplifies the most beautiful and complex qualities that make our Philadelphia neighborhoods so unique. I look forward to collaborating with residents and other community members in bringing to life a collective vision for the future.