Last month, Anuj Gupta who has served as Mt. Airy USA’s executive director since October 2010, announced he would step down to accept the position as the next general manager of historic Reading Terminal Market.
“I am enormously grateful to our board, our partners, the Mt. Airy USA staff and all of the individuals we have worked with and served over the years, to have had this opportunity,” Gupta said in a release announcing his resignation. “Together, I believe we accomplished a great deal and had an impact on many lives. It has been a privilege to serve the best neighborhood in America.”
Gupta recounted many of Mt. Airy USA’s accomplishments during the past five years from catalyzing the resurgence of Germantown Avenue’s 6500 – 6700 blocks, leading the redevelopment of blighted land at Chew Avenue and Washington Lane into a second campus for the highly acclaimed Wissahickon Charter School, providing housing counseling services to more Philadelphians than ever before, the birth of Street FARE – Mt. Airy’s now annual street food festival, the launch of the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition, the coming revitalization of Lovett Park and Mt. Airy USA’s selection as a Knight Cities Challenge Award winner.
“Over the past five years, Anuj has brought us to a place where our mission is focused, our staff is exceptional, our finances are strong and our impact continually grows,” said Mt. Airy USA board chair Howard Treatman. “We are well positioned to build on this strength and make even bigger contributions to Mt. Airy in the years ahead. We owe Anuj our thanks for these past five years. I am confident that we will move through this transition successfully.”
Treatman also announced that the board has appointed a transition leadership structure and a board transition committee. Brad Copeland, Mt. Airy USA’s current director of real estate development, and Abby Thaker, director of development and education partnerships, will lead the organization on an interim basis while the Board’s transition committee reviews options for next steps.
Copeland joined Mt. Airy USA in 2008 and has led the organization to become one of the most successful non profit developers in Philadelphia. He has successfully leveraged New Markets Tax Credits for the Wissahickon Charter project, developed more vacant homes through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program than any non-profit developer in Philadelphia, and more recently has employed the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act to fight blight and redeem vacant, abandoned properties in the neighborhood. Thaker came to Mt. Airy USA in 2013 and quickly launched the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition – a neighborhood-wide collaborative model focused on improving the six public schools serving Mt. Airy children. Under Thaker’s leadership, the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition installed a new computer lab for the children of the Emlen School, organized an open house tour of local schools for area realtors, and most recently was given a significant award by the Lenfest Foundation to create a neighborhood-wide literacy initiative.