Michael Thorpe, Executive Director
Michael served as Mt. Vernon Manor, Inc.’s (MVM) Board Chair from 2011 to 2015. As Board Chair, he oversaw MVM’s efforts during the 2010 HUD Choice Neighborhoods Planning Initiative, which resulted in the creation of a community-driven neighborhood transformation plan for the Mantua neighborhood. Michael transitioned into the Executive Director’s position in May 2015. He’s successfully led the rehabilitation of 121 affordable apartment units and is currently pursuing an affordable housing preservation project with 29 units and a neighborhood mixed-used development that will include healthy food retail and housing. He also oversees the day-to-day operations of MVM’s community economic development initiatives, including a collaborative public safety program and the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, which engages neighborhood residents in activities that support numerous City core objectives. Michael Thorpe earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Dakota State University. He serves as an elder at The Resurrection Center Church in Wilmington, Delaware, where he currently lives with his wife and son.
Lorraine Gomez, Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) Coordinator
Lorraine joined Mt. Vernon Manor (MVM) in 2013, bringing 20 years of experience in community activism and organizing. She initially served MVM as the Block-by-Block Coordinator for the We Are Mantua! Public Safety Initiative, recruiting and training block-level resident leaders to identify and address community concerns. In 2015, she became the Neighborhood Advisory Committee Coordinator, connecting residents in the communities of East Parkside, Mantua, and Powelton Village, to community resources and city agencies. Lorraine also leads MVM’s Neighborhood Advisory Sub-Committee, an elected group of 9 residents that provide guidance to the organization about the community’s priorities. A life-long resident of Philadelphia’s East Parkside neighborhood and a U.S. Air Force veteran, Lorraine also serves on the board of Centennial Parkside Community Development Corporation, is the President of the Viola Street Residents Association, and is a member of the Parkside Historical Committee.
Jenny Chen, Community Development Associate
Jenny, a University of Pennsylvania graduate, came to Mt. Vernon Manor (MVM) in 2015 with a background in policy research and food justice. Her day-to-day work includes providing services to residents via MVM’s Neighborhood Advisory Committee, supporting the creation of a trauma-informed public safety strategy for Mantua, pursuing the rehabilitation of 29 units of formerly at-risk affordable housing, developing MVM’s communications/marketing messaging, and engaging in resource development activities that support assorted community initiatives. She also represents MVM on the West Philadelphia Promise Zone Housing Committee, the West Philadelphia Promise Zone Public Safety Committee, and The Home Preservation Initiative Collaborative. A resident of Philadelphia’s Belmont neighborhood, she additionally serves on the Board of Asian Americans United and can usually be seen biking around town in a bright blue helmet!