New Project: Philadelphia Research Initiative

Posted by on November 17, 2008

Pew Launches Philadelphia Research Initiative

The Pew Charitable Trusts has announced the creation of the Philadelphia Research Initiative, a new research unit at Pew to study critical issues facing Philadelphia.  Larry Eichel, a veteran Philadelphia Inquirer reporter and editor, will serve as project director.

“The Philadelphia Research Initiative will provide impartial research and analysis on a variety of timely issues, for the benefit of decision makers, the news media and the public,” said Donald Kimelman, director of Pew’s Philadelphia Program. “I cannot think of anyone more suitable to head the project than Larry Eichel. He brings an impressive record of impartial, in-depth reporting and a strong understanding of policy issues. We are thrilled to have someone of his caliber lead this new unit.”

The initiative will produce highly readable, in-depth reports that provide facts and analysis of complex and important issues, often comparing Philadelphia to other cities. It will also research policy solutions, listing the pros and cons of various options. Reports will be modeled after past Pew-commissioned studies, including Philadelphia 2007: Prospects and Challenges (, and Philadelphia’s Quiet Crisis: The Rising Cost of Employee Benefits (, which was co-published with the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Research Initiative will give Pew the resources and structure for in-house research, though, when special expertise is required, it will also commission studies from outside parties.

In addition to major reports, the new unit will publish briefs that illuminate front-and-center issues, and an annual “State of the City” report that will track trends on a wide array of key indicators of the city’s vitality—from crime to employment to cultural participation. In addition, an annual benchmark poll of Philadelphians will track attitudes on key issues facing the city, views of its leadership, and the public’s sense of whether the city is headed in the right or wrong direction.

Eichel will join Pew on November 24, 2008 to lead the new unit.

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