Michelle Feldman has discovered the spirit of collaboration in Philadelphia. She just so happens to run a nonprofit that thrives on it.

As the Executive Director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful (KPB), Michelle works with various organizations throughout the city to educate the masses on sustainability and beautification. Through collaboration efforts, from partnering with the Streets Department to helping to launch the waste and recycling component of GreenFutures, KPB continues to grow in its reach. Consequently, reception from the local community continues to grow.


GreenFutures is five-year sustainability plan aiming to make every Philadelphia school a green school.

Keeping Philadelphia Beautiful

Keep Philadelphia Beautiful assists neighborhoods in improving their physical features. Their main areas of focus are litter prevention, recycling education and promotion, community beautification and waste reduction. This is accomplished by connecting residents to local resources and organizations. And while Philadelphians typically buy into the message, the organization still faces its fair share of challenges.

Keep Philadelphia Beautiful - Small Organization, Big City

This is where collaboration comes into play. Take for example an event held just last month. “Cleaning + Greening 101: Embrace Your Inner Leslie Knope” put a Parks and Recreation spin on a panel of experts shelling out community cleanup advice.

Young Involved Philadelphia and Keep Philadelphia Beautiful organized for Michelle, as well as representatives from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and TreePhilly, to speak to local residents about how to best clean up their neighborhoods. This included everything from how to plant trees to how to connect with nonprofit resources.

It’s these kinds of efforts that allow KPB to reach a larger audience. It’s what causes one neighbor to tell the next. It’s what triggers thought and inspires action.

Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Add Value

The number of community-based nonprofits in Philadelphia is vast, yet overcrowding isn’t a concern. Many organizations are small and have limited resources. Partnerships allow for these resources, and the people behind them, to be spread across multiple organizations. It even extends nationally, as KPB relies on other Keep America Beautiful affiliates to discover what’s been successful.

Despite Philadelphia having unique challenges in comparison to Austin, Indianapolis or any other city, much of what works for one affiliate can work for another. While physical distance may separate them, keeping a sense of community within the affiliates is key to the growth of their message. It’s critical for KPB to self-evaluate and discover the best tactics for education and outreach.

“We ask ‘what are the best practices?'” said Michelle.


A large immigrant population and an influx of young people entering the city have brought a special energy to Philadelphia. While the city’s identity slowly shifts, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful’s efforts in educating residents on sustainability and beautification never comes to halt. They’ll continue to collaborate their way into the many communities and neighborhoods.

Budget Dumpster is a community-focused source for a dumpster rental in PhiladelphiaThis is part of a series of articles shining a spotlight on organizations making an impact in the cities we service. If you know of another organization making a positive difference, let us know in the comments.