It's not a mission the Economy League has taken on alone. For the last year, it has worked with three organizations as partners: the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's CEO Council for Growth on business growth; the Urban Land Institute-Philadelphia for infrastructure; and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey for education.
So how are they going to fix what ails Philadelphia?
The answers, according to Wray, lie in the ideas, creativity, and energy of the people here. That's what has led to regular meetings of three teams for what the Economy League calls its "global positioning strategies." The teams - each with at least 30 members - are composed of leaders from economic-development groups, business nonprofits, and higher education.
On Monday evening, the league provided an update to its stakeholders, who provide the funding for the effort, at an event at the studios of WHYY TV12.
Two teams have distilled the overall goals into broad strategies they believe will nudge Philadelphia toward the goal of becoming the best it can be.
For example, the business team said strengthening the entrepreneurial networks that exist in the area and increasing the availability of growth capital would help those trying to start new companies.
Joshua S. Sevin, deputy director of the Economy League, said there were already steps being taken that mirror that goal. For example, the Nutter administration announced in October that it would commit up to $3 million for a Start-up PHL Seed Fund, managed by an outside firm, to provide small amounts of capital to businesses.
Still, keeping the focus on what the region will look like in a dozen or so years is a hard thing to do when the headlines are filled with the budget battles, school closings, and company layoffs of the present.
A dreamy, world-class 2026 seems far from the messy local clashes of 2013.
Contact Mike Armstrong
at 215-854-2980 or email@example.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter. Read his blog, "PhillyInc," at www.phillyinc.biz.