We aim to welcome employees back to Center City workplaces

ReadySetPhilly! is a joint initiative of the City of Philadelphia and the the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia to unify and activate a Philly-specific strategy to provide the information, justifiable confidence, resources and direction to provide a safe return to our places of work, our restaurants, our shops, our bars, our beer gardens, our stores, our hotels, our museums, our festivals, our public transit, our public spaces and our entertainment venues.

It's go time! Want to know more...?

What is Ready.Set.Philly!? 

Ready.Set.Philly! is a collaborative initiative with the City, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and a broad and diverse coalition of employers and organizations working together to provide reliable information and direction to encourage, support and promote the safe return to Philadelphia for work and play. This 12-month endeavor will harness the collective resources, knowledge and can-do spirit of Philadelphia to move the City from crisis to progress and reset the City for success.

Who is part of Ready.Set.Philly!?

We have assembled and engaged an Advisory Council and Task Force of the region's top leaders and representatives in health care, transportation, public spaces, restaurants, entertainment venues, business associations, civic associations, hotels, small businesses, big businesses, arts and culture.

What is the mission of Ready.Set.Philly!?

Ready.Set.Philly! will harness Philadelphia's knowledge, power, and spirit to encourage, support, and welcome employees, residents, patrons, and visitors in safely returning to Philadelphia for work. We are focused on three short, medium, and long-range efforts: reopening and re-launching our economy, restoring our wellbeing, and ultimately redefining what we want Philadelphia to be post-pandemic.

Is Ready.Set.Philly! a nonprofit?

No, Ready.Set.Philly! is a temporary collaborative initiative funded by corporations.

Is Ready.Set.Philly! focused on Center City or all of Philadelphia?

We're focused on restoring the vitality of the WHOLE City and the key to making that happen is bringing folks back downtown, Philadelphia's largest economic district supporting 42 percent of the City's jobs, more than half of which are held by Philadelphia residents.  Center City's economy has a powerful multiplier effect and generates income that circulates throughout the entire City. Ready.Set.Philly!'s open source efforts apply to all Philadelphia neighborhoods and we encourage everyone to welcome workers and visitors back!

What does Ready.Set.Philly! not do?

We do not provide business grants or loans, do contact tracing, administer the COVID-19 vaccines or provide COVID-19 testing.

How are the ED and the Deputy ED being paid to work on this program?

Angela Val and Michelle Histand are leading the project as part of an executive on loan program. (50% of their time will be spent on this project. The PHLCVB received a corporate gift from Essential Utilities to pay for part of Angela Val's salary; Independence Blue Cross has loaned Michelle Histand's time and expertise.)

Why is it important to think about post-pandemic Philadelphia while the City is still in the grip of COVID?

As vaccines roll-out and more people in the region become protected against COVID-19, the closer the City gets to a post-pandemic reality. This is the moment to set ourselves up for future success. We need to get back to creating jobs, restoring hourly-wage jobs, and attracting large events that pack our hotels and restaurants. The time for preparation and coordination is now. 

What is the timing of the program?

Initially, this was a 12-month endeavor in cooperation with The City of Philadelphia and The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, however the campaign is extended through 2022.

How will Ready.Set.Philly! be funded? What is the budget? 

This collaborative initiative will rely on corporate contributions. Because this is a temporary effort to provide a much-needed public service, and dependent upon donations, we are working to do has much as possible with limited resources. The Philadelphia Foundation is managing and coordinating the financial gifts and charitable contributions. 

How did the Advisory Council come together?

A group of business, government, and civic leaders came together around an effort on how to best respond to this health, economic and civic emergency now that a COVID-19 vaccine has started to be distributed. Additional council members were added to ensure that both business and government were represented.

How will the City and the Chamber be involved?

The City of Philadelphia and The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia will work together through the leadership of the Ready.Set.Philly! tri-chairs Susan Jacobson, Bill Hankowsky, and Michael Rashid, and the assembled Advisory Council and Task Force.

Who can I contact about Ready.Set.Philly!?

Angela Val, Executive Director, angela@readysetphilly.com 

Michelle Histand, Deputy Executive Director, michelle@readysetphilly.com 

For more information visit:

Why do you feel Ready.Set.Philly! is needed?

If workers don't return to the City to live, work, and play, it will change Philadelphia's culture, economy and the futures of our citizens locally and regionally. And Philadelphia needs a shot in the arm! Literally and figuratively. As more people become vaccinated, we'll be able to move toward safely going back to offices, restaurants, shops, museums, lecture halls, and all the places and things that make Philly attractive to visitors and residents. Moving from crisis to success requires coordinated collaboration, unified strategy, consistent, accurate, and reliable information, resources, and direction.

How will Philadelphia recover?

In a word: together. Philadelphia is a globally connected city, but it's also a city with a uniquely small-town feel. We aren't afraid of a challenge, and we're united in preserving the City we call home. Whether it's large corporations, the local dry cleaners, or the neighborhood deli, every business is working to survive and once again thrive, and they rely on each other in ways both big and small. Sharing information and coordinating resources is critical to the economic vitality of Philadelphia. 

When will it be safe?

As more and more people receive vaccinations, the safer it becomes for people to return to offices, restaurants, and large gathering spaces.  As we begin to imagine a post-pandemic reality, we need to set ourselves up for success, and the time for preparation and coordination is now.

How long will it take to get Philadelphia back up and running?

That depends. People and businesses must understand our role and importance in working together to shape the City’s culture, economy, and future. The pandemic affected everyone, and it will take coordinated collaboration with every individual and every sector to safely return and reset the City for success. The shutdown was overnight, but the re-boot will be gradual. Progress will be measured incrementally in milestone moments and data – things like increases in office and hotel capacity, vaccination tallies, sales and commerce statistics, and traffic. This is the moment to set ourselves up for success, and the time for preparation and coordination is now.

Can Philadelphia ever go back to the way it was?

A lot has happened in a year. We’ve all experienced and been affected by change. We’ve all been forced to learn, listen and communicate in new and different ways. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can come back better. Philadelphia is a City of people who have always worked together to create a future of exciting possibilities and progress. It’s time to look forward, work together, and move toward future success. We have experienced incredible challenges, but we have also witnessed incredible innovation during the pandemic – from new ways of working to new ways of dining. Now is the time to focus on bringing Philadelphia back and positioning us to attract and expand business.

Are we ready for everyone to go back to the office? 

We need to start planning and preparing now, and that’s what Ready.Set.Philly! is all about. This is a continually evolving, complex situation with no one-size-fits-all back to office solution. There have always been different approaches to how and where we work, and the future of work and workers is fluid. Rather than work separately, we can work together as a community to share, collaborate, and get back to the vibrant City we love.

What’s the bottom line?

Throughout the pandemic essential workers like bus drivers, servers, hotel front desk agents, building maintenance crews and security guards have been keeping the lights on while most of us work from our homes. Staying home means these essential workers may have fewer work hours, that the number of open jobs has declined, and that there is less money fueling our economy. But, mostly importantly it means, that we the people, the vibrancy of the City, are missing from Philadelphia.


It’s time to get ready and get excited about coming back to Philadelphia. Our future, and the City’s future, depends on it.


Angela Val

Executive Director

Michelle Histand

Deputy Executive Director

Ready Set Philly! Advisory Council

Ready.Set.Philly! has the support of leaders across the community. Thank you to our advisory council members, who provide oversight and lend their significant expertise and experience to the project.

Bill Hankowsky


Sue Jacobson

Co-chair, President
Jacobson Strategic Communications & Chair, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Michael Rashid

Co-Chair, Commerce Director
City of Philadelphia

Ryan Boyer

Business Manager
Laborers District Council of Philadelphia

Karen Buchholz

Executive Vice President of Administration

Marc Coleman

President & CEO
The Tactile Group

Greg Deavens

President and Chief Executive Officer
Independence Health Group

Nick DeBenedictis

Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

Allan Domb

Councilmember At-Large
Philadelphia City Council

Michael Forman

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
FS Investments

Chris Franklin

Chairman & CEO
Essential Utilities

Dan Hilferty

Former President & CEO
Independence Blue Cross

Meryl Levitz

Co-Founder and Former President & CEO
Visit Philadelphia

Paul Levy

President & CEO
Center City District

Pedro Ramos

President & CEO
Philadelphia Foundation

Rakia Reynolds

Founder & CEO
Skai Blue Media

Leslie Richards

General Manager

Manny Stamatakis

Visit Philadelphia

Rob Wonderling

President and CEO
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Jerry Sweeney

President & CEO and Trustee
Brandywine Realty Trust

Funders & Supporters