Donna J. Carney is the founding Director of the Philadelphia Citizens Planning Institute, the education and outreach arm of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. She brings to this role years of project management and design experience as an architect specializing in historic preservation and sustainable design. Her goal is to guide the development of educational tools to empower communities of people within Philadelphia to learn, grow, and improve the quality of their neighborhoods.
Donna is inspired to meet so many life-long learners who love where they live all across Philadelphia! She is a strategy designer and facilitator, aiming to engage all community stakeholders in creating a shared vision. She has developed educational and interpretive materials for municipalities (downtown façade programs), arts & historical non-profits and the National Park Service.
Donna is a graduate of Fielding University’s Organization Management & Development program (MA), Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (MS Historic Preservation), New Jersey Institute of Technology College of Architecture & Design (MArch) and Iowa State University's College of Design (BA). She is a Certified Charrette Planner (National Charrette Institute, 2006) and a registered architect in the state of Pennsylvania. She was recognized by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) with its 2014 “Planning Leadership Award for Professional Planner”. Her position as Director became institutionalized within the City Planning Commission in 2015.
Ariel Diliberto comes to Citizens Planning Institute after four years of working in community development here in Philadelphia. A graduate of CPI herself (Spring 2012), Ariel is excited to contribute to CPI’s goal of teaching Philadelphia residents the tools to take a more effective and active role in shaping the future of their neighborhoods and of the City. She brings with her extensive experience in community outreach, project management, and neighborhood planning.
Before becoming the CPI Program Associate, Ariel was the Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) Manager at People’s Emergency Center CDC in West Philadelphia. There, she built the NAC program for PECCDC, setting up satellite offices throughout their service area to better reach neighborhood residents, forming a volunteer elected advisory committee, and conducting quarterly events that benefit the community—including a 311 Neighborhood Liaison training, a cleaning and greening resource event, and an all-day event on all things housing. She also co-chaired the Promise Zone Housing Committee and helped spearhead a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design project at 41st & Lancaster that has leveraged over $15,000 in funding to date and recently received a Community Design Collaborative grant for conceptual streetscape design. She also made referrals to neighborhood residents to beneficial programs and resources, specializing in the topics of home repair assistance, property tax relief, and buying a home. In 2014 alone she made 3,247 referrals for 820 different residents.
Prior to her role at PECCDC, Ariel worked at New Kensington CDC as the Block Programs Coordinator, where she focused on zoning, sustainability, contributing to the neighborhood plan for north of Lehigh Avenue, and managing a residential façade improvement matching grant.
Ariel received a B.A. in Urban Studies & Ecology from Vassar College in 2011.
Matt is spending a year with CPI as an Americorps VISTA in order to develop planning education outreach curriculum for the North Central Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant, a greater effort to reconstruct and improve the neighborhood around the Norris Homes affordable housing complex in North Philadelphia. He is excited to leverage his passionate urbanism and his experience working with local residents in Philadelphia to help people harness the power of urban planning to help their own communities thrive and grow!
Before joining CPI, Matt previously ran tutoring and after-school programs to support the children at Woodrow Wilson School in the diverse Castor Gardens section of Northeast Philadelphia as a City Year Corps Member. While there, he gained an appreciation for the power of young people and other overlooked community members to be catalysts for change in their communities, facilitating student-led after school clubs that allowed students to grow their leadership skills while carving out a place at Wilson for the students to express and pursue their passions.
Matt recieved a B.A. in Growth & Structure of Cities from Haverford College in 2014.