PHILADELPHIA The president and CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia, Patricia A. Coulter, is stepping down in June after 13 years, a tenure in which she raised the organization's profile and oversaw the move of its headquarters from North Philadelphia to Center City.
Coulter, who said she was leaving to be closer to her family, said Wednesday that she would serve through the end of 2014 as a consultant for the Philadelphia chapter of the national organization, founded in 1910 to promote civil rights and economic empowerment among African Americans. She said a successor had not been selected.
Among her accomplishments, said Coulter, 67, was hosting the National Urban League conference at the Convention Center in July, raising the visibility of the Philadelphia chapter, and increasing its capacity to serve more people.
Under her leadership, the Urban League moved its headquarters from Second Street and Girard Avenue to 18th and Market Streets in 2004, and to Broad and Sansom Streets in 2008.
She said moving the headquarters brought the organization closer to the business community and gave more people from around the region access to its services.
In 2005, she said, the organization launched a career center that provides employment services.
"We have been able to open our career center right here at South Broad Street," Coulter said. "We service hundreds of people per year through that.
"Our emphasis on jobs and economic development has really strengthened our programs. We have been able to build the capacity to empower people. The jobs piece has really been a strong part of our ongoing work."
The group opened the Urban League Entrepreneurship Center in 2009, she said.
"That now has pushed us outward from just placing people in jobs and promoting jobs to now promoting wealth in communities through business ownership," Coulter said.
The center now works with more than 1,000 small businesses, she said.
"We've grown the mantra of the Urban League, where people think of jobs, jobs, jobs, to now include business ownership because that is how we build capital in our communities and begin to see economic growth of our neighborhoods."
Before taking over the Urban League, Coulter worked as an executive search specialist for the Salveson Stetson Group in Radnor. She previously worked in human resources at Lee Hecht Harrison, a Philadelphia-based career and talent management firm.
She was raised in Cleveland but moved to Philadelphia in the early 1980s.
"One of the reasons I am leaving is to reconnect with my family. I have been gone for a long, long time," she said.
Coulter, a single parent, said she planned to move to Los Angeles to be near her son.