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The heart of Better Tomorrows' work began in 1989 when an affordable housing owner and developer Mike Levitt invested in a new approach to property management for low-income communities.
Levitt saw an opportunity to rethink traditional affordable housing management when working with housing manager Jackie Jones. Jones, who had an extensive background in Human Services before entering the property management field, realized that affordable housing communities provided an excellent platform for delivering impact-driven programs and services to vulnerable families, youth, and seniors with few resources available to them. With Mike Levitt’s support, Jackie used her knowledge of social services combined with her management work to build a supportive community that fostered resident empowerment. At the heart of her approach, she believed the affordable housing community must go “beyond the bricks and mortar,” and be resident-focused. Jones identified areas of needed improvement within the community and mapped those needs against local resources and service provision partners. From local police departments to youth development organizations, she built partnerships across a spectrum of human services. These critical partnerships had an immediate impact on the community as was evidenced by a notable decrease in violence and an increase in residents finding meaningful, sustainable employment.
Encouraged by Jones' success at this community, Mike Levitt named her the founding director of his newly formed Social Services Department, and together they replicated this success at properties throughout Mike’s real estate portfolio. He was committed to making Jones' social services philosophy a standard for his properties. His commitment meant dedicating significant resources to the national expansion of individual resident case management and uniquely designed community programming. As the department grew, programming advanced to include vocational and computer training. Corporate partnerships and organizational liaisons were established to advance the department’s vision. Some more notable partners included Temple University, PNC Bank, UPS, and many local businesses.
With aspirations of continuing the legacy of Jackie Jones and Mike Levitt, Better Tomorrows became an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit in February 2013. The multi-service organization now supports over 40,000 low-income youth, adults, and seniors in 121 affordable housing communities across the country.
Better Tomorrows remains committed to providing affordable housing residents with the resources to facilitate strong communities, healthy lifestyles, economic stability and educational success.