We’re Wilmington Renaissance Corporation: the Big Ideas people
Our mission is to breathe life into Wilmington.
WRC was founded in 1993 as Wilmington 2000, a public-private partnership between The Office of the Mayor and the corporate community. We’re privately funded, nonprofit and nonpartisan. We breathe life into downtown Wilmington, cutting through red tape and loosening logjams to bring Big Ideas to Life.
We direct our energies toward stimulating the city’s economy, attracting new residents and fostering ideas that enrich our culture. We enthusiastically support the city’s diverse attractions and history, as well as its entertainment, lifestyle and development offerings.
Creative Chat Series
WRC’s Creative Chat is an informal, interactive series held six times a year to update our community about the vision plan for a Creative District. Each event starts with a networking opportunity followed by a presentation by an expert in the creative or maker field. Creative Chats are free and open to the public.Learn more
2013 A Year in Review
Thanks to our Big Ideas strategy, 2013 saw the birth of exciting new projects for Wilmington Renaissance Corporation (WRC), our partners and the City of Wilmington.
As we continued to work diligently on revitalization projects, the city continued to see growth and progress with new businesses, new energy and increased sense of collaboration.
In recognition of our 20th anniversary, WRC launched a re-branding process to reinforce our identity and mission. Our new tagline, Bringing Big Ideas to Life, succinctly defines who we are and what we do.
In the past year, our board of directors, staff, working group volunteers and partners focused on numerous important issues. All of our efforts are devoted to finding, developing and implementing the kind of broad-ranging and groundbreaking ideas that will restore relevance and vitality to Wilmington.
The revitalization of a city is no small task; we cannot do it alone.
Together, we’ll continue to bring big ideas to life and help ensure a bright future for our city, full of energy, enthusiasm and vitality.
Sylvia S. Banks
Chair, Board of Directors
Carrie W. Gray
Why do we need Big Ideas?
20 years ago, Wilmington was a city with many challenges.
Where many had thrown up their hands and given up, we saw great opportunities. Revitalizing a city takes creativity, vision and BIG IDEAS. We’ve seen incredible progress and Wilmington’s renaissance is in full swing.
Revitalizing a city takes big ideas.
At Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, we’re the big ideas people. We bring big ideas to life. And we’re just getting started.
Mission and Vision
We are WRC.
Our job is to create, initiate and partner with others to help revitalize Wilmington. We’re visionaries. We’re doers.
We have a plan.
The mission of Wilmington Renaissance Corporation (WRC) is to develop and implement strategies that will increase the economic vitality of Downtown Wilmington, strengthen its role as a center of educational, cultural and social activity, and enhance its reputation as an exciting place to live and visit by marketing Wilmington’s unique history and character.
Creating. Initiating. Establishing.
Our two decades of successes have been made possible by partnering with public and private entities, community and business organizations and other nonprofits.
Vision for the Future
Throughout 2013 and beyond, we will continue to work with our partners to develop and implement big ideas that will help Wilmington reach its greatest potential.
Focused as always on our four core areas Education, Infrastructure, Culture and Quality of Life and infrastructure—and guided by the organization’s mission and goals as outlined in the strategic plan, the WRC staff and board are excited by the prospect of new initiatives for continued progress.
We draw constant inspiration from the dedication, enthusiasm and cooperation of individuals and organizations that collaborate with us to achieve these far-reaching goals. The future holds great promise for the City of Wilmington. We will continue to work together, combining our strengths, talents and resources, to accomplish great things.
We focus on four strategic areas:
Education BIG IDEAs are not duplicative of any K-12 educational initiatives already underway in Delaware (Vision 2015, etc.) and will expand or improve educational offerings and experiences in Wilmington.
Quality of life
Social BIG IDEAs focus on developing and expanding activities and assets around livability and events to increase the number of people who live in Wilmington and support the economic growth of the city.
Culture BIG IDEAS focus on developing and expanding cultural activities and assets to increase the number of people who visit Wilmington and support the economic growth of the
Infrastructure BIG IDEAS focus on developing or expanding ideas that simplify a problem, streamline a process or address housing issues and/or commercial real estate concerns.
Through the effectiveness of its partnerships and strategic planning, WRC has facilitated integral improvements in Downtown Wilmington.
WRC’s many successes have only been possible through strong partnerships and collaborations with public and private entities, community and business organizations and other nonprofits.
Big Ideas Strategy
Results: In March 2012, our board of directors reaffirmed WRC’s most important role—to create and implement Big Ideas for Wilmington.
The board started a process to bring together thought partners throughout the city, which resulted in four meetings in February 2013 centered on WRC’s four core focus areas: Education, Infrastructure, Culture and Quality of Life.
In each meeting, groups shared Big Ideas with one another and voted on the top five ideas. WRC staff then researched these ideas and presented them to the WRC Board Executive Committee in early April. At the Annual Meeting in April, we held a Big Ideas brainstorming session with all attendees
The next month, we held follow-up sessions with the Big Ideas groups to consider these additional ideas, plus the staff research. We determined which proposals we would pass onto the entire WRC board for consideration at the June 7 board retreat. These proposals also included ideas that people submitted online via our new website.
It was then determined that the final ideas that WRC would focus on would be:
1) Education Think Tank: expand or improve educational offerings and experiences in Wilmington that are not duplicative of any K-12 educational initiatives already underway in Delaware.
2) Experience Wilmington: focus on livability and expanding activities and assets that increase the number of people who live in Wilmington and support the economic growth of the city.
3) Economic Plan for the Arts: focus on developing and expanding cultural activities and assets to increase the number of people who visit Wilmington and support the economic growth of the city.
Goal: Wilmington’s Creative District is the city’s Creative Center focused on both Creative Production and Consumption, where local creative entrepreneurs (artists, musicians, designers, makers, manufacturers) and residents thrive and locally designed goods and original works are made and sold.
Over the last three years, WRC has been working with our partners (City of Wilmington, Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, Christina Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington Housing Partnership, Quaker Hill Neighborhood Association, United Way of Delaware and others) to develop a Creative District in the Downtown/Quaker Hill/West Center City neighborhood.
This creative district will support downtown revitalization by leveraging the high concentration of arts organizations and millions of dollars of investment along Market Street to provide an enhanced sense of place in the area immediately adjacent to downtown. The vision is a community of artist-owned properties with living spaces above galleries, studios and performance spaces. It will include beautification and artistic projects to engage the current residents and community members.
Modeled after Paducah, KY’s renowned artist relocation program, Wilmington’s Creative District will have a major impact on the whole city. Building on vacant lots and land, the Creative District will create homeownership opportunities for artists in an area with greater than 80% rental rates, thereby helping to stabilize a highly transient neighborhood. Creative District will also complement artist initiatives described in neighborhood-based strategic plans, which call for artist housing, artist-related business development and arts-related programming. Lastly, the program will target artists (and their families) who qualify as low- or moderate-income, providing ownership and entrepreneurial opportunities that might otherwise not exist for them.
WRC engaged urban planning firm Interface Studio to work with a steering committee of volunteers to develop a vision plan for the creative district, which is bounded by 4th, 9th, Market and Washington streets. The artist live/work component will complement the live/work rental program for artists nearby at Shipley Lofts.
The Creative District’s Steering Committee has brought in additional community partners to create an implementation plan that will include outcomes in each of the following areas: Organization, Community Engagement, Programming, Real Estate and Marketing. To learn more about the Creative District Steering Committee, or to get involved please contact us.
The INbassadors are volunteers from Wilmington’s business and nonprofit communities who have formed a social network to promote the City of Wilmington and all it has to offer. They meet eight times a year and different locations in the City.
Building on the previous year’s momentum, WRC recruited a dozen new members to the INbassadors, a group now boasting more than 60 volunteers from Wilmington’s business and nonprofit communities who have formed a social network to promote the city and all it has to offer.
As ambassadors of the city’s IN campaign, this energetic group is committed to finding new ways to coordinate promotional efforts and enhance the already vibrant social scene in Wilmington. WRC continues to partner with the IN Show, a fun, interactive preview of the hottest happenings in Wilmington that allows attendees to win tickets to upcoming events and gift cards for restaurants.
The INbassadors meetings are held at a different Wilmington restaurant or location every month. As a member, you will be treated to one complimentary beverage. You will also receive a variety of special discounts as well as complimentary tickets to different events, concerts, restaurants and retails shops.
2014 INBassadors Meeting & In-Show Schedule:
Feb 6IN SHOW (SPRING EDITION)CHELSEA TAVERN6:30PM: DOORS
Mar 24MEETINGWILMINGTON LIBRARY5:30PM
May 1IN SHOW (SUMMER EDITION)CHELSEA TAVERN6:30PM: DOORS
Jun 16MEETINGWORLD CAFE LIVE5:30PM
Jul 21MEETINGGRAND OPERA HOUSE5:30PM
Aug 20ANNUAL WINE CRUISEDRAVO PLAZA5:15PM
Sep 10IN SHOW (FALL EDITION)CHELSEA TAVERN6:30PM: DOORS
Oct 20MEETINGHARLAN FLATS5:30PM
Nov 12IN SHOW (HOLIDAY EDITION)CHELSEA TAVERN6:30PM: DOORS
Dec 15ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTYVERITAS WINE & BEER5:30PM
How do I become a member?
If you are interested in becoming an INbassador and coming to the table with ideas as well as a willingness to spread the word through your network, contact us.
The best way to get up-to-date info is the INbassadors Facebook page.
Director of Development & Communications
Wilmington Renaissance Corporation
Community Service Building:
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 206
Wilmington, DE 19801
Staff & Board
Wilmington Renaissance Corporation
Community Service Building
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 206
Wilmington, DE 19801
Become a member!
Wilmington Renaissance Corporation (WRC) seeks board members representing companies located or doing business in or adjacent to the City of Wilmington.Download Member Benefits Overview
Managing Director & Secretary
Members at Large
Focus: Partnering with city departments and other organizations focused on the success of the City of Wilmington
City of Wilmington
Visit the official City of Wilmington website for information about city departments, press releases, business information, City Council and more.
Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau
Wilmington and the surrounding area is home to Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, Hagley Museum, Longwood Gardens, Brandywine River Museum, Delaware Art Museum, Nemours Mansion and Gardens and other world-class attractions.
Delaware Arts Alliance
Delaware Arts Alliance (DAA) serves as a dynamic advocate for arts and culture throughout the state, asserting the importance of the arts in the development of the livable communities, vibrant economies, and creative citizens.
Riverfront Development Corporation
The Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) is focused on creating economic vitality along the Brandywine and Christiana rivers, while enhancing the environment, encouraging historic preservation, and promoting public access.
Downtown Visions is the clean and safe management company for the Wilmington Downtown Business Improvement District (WDBID).
Check out the “in” site for all the details on arts and cultural happenings, dining, and parking in Wilmington.
United Way of Delaware
United Way of Delaware’s mission is to maximize the community’s resources to improve the quality of life for all Delawareans.
Interfaith Community Housing
Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware builds, rehabilitates, and owns or manages 380 housing units plus land and is the largest statewide nonprofit community housing organization in Delaware.
Christina Cultural Arts Center
CCAC is a premier community school of the arts with a mission to make affordable arts education and multicultural programs accessible to children, teens and adults in a family environment.