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.

Save-the-Date:

Don’t miss these upcoming creative chats as well as our 2015 Annual Meeting.

April Creative Chat: Screening of "Maker" at WilmFilm Festival

Thursday, April 23, 6:45-8:45pm

Penn Cinema Riverfront, 401 S. Madison Street

FREE. WRC is presenting the Delaware premiere of “Maker,” a feature documentary that looks into the maker movement in America, in partnership with Barrel of Makers, Wilmington’s local maker group.

Learn more

WRC 2015 Annual Meeting

Tuesday, May 5, 7:30-10am

World Cafe Live at The Queen, 500 N. Market St.

$50 (includes a gourmet breakfast and free parking) WRC’s 9th Annual Meeting will update attendees on the continuing development in Downtown Wilmington, as well as focus on WRC’s core strategic project Wilmington’s Creative District. The 2015 Keynote Speaker is Ethan Kent, Senior Vice President at Project for Public Spaces in New York City, NY.

Learn more

June Creative Chat: Dream Streets

Wednesday, June 10, 5:30-7:30pm

Chris White Gallery, 701 N. Shipley St.

FREE. Delaware Art Museum Curator of Contemporary Art, Margaret Winslow, will discuss the DAM’s upcoming exhibit: “Dream Streets: Art in Wilmington 1970-1990.” The presentation will be followed by a moderated conversation between Michael Kalmbach, Executive Director, Creative Vision Factory and artist Rick Rothrock.

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.

We value our partner organizations and supportive funders, and the important relationships we have with Wilmington’s city administration, department leaders and city council.

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

Sylvia S. Banks
Chair, Board of Directors

Carrie W. Gray

Carrie W. Gray
Managing Director

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.

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

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.

Cultural

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

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.

Achievements

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.

Current Projects

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.

got big ideas

Creative District

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.

A vision for Wilmington's Creative District'

Download:

Full Plan (92 pages):

Executive Summary (36 pages):

INbassadors

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:

  • Date
    Event Type
    Location
    Time
  • Jan 27
    MEETING
    TOSCANA
    5:30PM
  • Feb 6
    IN SHOW (SPRING EDITION)
    CHELSEA TAVERN
    6:30PM: DOORS
    7PM: SHOW
  • Mar 24
    MEETING
    WILMINGTON LIBRARY
    5:30PM
  • Apr 21
    MEETING
    HERCULES
    5:30PM
  • May 1
    IN SHOW (SUMMER EDITION)
    CHELSEA TAVERN
    6:30PM: DOORS
    7PM: SHOW
  • Jun 16
    MEETING
    WORLD CAFE LIVE
    5:30PM
  • Jul 21
    MEETING
    GRAND OPERA HOUSE
    5:30PM
  • Aug 20
    ANNUAL WINE CRUISE
    DRAVO PLAZA
    5:15PM
  • Sep 10
    IN SHOW (FALL EDITION)
    CHELSEA TAVERN
    6:30PM: DOORS
    7PM: SHOW
  • Oct 20
    MEETING
    HARLAN FLATS
    5:30PM
  • Nov 12
    IN SHOW (HOLIDAY EDITION)
    CHELSEA TAVERN
    6:30PM: DOORS
    7PM: SHOW
  • Dec 15
    ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTY
    VERITAS WINE & BEER
    5:30PM
INBassadors

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.

Contact info:

Barb Bullock
Director of Development & Communications
Wilmington Renaissance Corporation
Community Service Building:
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 206
Wilmington, DE 19801
302-425-5500 x104

Staff & Board

Mailing Address:

Wilmington Renaissance Corporation
Community Service Building
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 206
Wilmington, DE 19801

Phone/Fax:

(O) 302-425-5500
(F) 302-425-2485

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

Staff

Carrie W. Gray
Managing Director
302-425-5500, ext. 101
E-mail Carrie
Contact Us
Carrie
Barb Bullock
Director of Development & Communication
302-425-5500 ext. 104
E-mail Barb
Contact Us
Barb
Laura Semmelroth
Creative District Strategist
302-425-5500, ext 108
E-mail Laura
Contact Us
Laura
Nivea Mercado
Administrative Assistant
302-425-5500, ext. 102
E-mail Nivea
Contact Us
Nivea

Board

Chair

Mr. Glenn Moore
Vice President
Delmarva Power

Vice Chairs

Mr. Christopher Buccini
Founding Partner
The Buccini/Pollin Group
Mr. Clint Walker
Managing Director
Barclays

Treasurer

Ms. Tracey A. Beberman
Operations Executive
JPMorgan Chase

Managing Director & Secretary

Ms. Carrie W. Gray
Managing Director
Wilmington Renaissance Corporation

Members at Large

Ms. Sylvia S. Banks
Manager, Government Affairs & Corporate Contributions
DuPont
Mr. Paul L. Bechly, CFA, CFP
First Vice President, Financial Advisor
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Mr. Richard B. Carroll, Esquire
Associate
Saul Ewing LLP
Mr. Neal F. Dangello, MCR
Partner
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
Mr. Jerry DuPhily
Publisher
TSN Media
Ms. Margaret (Peg) Eitl
Vice President, Sales & Client Management
Highmark Delaware
Mr. Michael Gallagher
Managing Partner
ab+c Creative Intelligence
Mr. Edward Garofalo
Managing Director
Citibank
Mr. Jed Hatfield
President
Colonial Parking, Inc.
Ms. H. Raye Jones-Avery
Executive Director
Christina Cultural Arts Center
Mr. Glenn Kocher
VP Loans & Risk Management
WSFS Bank
Mr. Trevor Koenig
Vice President
Bank of America
Mr. Anthony L. Manerchia, Sr.
Senior Vice President
The Bryn Mawr Trust Company
Ms. Kerry Meluskey
Vice President Commercial Relationship Manager
Fulton Bank, Delaware Division
Mr. Thomas W. Nason, II
Chief Executive Officer
Nason Construction, Inc.
Dr. Janice E. Nevin, M.D.
President & CEO
Christiana Care Health System
Mr. Derek Newton
General Manager
World Cafe Live at The Queen & Philadelphia
Ms. Reneé Roberts
Vice President
TD Bank USA, N.A.
Mr. Don Robitzer
Chief Operating Officer/Senior Vice President
The Commonwealth Group
Dr. Jack P. Varsalona
President
Wilmington University
Mr. Duane D. Werb, Esquire
Managing Partner
Werb & Sullivan

Ex-Officio

The Honorable Jeffrey W. Bullock
Secretary of State
State of Delaware
Mr. Cleon L. Cauley
Chief of Staff, Mayor’s Office
City of Wilmington
Mr. Jeff Flynn
Director, Office of Economic Development
City of Wilmington
The Honorable Theopalis Gregory
President
Wilmington City Council
Mr. Mark Kleinschmidt
President
New Castle County Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Timothy McLaughlin
Delaware Economic Development Office, Delaware Economic Development Office
State of Delaware
Mr. John Taylor
Senior Vice President
Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
The Honorable Dennis P. Williams
Mayor
City of Wilmington

Community Partners

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

Downtown Visions is the clean and safe management company for the Wilmington Downtown Business Improvement District (WDBID).

IN Wilmington

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.