Founded in 1998, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is a statewide alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to creating protecting healthy, walkable, and thriving communities that are great places to live and work. The organization is a nonpartisan, IRS-approved 501(c)(3) organization funded primarily through contributions from private foundations and individual donors.

From its main office in Harrisburg and satellite offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 10,000 Friends is an advocate, coalition builder, and technical expert for building and protecting great communities across Pennsylvania.

Since its inception, 10,000 Friends has built a record of success in strengthening Pennsylvania’s urban, suburban, and rural communities; encouraging efficient housing, transportation, infrastructure investments; and conserving our state’s rural, heritage, and natural resources.

Most recently, we played a leading role, working with the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, in successfully advocating for enactment of Act 89, a $2.3 billion state transportation investment bill. The Act established a new multimodal fund to support investments in non-highway modes of transportation, from transit projects to bike and pedestrian improvements. The fund supports projects that integrate local land use with transportation assets to enhance existing communities; make streetscape, lighting, sidewalks and pedestrian safety improvements; and spur transit-oriented development.

Imagine a better Pennsylvania.  At the core of our work that’s what we ask our clients and partners to do every day.  For nearly more than 18 years, 10,000 Friends has served as the leading voice for creating great communities, encouraging the responsible use of resources, and innovating new public policies to tackle the Commonwealth’s most difficult pressing problems.  

Our origins. In the late 1990’s, then Governor Tom Ridge, policy makers, environmental advocates, and the business community came to a common understanding regarding the need to preserve Pennsylvania’s natural assets and invest in our core communities.  The 21st Century Environment Commission had laid the groundwork for a new investment paradigm to take shape at the state and local level.  The recognition that land use decisions, improvements to the operation of local government, and efficient infrastructure investments are core responsibilities of state government led to their inclusion for the first time on the agenda of state policy makers.  The Commonwealth needed a new actor at the nexus of these interconnected issues. From that realization, 10,000 Friends was launched in 1998 in order to work with the multitude of interest groups and decision makers so that thoughtful and strategic recommendations could be developed for state and local leaders.  10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania remains hat organization and serves as the voice of this movement No other organization exists in the Commonwealth that serves at the crossroads of these issues and develops innovative public policy solutions to address them. 

Our track record. As advocates, we created changes to modernize Pennsylvania’s land use planning law.  These changes have led to the most significant advancement of municipal collaboration in the Commonwealth’s history. 

10,000 Friends advocacy for Acts 67 and 68 to amend the Municipality Planning Code (MPC) laid the groundwork for Multi-Municipal collaboration around the state.  As of 2008, 30 percent of the municipalities in the state have since engaged in a multi-municipal land use planning process.  While implementation of formal agreements and full compliance with the plans produced eludes many of these communities, without passage of Acts 67 and 68 many of these partnerships would never have been formed. 10,000 Friends advocacy in the early 2000’s resulted in the  

Passage of Growing Greener II environmental reclamation bond issue, voter approval of the Water and Sewer Bond Funding, and passage of the Uniform Construction Code (Rehab Code) that has reduced cost and red tape associated with reinvesting in older and historic buildings.

As educators, we collaborated with the internationally recognized Brookings Institution to produce and disseminate the publication Back to Prosperity (2003-2007). The document is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the connection between state and local investment decisions, land use and land consumption patterns, and their impact on Commonwealth’s economic well- being.  10,000 Friends also published “The Cost of Sprawl” (2000) which established an economic context for poor land use decisions and “Planning Beyond Boundaries” (2002), which laid the ground work for the discussions related to land use, intelligent investment, and the negative impacts of bad decision making.  Planning Beyond Boundaries continues to serve as the “go-to guide” for multi-municipal planning and implementation. Other significant research includes: “Plan Regionally, Implement Locally” (2008), “Water and Growth” (2007), and “Sewage Facilities and Land Development” (2007). More recently, we’ve collaborated with George Washington University and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis to study the economic impact and potential of walkable urban places in Pennsylvania’s top ten metropolitan areas to help guide state and local investment.

As developers of public policy, we’ve worked with PennDOT and regional transportation planning agencies to craft the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) which embodied the idea of building better communities by linking transportation investments with responsible land use decisions and strategic partnerships.  The basic policy concepts underlying the PCTI program live on now in the new Multi-Modal Fund created under Act 89, the Pennsylvania Transportation Bill, for which 10,000 Friends advocated and helped shape. Other key policy developments include: The adoption of a “Fix It First” project prioritization strategy by PennDOT, the creation of the Lancaster MPO-Community Transportation Program, the inclusion of smart growth principles in Act 44 and the State Transportation Funding and Reform Report, the creation of PennDOT‘s Smart Transportation Program, and the re-establishment of the State Planning Board.

10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) organization and is funded primarily through contributions from private foundations and individual donors.