SoBRO was founded in 1972 by a group of business executives and community leaders. Our mission was urgent: reverse the flight of businesses and jobs from the South Bronx. It was the first and most fundamental step toward rebuilding a community whose name evoked images of burned out buildings, crime, poverty, and drugs. But as SoBRO began to evolve, it became clearer that community revitalization required a multi-faceted effort.
Today we address all aspects of community development: assisting businesses to get started and grow, training residents according to the needs of employers, offering opportunities for youth to learn and develop, and creating affordable housing and commercial space that reverses blight in the community.
Since our founding in 1972, SoBRO has served over 20,000 students, helped to create and retain more than 40,000 jobs for area residents, and created the climate for hundreds of million dollars of capital investment into the South Bronx. Our success is exemplified by the following awards:
- 2015 “Competition THRIVE Award”, New York City Department of Small Business Services
- 2014 “Community HERO Award”, News Corp.
- 2013 “Healthy High-Rise Award”, American Lung Association
- 2012 “Big Apple Brownfield Award in Affordable Housing”, New York City Brownfields Partnership
- 2011 “Employer Partnership Award”, New York City Employment and Training Coalition
- 2008 “Serving Youth Award”, New York City Employment and Training Coalition
- 2004 “Small Business Not-for-Profit of the Year Award”, New York State
- 2003 “PepNET Award” for the SoBRO Youth Center, United States Department Of Labor
- 2002 “Community Police Partnership Award”, Met Life Foundation
- 2001 “Lucy G. Moses Historic Preservation Award”, New York Landmarks Conservancy
- 2000 “Barbara Wolff Award for Excellence”, New York City Department of Small Business Services
Phillip Morrow, President/CEO.
Phillip Morrow joined SoBRO in January 1996. Mr. Morrow has over 20 years of experience in housing and community development. From 1982-1995, Mr. Morrow was responsible for all of the Harlem Urban Development Corporation’s housing and economic development projects. He has personally supervised the construction/rehabilitation of over 5,000 units of housing and undertaken several major community economic development initiatives including the renovation of the historic Apollo Theater and construction of an incubator retail facility on 125th Street in Harlem.
Johanna DeJesus, Senior Vice President of Education & Career Development.
Johanna DeJesus comes to SoBRO as a Bronx native, a product of the New York City public school system, public housing, and a former teen mom. Ms. DeJesus has over 15 years of managerial and direct-service experience, having built exemplary youth, young adult, and family programs for underserved communities throughout New York City. She received a B.A. from the College of New Rochelle, and has an M.A. in Human Services Leadership from St. Joseph’s College. In addition, Ms. DeJesus is a graduate of the National Urban Fellows’ Leadership Development Program.
Nathaniel Montgomery, Senior Vice President of Real Estate Development
Nathaniel Montgomery leads the day to day activities of SoBRO’s Real Estate Development efforts as Senior Vice President. Mr. Montgomery is proficient in real estate finance and has significant experience in working with City, State, and Federal funding sources. His areas of expertise are in Conventional Financing, CDBG, HOME, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Mr. Montgomery holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Jackson State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College.