OpenAccessPhilly is a movement of civic-minded, innovative, entrepreneurial types who convene monthly to share projects and passion. Check out our website for more info:

OAP Goals

  • Convene those working at the intersection of tech, innovation, entrepreneurship & civic participation
  • Articulate a shared vision
  • Excuse for leaving work early on a Friday

OAP 4 Pillars

  • Free flow of info - open data/open video
  • Participatory urbanism/engagement
  • Access/digital divide
  • Support the regional tech/startup ecosystem


Support projects, programs & people in these areas

Civic Fusion

Civic fusion occurs when initiatives in the civic space are seamless, successful, and sustainable

Discovery & Matchmaking

Getting people out of their vertical and horizontal! Lowering barriers to participation

Different locations — fun!

Project Activity

Update #21

Over the next few months we'll be gathering "impact stories" from OpenAccessPHL speakers and attendees. To highlight the matchmaking and discovery that OAP facilitates, we are interviewing individuals and organizations to find out how OAP helped them and their mission. Please contact us if you would like to share your story

These impact stories will feed into our April convening that will be part of Philly Tech Week. More to come soon!

Update #20

One improvement we're working on is the way our upcoming convening is displayed on the home page. Currently it is an RSS feed from Eventbrite. The RSS feed uses the CDATA tag to retain HTML tags but when Wordpress interprets the RSS feed it strips all HTML tags.

My current thought is to publish Eventbrite to Google Calendar then add a Google Calendar widget in the Wordpress sidebar since they have better integration than Eventbrite. It's strange to me that the Eventbrite RSS feed has all of the event details in one block called <description>. If all they have are events then why doesn't their RSS feed have tags for <date>, <time>, <location>?

Update #19

Some minor updates to the website - linking the values on the [About]( "OpenAccessPHL: About") page to posts related to the values and making links [look like buttons]( "OpenAccessPHL: Suggest a Speaker") with some simple CSS (border radius and padding).

There are many other changes both big and small that are in the works… shifting elements on the home page, activating links in emails, converting blog posts about events to a calendar. Stay tuned!

Update #18

Invigorated by our monthly convening last week, Stacey and I looked at the data and made a plan for what to work on next.

  1. We fixed the broken link in the email. WYSISYG editor fail: the anchor tag in the email template was improperly nested. So we cleaned up the wording, formatting, and now you can actually click on the story title to go read about it! Plans are in place to analyze and improve the email format.

  2. User list import: we use Eventbrite for RSVPs, Wordpress for the site, and AWeber for our email list. But signing up for one does not mean you are automatically signed up for all. Stacey cross-referenced the lists and we added 378 new users from Eventbrite to our email list. The list that escapes us at the moment is how to get our +2k Twitter followers to get our email or show up to our convenings.

  3. Future plans: There is always work to be done on a website so we picked two things. Make the events page a calendar and make the next convening more prominent on the website. Time for our designers to help with the header image!

Suggestions and comments are always welcome so feel free to contact us info @

Update #17

Nothing earth shattering today, just decided to use the analytics plugin that has +5 million downloads and mostly 5-star ratings: Google Analytics for Wordpress ( Now go visit the site so we can have some analytics to play with!

Update #16

Welcome Stacey Mosley, our newest co-organizer! We dove into the data around OpenAccessPHL - website, emails, social media - and developed a plan to increase our user engagement over the next few months. Most importantly, we are figuring out ways to track our progress going forward. OpenAccessPHL is about community engagement in civic innovation so tell us what you want to hear about.

Update #15

Now that posts have been successfully publishing to the website via email for one solid month, it's time to add two more variables: synchronizing website posts to facebook and twitter. Simple, right?

After 3hrs of unsuccessful testing configurations in wordpress plugins for facebook and twitter, I finally took a suggestion to use If This Then That ( I followed instructions for both facebook and twitter plugins and authorization was not established for either one. I feel defeated by what should be a simple OAuth linkage with an API token but the effectiveness of IFTTT is very appealing after hours of frustration.

Update #14

We have a new member! Welcome Ashley Chapokas, front end developer. She's going to work with our designers to make the site prettier and better. I spent the night setting up a proper WordPress development environment on our server. Philly: Who built OpenAccessPHL’s new website

The group’s old website hadn’t been updated much since its launch in 2011. When Sarah Johnson heard that at an OpenAccessPHL meeting, she offered to help. Johnson, a Girl Develop It teacher, has been building the website at the weekly Code for Philly meetups along with Nnena Odim and Karin Brown, whom she teamed up with at during a Girl Develop It/Code for Philly joint meetup.

Read the full article on…Published

Update #13

Launch!!! The site is live and ready for Philly Tech Week. I still need to figure out a better way to deploy from a test to live site in Wordpress but it worked and worked in time for Technically Philly to publish their article about it.

Next up: phase 2! Adding features to the site (user registration and posting capability), refining the style, improving the test/deploy process.

Update #12

Content is nearly complete, design is finished for the time being, it looks like a real website! The website is integrated with AWeber so users can sign up to receive an email when an article is posted. Postie (WordPress plugin) is used to receive posts by email which are saved as drafts then published when approved. All we need now is some users to share their civic-minded content! We throw the switch over the weekend

Update #11

Almost ready for launch! Well the look/feel is anyway. Nnena provided and refined logo files today and we got so far as adjusting space between lines of text. What's left is implementing a content strategy and importing archived content from Basecamp. Launch day: April 7th!

Join us:

Update #11

Adding the AWeber piece to our puzzle, using their form plugin on wordpress and generating email content with their Blog Broadcast tool. This will allow users to subscribe to receive updates as well as post their own content to the OAP blog. Besides that, continue to tweak the style and layout and we're ready for launch during Philly Tech Week!

Update #10

Lots of good things are happening with the Open Access Philly website/rebranding effort! A logo is nearly finalized, a brand guideline is in place, and Sarah is working on translating the brand guide into CSS. We are all working hard toward the unveiling of the new look for Philly Tech Week.

Update #9

Hello everybody,

Update for this week from Code for Philly! So Sarah, Nnena, Yuriy and I talked and we have looked over the website. So far Sarah has been making things look terrific. During CFP we will be working on mockups of what the website looks like in both black and white so we can think about which would be a better look and will be brainstorming on what type of font and font color would be good as well.

Here's a update:

Things to remove: *Search bar from footer *Remove highlighting on "new convening" bar

On footer, get everyone onto one line Make sure the highlight color for the website is not the same as the word color.

Everybody have a good week.

Update #8

We used the convenience of the last OAP convening to gather some keywords and abstract ideas from OAP leaders about the logo and design of the site. Nnena got some great feedback to take to the drawing board. I finally understand child themes in Wordpress and am ready to make some change at the next CfP night.

Update #7

OAP website team met virtually today and went over status and updates… still much focus on content and its organization. Thanks to all the volunteers that are supporting this project, your help is very appreciated!!

Update #6

Today’s CfP is at the amazing new City Coho Nexus Philly coworking facility @co_nexus We did a bit of planning both with the in person team, thanks Karin! and with celebrity call in ( thanks Jeff ! ) and talked layout, content and some font and design elements. We’re making good progress and are confident we’ll hit our self imposed schedule!

Update #5

Snow has foiled many plans recently, including the last CfP gathering. We're still developing a logo but might have decided on colors for the site. The next steps are wireframing and assigning colors to elements of the site. In the meantime, I brushed up on my javascript skills and embedded Eventbrite in the current site for easier updates.

Update #4

A lot of talking ensued last night but not a lot of typing. It's a collaborative effort so I suppose that is to be expected at times. Efforts were focused on fine-tuning an updated logo (yet to be confirmed) and reviewing the content of slides for an "Intro to PHL Tech" workshop which will serve as a starting point for the content of the Open Access Philly website.

Update #3

Designers, developer and content expert were finally all at the same CfP gathering this past Thursday. We sat down and brainstormed general design principles for Open Access Philly (OAP) to guide our plans going forward. The consensus was that OAP should have a minimally designed site that highlights the content, making it easy for anyone to read and understand, a truly open forum for civic-minded Philadelphians.

We have a test site to play with using Bootstrap Ultimate.

Our next steps are: 1. Update the current website with the old design to contain current information. 2. Create dummy blog posts to better understand the chosen Wordpress theme. 3. Enable widgets in Wordpress. 4. Choose color schemes. 5. Work on logo designs.

Update #2

On January 14th 2014 We spent time on understanding the history and mission of Open Access Philly so that the design and front end folks that joined the team would have a deep understanding of the context of OAP as they're developing their plans for the update of the site's design and layout. We also framed out the schedule and are targeting April 7th 2014 for the launch of the new site during PTW 2014.

Update #1

Made great progress in organizing and planning and team building at last night's ( January 7th 2014 ) co-meetup with GDI Philly.

Kevin helped Sarah with some great Wordpress mentoring on how to port over things from server to server and more….

Got some great design talent recruited with the help of the GDI crew in getting Nnena to join the project!