Posted August 26, 2021

Temple alumna Chelsey Lowe influences Black lives in Philadelphia and beyond

In her most recent project, Lowe combined her passion for supporting diverse businesses and facilitating social change by creating a challenge focused on millennial health.

Image of Temple alumna Chelsey Lowe
Photography By: 
Courtesy of Chelsey Lowe
With years of social enterprise experience, Chelsey Lowe is dedicated to supporting Black businesses.

Chelsey Lowe, CLA ’14, has always been passionate about improving Black lives and supporting Black businesses and communities. Now, she applies her passion for equitable development with her political science knowledge and is a champion for Black lives, mental health and social change around the world.

Finding her Passion

Originally from Pittsburgh, Lowe grew up in a space where education and community engagement were a priority. After watching her family address social issues present in the community, she decided to get involved herself and worked with her sister, a principal at one of the schools in the area. 

“My first job was working with my sister at the after school programs and summer camps she developed, and I was able to see a lot of the social issues within the city, especially with Black people in Pittsburgh through the eyes of children,” said Lowe. 

With the work she had done with her sister in mind, Lowe enrolled in an AP Government class at her high school, where she learned about block grants that give money back to communities like the ones with which she worked. From there, she knew she wanted to pursue a degree in political science so she could learn more about how to use government funding to make change. She just needed to figure out where.

When Lowe visited Temple University, she said stepping onto campus was like “going from a world of black and white to living in color.” 

“Being someone who has a love for cities, it only made sense for me to go to a school that was so embedded and enmeshed into the city,” said Lowe. “Temple had a tagline around ‘the city is your campus,’ and I really felt that here.”

Lowe double majored in political science and geography and urban studies and solidified her career path. Through these degree programs, she was able to focus on her interest in globalization and learn about various business and social issues on an international level. After graduating, she took her invigorated passion and new knowledge and jumped into projects that supported Black communities and businesses—ready to make a change. 

Social Change Maker

Lowe’s first roles out of college were fellowships that focused on social entrepreneurship, pairing her desire for social change with the resources from corporations to make it happen. Since then, she has landed social project and community partnership-oriented roles for organizations like Project HOME, Social Enterprise Alliance of Chicago, The Enterprise Center and Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics. She was also involved in an organization called Black Women Talk Tech, a global network for Black women tech founders. There, she helped expand the program’s chapters across nine different U.S. cities and established a chapter overseas in London—leveraging her globalization knowledge. 

“These organizations taught me how I can use my skill set to support them in the work that these businesses are doing, and especially with local Black-owned businesses,” said Lowe. “We saw that there was a need for access to capital and contracts, getting Black businesses to the table to do business deals and funding them so that they could stay at the table and complete the work that they’re well prepared to do.”

In her most recent project, the Well City Challenge, she was able to combine her affinity for supporting diverse businesses with another important aspect in her life—mental health. 

During her time at Temple, Lowe was a peer educator in the Wellness Resource Center, where she led and participated in open conversations about mental, physical, emotional and sexual health within diverse communities. Her experiences as a peer educator sparked an interest in mental health and provided her with skills she used in the execution of the Well City Challenge. 

A joint effort between the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and Independence Blue Cross, the Well City Challenge was a social impact challenge to engage and support social entrepreneurs who are tackling issues relating to physical and mental health for millennials. Throughout the duration of the project, Lowe and her team created a space for open dialogue surrounding community solutions for millennial health and mental health issues through virtual workshops, mentorship and a pitch competition. The team supported these ideas with over $50,000 in prizes and an additional $50,000 in seed investments to the winner of the challenge, ‘Hey, Auntie!

“The most fulfilling part of this project was the collaboration. We were able to collaborate with a ton of stakeholders across a number of organizations, but also got to brainstorm and work together internally,” said Lowe. “It was powerful to have so many different people coming together for such an important cause.” 

After her involvement in the Well City Challenge, Lowe hopes to continue working on projects surrounding Black businesses and Black mental health initiatives on a global scale. “With the normalization of remote work, I’m excited and open to new projects where I’m able to work with Black businesses and continue to work in this Black mental health space globally,” she said.

Visit Lowe’s website to stay up-to-date on her latest projects and endeavors. 

—Kierstyn Smith