The United Minds of the Future (UMF) is a non-profit group based in Nicetown. It does not have a formal facility but operate out of the H.E.R.O. Community Center, located at 3439 N. 17th St. The organization was originally known as the Young Minds of the Future but formally changed its name about five years ago.
The group has worked to educate the next generation through creativity and socially conscious volunteer work. UMF directly cited the lack of the arts in the community as one reason for neighborhood’s social and criminal problems. According to its mission statement, UMF hoped that “exposing the next generation to another avenue of education through our arts and entertainment program will play a major part in molding the youth’s visions, and decisions molding a multicultural wave of entrepreneurs.”
Founder and president of UMF Miranda Pridgen, who spent a lot of her teen years at the H.E.R.O Community Center, said that she created UMF to foster independent, creative business thinking that will ultimately help bring cash flow back into the neighborhood.
“We want to use arts and entertainment to reach entire families, kids and parents. But we’re also trying to expose that next generation to the arts to keep their vision about the future open,” said Pridgen.
UMF currently has 11 staff members, but the group hopes to grow to 30 in the next year. Though it was founded in Nicetown, Pridgen has planned to take her program across Philadelphia.
“I want to help out my neighborhood, but I want to take it across Philly. Maybe even Pennsylvania, who knows?” said Prigen.