OAKLAND-INSPIRED PLAN TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE
Inspired by hearing from gun violence prevention expert David Muhammad in 2019, the newly-formed Civic Coalition to Save Lives — made up of 70 local patriots — engaged Muhammad, executive director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, to help them develop a plan to reduce gun violence in Philadelphia. The program launched in 2023.
AN ANTI-POVERTY MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
In 2021, Friends of the Children CEO Teri Sorenson spoke about the 12.5-year mentorship program that has helped guide children and their families out of poverty for the last two decades. That spurred local civic organizations to raise $1.8 million to launch Friends of the Children in Philly in 2024.
CELEBRATING ROLE MODELS OF INTEGRITY IN PUBLIC SERVICE
At the 2018 Festival, Cheri-Leigh Erasmus of Washington, D.C.-based Accountability Lab introduced Integrity Idol, a contest in countries around the world to find and celebrate the civil servants with the highest integrity. In 2020, The Philadelphia Citizen partnered with Accountability Lab to launch the first American campaign. So far, Philadelphia has named and celebrated 15 Integrity Icons.
LAUNCHING RICHMOND-BASED YOUTH BASKETBALL PROGRAM
At the 2019 Festival, Taylor Paul of Richmond-based RVA League for Safer Streets shared the success of their basketball league for young men from high-crime communities, keeping them out of prison and reducing gun violence. In 2020, Philadelphia Youth Basketball partnered with RVA League to launch I AM because WE ARE, to bring on-court and off-court coaching to Philadelphia. The second cohort was completed in April 2022.
BRINGING MEDICAL DEBT RELIEF TO PHILADELPHIANS
At the 2020 Festival, Jerry Ashton of NY-based nonprofit RIP Medical Debt shared their success in eliminating $2 billion in American medical debt. In 2021, through a Citizen-led campaign, over $80,000 was raised for RIP Medical Debt to focus relief efforts in Philadelphia. More than $6.1M in medical debt has been eradicated for 3,573 Philadelphians over the past two years.