The Citizen joined the Ertz Family Foundation and SeventySix Capital at the City Tap House in Center City on Thursday, July 21, for the first Time is Money Event. The goal of the gathering: show under-40 Philly professionals how to support charitable organizations — without writing a check.
The event also provided opportunities for young professionals to network, and representatives from a variety of sectors enjoyed drinks and conversation. The Citizen was onsite to report and photograph, and to promote solutions-based journalism and civic engagement.
Although Zack and Julie Ertz were unable to join the event — they are expecting a baby, and soon — they joined via pre-recorded video to stress the importance of supporting charities and to emphasize their commitment to supporting the city of Philadelphia, even from their new home in Arizona.
Dan Bravato, president of SeventySix Capital Sports Advisory and Ertz Foundation board member, continued the programming, thanked those in attendance. SeventySix Capital invests in startups related to the sports world — and has made a commitment to use their connections to promote direct civic engagement.
Bravato echoed the Ertzes’ call to get involved with the community. He said professionals can use their skills as attorneys, social media managers, or even just as volunteers. This work, Bravato explains, “Could even be more helpful to organizations than donating money,” because charities can spend the money they save to further their main purpose.
Lisa Ertz, Zack’s mom, leads the Ertz Foundation, whose next endeavor is their House of Hope Project, raising funds to renovate Hunting Park’s Grace and Peace Community Fellowship as a worship and community center. Donations to the Ertz Foundation support this project and others.
But the main focus of the event was to highlight four local organizations: The Sunday Love Project, Ordinarie Heroes, ODAAP and Timoteo. Each organization spoke briefly to explain their mission and how to get involved.
Ordinarie Heroes, said founder and executive director Ron Toles, provides mentoring, community engagement, and support to low-income and unhoused youth, through varied programming that includes community gardens and residential produce drop-offs.
The i-e at the end of Ordinarie stands for I am enough, and appears in the name of the IE Center, which Toles says, “has an intentional focus on youth who are vulnerable to violence, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, doing work in terms of education, job offerings and internships and de-escalation training.” Interested community members can get involved with Ordinarie Heroes in a variety of ways including mentoring and volunteering.
Malik Jones spoke on behalf of Lansdowne-based Open Door Abuse Awareness Prevention (ODAAP). Jones, head football coach at Martin Luther King High School, described ODAAP as a “trauma-informed organization that teaches young athletes how to regain their composure after they are involved in sport.”
He said athletes are often required to be angry while on the playing field — and that anger can spill over into the home. ODAAP works with youth to channel post-game or post-practice aggression, even in the face of hardship and without at-home support, through programs in Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. ODAAP founder Valencia Peterson is currently leading a camp program for football players, Jones told the crowd, where athletes try activities for the very first time, such as going on waterslides or playing the game manhunt. There are numerous ways to get involved at ODAAP, including ambassador opportunities for all ages.
Margaux Murphy of Sunday Love Project serves meals to those in need in Philadelphia. Murphy implored everyone to get involved, saying, “Since we all take up space on this earth, it is our job to take care of each other … It costs nothing to give a shit. I just want people to show love to their communities.” The next project for Sunday Love: a free grocery store. You can learn more about them in a Citizen profile here.
West Hunting Park-based Timoteo is a Christian organization that “uses sports as a hook to connect to the young people,” says Program Director Leo Mota. Their goal: strengthen athletic youth in communities through mentoring. Mota, a four-year alumnus of the program, believes that if it weren’t for Timoteo, “My life would have been very different,” saying, “It takes a village to raise a kid, and there are a lot of villages here — and we need every single one.”
If you are interested in attending the next version of this event, which organizers hope to host quarterly, follow the Ertz Family Foundation on Eventbrite.