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Power Moves: Riverfront North Partnership’s new captain is Stephanie Phillips

Stephanie Phillips. May 30, 2018 Category: ColumnFeaturedLongPeople

Power Moves is a semi-regular column chronicling leadership movements within Philly’s social impact community. Send announcements to

1. Stephanie Phillips is taking over from Tom Branigan as ED of Riverfront North Partnership.

The Glenside resident most recently worked as senior director of strategy and resource development at Bartram’s Garden, where she oversaw relationships and fundraising strategies for the nonprofit’s river, education and urban agriculture programs.

Branigan announced his plans to retire in February and will do so at the end of this month. The changes happen at the same time the org is rebranding under its new name; for its first decade, it was called Delaware River City Corporation. The nonprofit is facilitating the implementation of the North Delaware Riverfront Greenway, an 11-mile network of trails, parks and riverfront features connecting Port Richmond and Torresdale.

In addition, five people and organizations were honored at RNP’s Spring Fling event on May 17:

  • The Robert A. Borski Award for Lifetime Achievement Frank A. Mayer III, Esq., attorney with Stevens & Lee
  • Outstanding Service Award — Anthony Naccarato, president of O’Donnell & Naccarato and founding member of RNP
  • Community Organization Award — The Center for Employment Opportunities
  • Corporate Stewardship Award — Philadelphia Insurance Companies
  • Certificate of Appreciation for VolunteerismEdwin Gago, longtime supporter of Lardner’s Point Park

2. Kevin Dow is Friends of the Rail Park’s first conductor.

Kevin Dow. (Courtesy photo)

The former SVP of impact and innovation at United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey took over in April at the nonprofit in charge of transforming the former Reading Railroad lines into an inclusive community space. Previously, he worked as the City of Philadelphia’s COO and senior deputy commerce director under Mayor Michael Nutter.

From our Partners

A ribbon cutting of the park’s Phase 1, a quarter mile from Broad and Noble streets to 11th and Callowhill streets, will take place June 14. The full proposed site is three miles long, starting at 9th Street and Fairmount Avenue heading south to 11th and Vine streets, then turning northwest just above Callowhill Street and ending at 31st Street and Girard Avenue.

Dow told Philadelphia magazine that FORP would also hire a community engagement pro in the coming months.

3. The City of Philadelphia picked 11 child welfare experts for its new DHS oversight board.

Mayor Jim Kenney recently signed an executive order creating the Child Welfare Oversight Board to review and assess the city’s Department of Human Services, including its progress in implementing the Improving Outcomes for Children model and other reform initiatives.

In October 2017, DHS released a scorecard report of its 10 Community Umbrella Agencies, which deliver child welfare case management; none of them scored above a three out of five, or “competent.”

The board’s volunteer members are:

  • Dr. Cindy Christian, attending physician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Anthony A. Latini Endowed Chair in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Fran Gutterman, retired from Casey Family Programs
  • John L. Jackson, Jr., dean of University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice (and dean of Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication as of January 2019)
  • Mimi Laver, director of legal education at American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law
  • Mayra Morales, resource parent
  • Joanna Otero-Cruz, deputy managing director of community services, City of Philadelphia
  • Dr. David Rubin, director of Policy Lab at CHOP
  • Robert Schwartz, cofounder of the Juvenile Law Center
  • Judith Silver, associate director of Leadership Education in the Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program at CHOP
  • Colleen Shanahan, associate clinical professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law 
  • Anthony Simpson, youth representative

Ex-officio members include DHS Commissioner Cynthia Figueroa, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities Commissioner David Jones and Health and Human Services Deputy Managing Director Eva Gladstein.

4. Haniyyah Sharpe-Brown left a City Council office for the School District of Philadelphia.

Sharpe-Brown. (Courtesy photo)

Most recently the communications manager for Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown’s office, Sharpe-Brown started a job with the school district as director of advocacy and external engagement on April 30.

“There are a lot of changes coming down the pipeline for the School District of Philadelphia including the new School Board,” she wrote in an email about why she was excited to take on the role, which involves strategic advocacy, government relations and community engagement.

“As the parent of children within the District (my son will be headed to the 6th grade and my daughter headed to Kindergarten) it is both an exciting and challenging time to be a part of such a huge change within the District. I have a personal commitment and investment to the work that Dr. [William] Hite and the new school board will bring for all of our children, not just mine.”

5. Geneva Global picked David Dahlin as its new CEO.

The Paoli-based philanthropic consulting company and B Corp hired the international development pro in March; he started on May 15. Geneva’s current CEO, Doug Balfour, will transition to a non-executive chairman role.

Dahlin most recently worked as CEO of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and a previous two decades with Colorado-based, $800 million humanitarian aid organization Compassion International, including as its executive VP and COO.

6. Josh Sevin has been named president and CEO of International House.

The Young Involved Philadelphia founder started the new leadership gig at the hub for international arts, culture and education on May 14.

Sevin left his post as acting executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia at the end of February. He had worked in several roles at the economic research and civic leadership hub over the previous eight years, including as deputy director and managing director of regional engagement.

Josh Sevin. (Photo courtesy of International House)

7. Four local urbanists were just named Emerging City Champions.

The Knight Foundation and 8 80 Cities announced the 20 community leaders between the ages 19 to 35 who made it into their 2018 Emerging City Champions fellowship program, and four are from Philly.

Each fellow will receive $5,000 to execute projects that aim to improve public spaces, transportation and civic engagement in their communities over the next year. As described by Knight’s website, here are Philly’s reps and their projects:

  • School District of Philadelphia Grant and Development Specialist Dena Ferrara Driscoll — “Develop a temporary storefront to serve as a public space where visitors can incubate ideas, build relationships and develop solutions to address persistent city challenge[s] related to urban planning, transportation and governance”
  • Mt. Airy USA Community Program Manager Hanae Mason — “Lead a collaborative process to transform Lovett Library Park into an inclusive and accessible public space through organic and scheduled events and activities”
  • Power Street Theatre Company founder Gabriela Sanchez— “Produce a multi-disciplinary live theatre program in a public space that will create culturally-resonating performances that celebrate the voices of women and girls of color and foster intergenerational dialogues”
  • Onyx Valley founder Kyree Holmes — “Cultivate talent in young people to prepare them for careers in the user experience field by providing formal training where participants co-develop design solutions for real-life challenges in the city”

Last year’s local fellows were Michael Fichman, LaTierra Piphus, strong>Michael O’Bryan and Erika Guadalupe Nunez.

8. Temple prof Dr. Nyron Crawford is heading to Princeton.

Nyron Crawford. (Photo by Tony Abraham)

The assistant professor at the College of Liberal Arts’ Department of Political Science announced last week he’d be taking a temporary leave of absence for the next school year to become a visiting associate research scholar of race and public policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Though he’ll will continue to live in Philly, the policy wonk will spend the year “lead[ing] an effort to identify ways in which the Woodrow Wilson School’s public policy curriculum can be expanded to include more diverse perspectives, questions, and approaches to issues of race and public problems,” he said via email.

Back in August 2016, Crawford told Generocity he sees himself as an advocate and an “honest broker” — an academic who “interprets data and science and translates it into a way that can be useful for policy makers.”

9. The Philadelphia Foundation named its seventh Brody Family Medical Trust Fund fellow.

Dr. Katherine Palozola earned the 2018 distinction for medical research in incurable diseases for her research of gene therapy treatments for inherited blindness at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine, where she is now a first-year postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics.

The fellowship provides about $70,000 a year for up to two years for young scientists “in the early stages of their research into cutting-edge treatments for diseases that have a substantial societal impact and for which no consistently effective cure presently exists,” according to a release.

10. Philly’s Office of Criminal Justice and Public Safety is getting a revamp.

Garrett Harley. (Courtesy photo)

Mayor Kenney appointed three local government pros to positions in the office:

  • Vanessa Garrett Harley will be the city’s new deputy managing director for criminal justice and public safety.
  • Julie Wertheimer is now senior director of criminal justice reform strategies and programs.
  • Theron Pride will be senior director of violence prevention strategies and programs.

Garrett Harley is currently chair of the social services group in the Philadelphia Law Department, where she manages the Child Welfare Unit, the Health and Adult Services Unit and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Unit; she starts in her new role on June 4.

Wertheimer was previously the city’s chief of staff for criminal justice, where she managed initiatives related to the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge grant.

Pride previously worked as a senior policy advisor and special counsel on justice initiatives in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice; he starts in his new role on June 4.

11. Arts + Business Council hosted its 33rd annual awards celebration.

Last week, the creative sector convener honored three local bigwigs with its signature Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic ExcellenceJoan Myers Brown, founder and executive artistic director of Philadanco!Jane Golden, founder and executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia; and Meryl Levitz, retiring president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia.

 These awards were also distributed:

  • Fred DiBona, Jr. Individual Leadership Award — PNC Arts Alive and Regina Canfield
  • Business + Arts Partnership Award — Reed Smith LLP and The Village of Arts and Humanities
  • PNC Arts Alive Award for Innovation in Honor of Peggy Amsterdam — Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra
  • Creative Economy Award for Distinction in a For-Profit Creative Field — Printfresh
  • Designing Leadership Award — Ellen Owens, director of learning programs for the Penn Museum
  • Business On Board Volunteer Leader of the Year — Jeffrey Holder, founder of Jeffrey Holder Photography, for board service with InLiquid Art + Design
  • Business Volunteer for the Arts Volunteer of the Year — William H. Haines, IV, SVP and director of client services at Pennsylvania Trust, for volunteer consulting work with ArtWell
  • Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Volunteers of the Year — Robert Louis, partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP, for work with The Whitemarsh Art Center
  • Technology Connectors Volunteer of the Year — Ashley Moran, senior director of product and experience design at Comcast, for volunteer consulting work for The Kimmel Center

12. Asian Arts Initiative hired Elizabeth Thompson as its new director of administration.

Thompson will oversee ops and admin at the arts and culture nonprofit, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The Penn grad worked for AAI previously in development and ops and was mostly recently based in D.C. as the managing director of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. She has also served as the Spruce Foundation’s grantmaking co-chair.

Elizabeth Thompson. (Courtesy photo)


Friends of the Rail Park

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