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Power Moves: Project 440 cofounder Joseph Conyers earned a major career grant

Joseph Conyers. September 18, 2018 Category: FeaturedLongPeople

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

1. The Sphinx Organization will honor Project 440’s ED.

Joseph Conyers, the Philadelphia Orchestra acting associate principal bass who cofounded the music education nonprofit in 2007, will receive a $50,000 career grant and the 2019 Medal of Excellence from Sphinx, a Detroit-based nonprofit “dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.”

“This recognition only strengthens my resolve to continue to positively affect the lives of young people across the country,” Conyers said in a press release. “I’m thankful to Sphinx for empowering me with further support to do so.”

The honor is given to three accomplished Black or Latinx artists annually. This year’s other recipients are opera singers Raquel González and Will Liverman. The awards ceremony will be held on March 20, 2019, in D.C.

2. Girl Develop It’s leaders scored $50,000 from WeWork.

Corinne Warnshuis. (Courtesy photo)

The national tech nonprofit’s locally based executive director, Corinne Warnshuis, and Nashville chapter lead Sally MacNicholas pitched at WeWork’s Nashville Creator Awards on Thursday and won the cash to expand its education efforts.

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It was the regional semifinal event of the coworking megacompany’s international competition, where nonprofits, startups and performers present their organization’s “fresh ideas” for the chance to win between $18,000 and $360,000. GDI was one of 1,700 applicants.

3. The Connolly Foundation hired a COO and VP for grantmaking.

The Conshohocken-based funder of Catholic causes, education, human services and the arts announced earlier this month that it had appointed Fran Burns as its chief operating officer and Tim Durkin as its grantmaking VP.

Burns worked as COO of the Philadelphia School District from 2013 to 2017. Previously, she was ED of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, the City of Philadelphia’s fiscal oversight board.

Durkin worked for the previous 17 years at Pew Charitable Trusts, including most recently as director of civic initiatives for Pew’s Philadelphia program. He also served as Pew’s representative on the Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia board.

4. Chester County Fund for Women and Girls will give two awards this fall.

The grantmaker will host its second annual Champions of Change Breakfast on November 28 in Malvern and honor the following: 

  • Gladys Black Woman of Distinction AwardRoberta Torian, partner in law firm Reed Smith’s Financial Industry Group, “for her longstanding dedication to the advancement of female attorneys and leaders”
  • Corporate Champions of Change Award West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc., “for its commitment to mentorship and career development for its female employees”

Roberta Torian. (Courtesy photo)

5. United Way of Chester County honored six people and orgs.

One of the national philanthropic org’s local outposts hosted its annual awards ceremony, meeting and campaign kickoff on Sept. 5 in West Chester.

Six partners who have “exemplified the spirit and dedication of hundreds of companies and organizations supporting the United Way” received awards:

  • PECO — Spirit of Chester County Award
  • West Chester Area School District — Corporate Partner of the Year
  • Maryellen Derr of Cakes & Candies by Maryellen — Community Partner of the Year
  • Debbie Pierce of Rita’s Water Ice — Community Partner of the Year
  • Friends Association for the Care & Protection of Children — Agency Partner of the Year
  • Jocelyn Gilmore, Chester County Intermediate Unit — Workplace Campaign Chair of the Year

6. Rachel Waxman left Tribe 12 to start her own business.

Rachel Waxman. (Courtesy photo)

The former PR and communications manager left in August to start her own digital marketing consultancy. She worked at the Jewish life nonprofit for over four years, including two as a project manager.

“I love helping people tell their stories, and my work at Tribe 12 taught me that an organization’s digital presence can make a huge impact on [its] success,” she wrote in an email. “Starting my own digital marketing consultancy will give me the chance to help so many more organizations tell their stories! …Plus, I’ve been hanging around with a lot of female entrepreneurs lately and I think its time I stop fangirling and just join the party!”

7. Elwyn hired its first chief medical officer.

The Delaware County health and human services nonprofit announced the hire of Dr. Kurt Miceli earlier this month. He previously worked as CMO for Bancroft, a Cherry Hill-based nonprofit that offers programs and services to those with autism and intellectual disabilities, and as president of Marcroft Medical Associates. In this new role, he is charged with managing Elwyn’s health care services and quality.

“The addition of a highly experienced physician to the Elwyn team gives us the ability to address the full spectrum of needs presented by the children and adults who utilize Elwyn’s programs,” said President and CEO Charles McLister in a press release.

8. The Field Center named Dr. Richard J. Gelles as its managing faculty director.

Housed at the University of PennsylvaniaThe Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research uses an interdisciplinary approach to aid abused and neglected children.

Gelles, Penn’s Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence and former dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice, also served as the center’s founding co-faculty director when it launched in 1999. In this new role, he will “integrate and unify the work of researchers, students, practitioners, and community partners, as well as the Center’s team of faculty directors and staff,” per a press release.

The child welfare and domestic violence expert was influential in the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, according to his Penn Arts & Sciences profile.

Dr. Richard J. Gelles. (Courtesy photo)

9. ML Wernecke joined Benefits Data Trust as its new director of policy and communications.

The former Pennsylvania government policy staffer and Public Citizens for Children and Youth development director started at the benefits access nonprofit on Sept. 4.

Wernecke’s role sounds similar to that of former Chief Engagement Officer DeAnna Minus-Vincent, who left BDT in May to become assistant VP of social impact and community investment at RWJBarnabas Health, New Jersey’s largest health system.

This week, BDT was named a finalist in the Communities Thrive Challenge from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Rockefeller Foundation. The org stands to win $1 million at the end of the year if selected as a winner.

10. Art-Reach picked Katie Samson to be its director of programs.

The six-year Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts veteran, who worked first as an arts educator then as assistant director of museum education at the institution, joined the accessibility-focused arts nonprofit on Sept. 10. She has previously worked as a disabilities studies faculty member at West Chester University.

The Wayne native also serves as co-director and spokesperson for the Katie Samson Foundation, which fundraises for research and quality-of-life programs for people with spinal cord injuries.


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