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Power Moves: Omar Woodard had a heck of a February

March 4, 2019 Category: ColumnFeaturedLongPeople

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

1. Omar Woodard is taking leave from GreenLight to run for office.

Early in February, Sen. Bob Casey honored Omar Woodard, executive director of local venture philanthropy firm GreenLight Fund Philadelphia, as one of Pennsylvania’s innovators working to solve the state’s most pressing issues (more about the other honorees later in the column).

Then, mid-month, Woodard had the opportunity to talk about the Fund’s $600,000 investment to expand the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency program (which impacts nearly a thousand families in North Philadelphia) with HUD Secretary Ben Carson — prompting Carson to add $360,000 in support of the effort, according to Woodard’s Facebook post about the meeting.

Around 10 days later, Ernest Owens of Philadelphia magazine broke the news that Woodard was running for City Council’s 5th District seat, currently held by longtime City Council President Darrell Clarke.

“I am beyond excited to run for the 5th District Philadelphia City Council seat to represent the neighborhood that raised me,” Woodard posted on his Facebook page Feb. 26. “There are 50,000 people in the 5th District living on $250 a week, and 150,000 more across the city. If elected, I will dedicate my public service career to ending the generational poverty that is destroying our communities.”

Woodard will take an unpaid leave of absence from GreenLight from March 4 through the end of May. During that time GreenLight Fund Philadelphia will be overseen by Margaret Hall, the Fund’s CEO, and Donald Ger, the managing director of sites.

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Woodard has a history in political ambition: The North Philly native dropped his third district Pa. senate run to become the Fund’s ED back in early 2016, and he was mulling a run for Congress in summer 2017. Last July, he told Generocity he was totally committed to his current work: “The best place to achieve social impact right now is at GreenLight, doing the work, fighting poverty in the communities I live in and care about. Politics, fortunately or unfortunately, will always be there.”

Woodard isn’t the only nonprofit leader running for public office, of course. As we reported previouslyFairmount Park Conservancy’s former executive director, Jamie Gauthier, and Juntos’ executive director (on hiatus), Erika Almirón, are both campaigning for Council seats, and Campus Philly’s former director of partnerships, Jennifer Devor, is vying for a city commissioner spot.

2. Roxann Stafford will lead the Knight Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund.

Roxann Stafford. (Courtesy photo)

The Knight Foundation and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism recently announced that Roxann Stafford will lead the new $20 million Knight Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund as its managing director.

Announced in September 2018, the Knight Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund works to empower local news organizations to build trust with their audiences while producing quality journalism and developing new revenue streams.

Stafford has previously worked with news organizations, including The New York Times and The Associated Press, across the U.S. and Asia, and most recently served as director of program for Matter in New York, a startup accelerator and venture capital firm grounded in the principles of design thinking that supported early-stage media entrepreneurs.

3. Magda Martinez became the chief operating officer of Mural Arts.

Magda Martinez. (Courtesy photo)

Magda Martinez, who served as director of programs at the Fleisher Art Memorial for the past 16 years,  has joined Mural Arts Philadelphia as its COO. Mural Arts is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change.

A writer, vocalist, educator and performer who is part of Las Gallas, a Philadelphia-based artist collective which has toured nationally and internationally, Martinez also serves as a board member of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and has served on the board of the Bartol Foundation and Taller Puertorriqueño.

She has received a Fellowship in the Arts from the Independence Foundation, a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Artist as Catalyst grant, and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award in recognition of her work using art as a tool for community transformation.

4. PICC appointed Dong Yoon Kim as its political director.

Dong Yoon Kim. (Courtesy photo)

Dong Yoon Kim, a University of Georgia graduate who has worked with the Asian, Korean and immigrant communities for citizenship and empowerment in Virginia and Maryland, has been appointed the political director of the nonprofit Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC).

An immigrant from Korea who hopes to see more first generation immigrants involved in civic participation and leadership, he will be responsible for leading PICC’s political advocacy work, its efforts to monitor state legislation, and its civic engagement program.

5. National and local boards are drawing from Philly’s talent pool.

In February, Community Health Charities welcomed Charleeda Redman, VP of strategic initiatives and population health at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, to its national board of directors. Redman joins corporate professionals and nonprofit executives working to build stronger, healthier communities.

Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP) recently announced that Kate McGlinchey, Rachel Patchen, Brenda Nguyen and Brian Balduzzi will serve as president, vice president, secretary and treasurer (respectively) of the organization. YIP also appointed the following people to its board of directors:

  • Brian Balduzzi, Wilmington Trust Company
  • Carina Daniels, Story & Reach Communications
  • Jocelyn Hastings, ImpactED at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Yuan Huang, The Mayor’s Office of Policy and Legislation
  • Alyssa Kaminski, Penn Museum
  • Jordan Muse, The Food Trust
  • Lloyd Ricks Jr., Cigna Health Service

6. A bunch of local folks are being honored.

  • As part of his Black History Month Symposium, Bob Casey honored five Pennsylvania innovators for “providing creative and impactful solutions for America’s most critical issues” and for dedicating themselves to “improving their communities and empowering future generations.” The honorees included: Joan Myers Brown, The Philadelphia Dance Company and The Philadelphia School of Dance Arts; Lorina Marshall-Blake, Independence Blue Cross Foundation; Sulaiman Rahman, DiverseForce; Rakia ReynoldsSkai Blue Media; and Omar Woodward.
  • Community College of Philadelphia presented its Judge Edward R. Becker Citizenship Award to Joseph Field, the founder of Entercom Communications.
  • Carlos Gonzalez, the associate director of ACLAMO Family Centers, received the 2019 Dominican Professional of the Year award from Dominicanos in the Delaware Valley during the organization’s annual flag-raising at Philadelphia City Hall.
  • Aja Beech, board member of the Trauma Survivors Foundation, received a citation from City Council for her work to mark the Disability Day of Mourning which draws attention to the high rate of disability-related intra-familial homicide and filicide.
  • During its annual Black-Tie GayBINGO event scheduled for March 23, The AIDS Fund will present its “Favorite Straight Person of the Year” award to Gershman Y Maintenance Supervisor Keith Jenkins, its Founders Award to Stephen P. Carlino and Dennis R. Fee, owners of Tavern on Camac and UBar, and the new Extra Mile Award to Mark Braverman for his longtime dedication to AIDS Walk Philly.

AIDS Fund bingo. (Courtesy photo)


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