Special Projects


The Connector Project: Connectors & Keepers

For the fourth iteration of The Connector Project we focused  on young leaders, specifically those aged 25-35. The present number of young people in Philadelphia is unprecedented, but the rate at which young people leave Philadelphia remains high. We would like to change this. Young people bring vibrancy, innovation, and continued legacy to our city. In order to keep them here, we need to cultivate them and help them create lasting ties. To that end, we asked the community’s help in identifying Philadelphia’s most promising and impactful young people, The Keepers.

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Connector Project

In conjunction with its 50th Anniversary, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, the premier community leadership organization in the region,  launched a research study in 2005 to cause a conversation about leadership, connection, and action. They identified, recognized, and studied Connectors who provide the glue that holds the community together. In partnership with local leaders and media outlets, LEADERSHIP culled a list of the Top 101 Connectors in Philadelphia.  After the original Connector Project, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia launched two additional iterations – the Emerging Connector project in 2008 and the Creative Connector project in 2011. The Emerging Connector project identified the top 101 young connectors in Philadelphia. The Creative Connector project spotlighted 76 connectors in the Philadelphia arts and culture industry.

Learn more about the Connector Project here: connectorproject.org

Pay It Forward Project

Based on the popular movie and book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia’s program, Pay It Forward, Philadelphia, was developed to encourage spontaneous good deeds.

Beginning in 2006, LEADERSHIP decided to incorporate this idea as part of the Core Program curriculum. Each team (or junto, as we like to call them) in the Core class comes together to develop a volunteer project that they design and complete throughout the course of the program.

The cumulative effects of our individual efforts will increase trust and raise civic pride. Let’s put a spin on “The City That Loves You Back” and be “The City That Loves You Forward.”

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Pay It Forward Project Summaries

Core 2016

Junto 1 conducted a career skills workshop for Our Brothers Place.

Junto 2 conducted a career skills workshop for teen leaders at the Providence Center.

Junto 3 assembled welcome bags for families of children at CHOP with the Kolbe Fund.

Junto 4 improved community gardens for the Urban Tree Connection .

Junto 5 created communications & alumni engagement strategy for the CAPA Foundation.

Junto 6 painted and updated rooms at the Diversified Community Services Dixon House.

Junto 7 renovated a house for a low-income family with Rebuilding Together Philadelphia.

Junto 8 organized a Career Fair for the Community Partnership School.

Junto 9 created healthy food videos for St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children.

Junto 10 revitalized a local park with the Providence Center.

Junto 11 created a plan for an Alumni Council for Spark Philadelphia.

Junto 12 organized a book drive for SEAMAAC at Mifflin Square Park.

Keepers 2016

Junto 1 held a film screening and panel discussion for Girls on the Run.

Junto 2 Created a restaurant engagement campaign for Broad Street Ministry.

Junto 3 conducted a guest survey for Broad Street Ministry.

Junto 4 updated clothing donation system for Broad Street Ministry.

Junto 5 conducted career skills workshops for Cristo Rey High School students.

This I Believe Project

This I Believe is a national media project that encourages people to write, share, and discuss the core values and beliefs that guide their daily lives. National Public Radio (NPR) airs these three-minute essays on All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Sunday.

In connection with the national This I Believe project, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia has collected This I Believe essays from Fellows as part of LEADERSHIP’s 50th Anniversary celebration. We partnered with WHYY to produce audio versions of several of the essays. We also partnered with the Mural Arts Program to create the first city-wide mural, entitled “This We Believe.”

Click here to hear the audio versions of the “This I Believe” statements.

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LEADERSHIP now incorporates the This I Believe project into the Core Program, asking participants to write belief statements after key moments in class. Below you will find some particularly poignant statements written by members of this past year’s Core class.

About Philadelphia: I believe that Philadelphia is a cosmopolitan city with a neighborhood heart. I believe it is a city that wraps its arms around you and makes you love it. I believe Philadelphia is a city that gives you moments when you just catch your breath and say wow, what a beautiful, amazing place.
Donna Farrell
Archdiocese of Philadelphia

About Philadelphia: I believe Philadelphia and its citizens are tough, relentless and resilient. It has an underdog mentality in that the bleaker things look the harder it fights. I believe Philadelphia is unapologetic about its strengths and weaknesses. This attitude adds to its uniqueness as a great city!

About Philadelphia: I believe Philadelphia is truly the next great city. This class has shown me a side of Philadelphia that most people don’t get an opportunity to see. There are so many great things happening. I recently read that Philadelphia was the only big city whose population actually increased during the last decade.
Marcus Allen

About Philadelphia: Philly is a dynamic and interesting place. Thirty-one years ago, when I was married, living in the city was not an option. Now, as I approach 60, Philly is looking more and more like a place where I’d like to live (maybe not in the winter). In the past 7 months, I have learned more about the city than I learned in the previous 57 years of my life. I always believed it was a good city with much to offer. Now I know this is true. I’ve always taken pride in the city. That pride has now grown exponentially.
Mike Doyle
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

About Philadelphia: I feel very lucky to be a Philadelphian. It is such a wonderful niche and real tapestry of culture and life. LEADERSHIP has made me more observant of the beauty of the city and all it has to offer. The program makes me want to give back to the city in a meaningful way and pass the same love onto my kids as they grow up.
Andrea Kramer
Hamilton Lane

About Philadelphia: It truly is the City of Brotherly Love. Based on the people we have met in our Core class, the extension of the people we have met who have been through this program and the other speakers we have been exposed to, we clearly have a city of people who care about each other and the communities in which we live. More happens here each and every day that the average person never realizes. I am very proud of our city and know that we will continue to show the world why we are the city of brotherly love.
Peg Caucci
Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC

About Philadelphia: I believe Philadelphia is a city of resilient people. I believe it has everything its neighbors of New York City and Washington, D.C. offer, but with a sense of citywide community that those other cities lack. I believe Philadelphians often underestimate their power to succeed. I believe that there is something very poetic about how heroes of Philadelphia are often flawed or imperfect, and that they are beloved either despite, or because of, those very flaws and imperfections. I believe Philadelphians value honesty over popularity, and soul over veneer.
John Stapleton
Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin

About Philadelphia: I believe this city is ripe with opportunities to give, source, and extend to others. The Philly I knew (or thought I knew) and the Philly I am getting to know is large, complex, inviting, challenging. It is a middle child – stubborn, relentless, curious, and wedged between tradition and innovation. I want to know her better, give her more of me, and learn from her. I feel like a tourist with a lifelong pass to explore. I am now more eager to learn her corners.
Uva Coles
Peirce College

About Philadelphia: Philadelphia is a small town hung on the frame of a huge city; its diversity in neighborhoods, income and racial disparity falsely mask the true commonalities among Philadelphians. I believe Philadelphia needs to learn to be proud of itself and to capitalize its potential.
Joel Nichols
Free Library of Philadelphia

About Philadelphia: I believe that Philadelphia has a very rich history that built the foundation for what the City is today. However, I believe the City of Philadelphia has a much brighter future. The leaders/presenters that I have been exposed to are top notch. Their personal stories have been priceless to hear and makes you want to jump in and do your own part to make the City a better/stronger place. I would even tell you that to learn about the leadership qualities and generosity of those within my Junto was more surprising and was really an eye opener for me.

About myself: I personally want to make a difference and give everything that I have to make a difference. I am thinking a lot differently today than I did before I started this program. We had a client event a few months back where we invited clients into a suite at the Philadelphia Union soccer game in Chester, Pennsylvania. Rather than just have it for our clients and employees we reached out to the Starfinder Foundation and were able to invite 5 children to attend the game as our guests for the evening. We received personal thank you letters from each child and it personally felt good to have an impact on those children. I’ve seen “kind” acts going back and forth between our Junto and truly the entire Core experience has been very beneficial to me. I’m advancing conversations with two boards and hope to accept one board position within the next couple of months so I can give back on a consistent basis for a very good purpose. I believe that between my business background and my overall passion for the boards I am looking at, I will be able to make a difference in the community.
Bryce Graham
Chubb Group of Insurance Companies

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