A Powerful Year: Our 2014 Graduation Celebration


On June 5, 2014, the Philadelphia Futures community convened for our 2014 Graduation Celebration, honoring the high school and college graduations of 92 students who have participated in Philadelphia Futures' Programs. The event was attended by nearly 400 students, family members, mentors, supporters and partners and was a commemoration of a powerful and successful year.

The theme for the evening focused on the power of legendary superheroes and how, every day, Philadelphia Futures' community also exhibits superpowers. Joan C. Mazzotti, Executive Director, Philadelphia Futures reflected on this during her opening remarks.

"Like many superheroes, we all have villains to defeat and destinies of greatness," said Ms. Mazzotti. "I applaud our students and everyone in this room for using your formidable powers to defeat the one villain that we confront daily – our society's failure to educate all students equally. We have looked that villain in the eye and together we have prevailed."

In an academic year during which the School District of Philadelphia experienced an unprecedented budget crisis, high school seniors in Philadelphia Futures' Sponsor-A-Scholar Program succeeded despite circumstances that would have predicted otherwise. One hundred percent of the High School Class of 2014 – 43 students in total – graduated from high school and have been accepted to college. They will attend a range of institutions, including Arcadia, Bloomsburg, Community College of Philadelphia, Dickinson, Drexel, Gettysburg, Haverford, Lafayette, Temple, Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton.

In addition, 49 Philadelphia Futures students will earn their college degrees in 2014. Fifty-four percent of the Sponsor-A-Scholar High School Class of 2010 will earn their college degrees in four years. The potential six-year college graduation rate for this Class is an extraordinary 87%.

We were thrilled that WHYY and 6abc both attended our 2014 Graduation Celebration to document the successes of our high school and college graduates, and provided some of our students with the opportunity to tell their own powerful stories. 


Executive Director Joan C. Mazzotti Receives Honorary Doctorate from Rider University

Joan_C_Mazzotti_smallAt Rider University's 149th Commencement ceremonies, held Thursday, May 15 through Saturday, May 17, Joan C. Mazzotti, Executive Director, Philadelphia Futures received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University. Ms. Mazzotti is an alumnus of Rider University, graduating from the University in 1972.

Ms. Mazzotti was presented with her honorary doctorate at the Commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16 and provided remarks. Photos from the ceremonies can be viewed here

In 2000, after serving as chief legal counsel of ARAMARK's Food Group and 23 years with the corporation, Ms. Mazzotti became the Executive Director of Philadelphia Futures. In her role, Ms. Mazzotti is responsible for setting the vision and direction for Philadelphia Futures.

Ms. Mazzotti served as chairwoman of the Rider University Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2002, and was a Trustee from 1996 to 2005. In 2006, Ms. Mazzotti, along with her husband, Michael Kelly, established the Mazzotti Awards in Women's Leadership to provide leadership development opportunities for Rider's women faculty and administrators.


"Get in the Game" 2014 with Carlos Ruiz and the Phillies Raised Over $170,000

Photo Credit: The Philadelphia Phillies

On the evening of Sunday, April 13, Carlos Ruiz and the Philadelphia Phillies "Got in the Game" on behalf of Philadelphia Futures and the students we serve, and helped to raised over $170,000 to support our academic enrichment and college guidance services! Our "Get in the Game" 2014 bowling and billiards fundraising event was attended by more than 400 supporters of Philadelphia Futures, including Phillies players, media celebrities and notable members of the region's business community. "Get in the Game" took place at North Bowl, located in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. 

"Get in the Game" photos - capturing all of the evening's festivities - can be viewed on and on the Main Line TimesAl Dia and PHL17 websites. 

For the fourth year, Ruiz hosted "Get in the Game," demonstrating his strong commitment to the mission of Philadelphia Futures and the students we serve. The Phillies organization came out in full-force in support of the event and Philadelphia Futures. Ruiz was joined by 18 of his Phillies teammates, including Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. Also attending for the Phillies were Event Chair David Montgomery, President & CEO; Ruben Amaro, Jr., General Manager; Ryne Sandberg, Manager; Gary Matthews, Club Ambassador and members of the coaching staff. Phillies Director of Public Affairs, Scott Palmer, emceed the event.