News & Events

Philadelphia Futures Named a Four-Star Charity

Philadelphia Futures announces it has earned Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for the fourth consecutive year.


Philadelphia Futures’ strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned the organization its fourth consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

Only 13% of the charities that Charity Navigator has rated have received at least four consecutive four-star evaluations. Philadelphia Futures also is one of only five education entities in Pennsylvania to receive a four-star rating, and one of four education entities in Philadelphia to receive the rating.

Philadelphia Futures has achieved a four-star rating for its sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates Philadelphia Futures adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way. The rating differentiates the organization from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust and support.

Philadelphia Futures’ complete rating can be read on the Charity Navigator website here.

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Philadelphia Futures Partners with PSTV and InspireYouth to Participate in their First Hackathon

Philadelphia Futures scholars in the Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) participated in the first-ever Hackathon – an event which typically involves a large group of professionals who collaborate extensively on a computer programming project – on Saturday, March 3 at the PSTV studio at the School District of Philadelphia headquarters. Mirroring that same format, the goal of the YMI Hackathon was to create a useable software program and for the participating young men to experience online programming.  Participants presented their results at the end of the event.

PSTV, the education channel for The School District of Philadelphia, partnered with Philadelphia Futures for the YMI Hackathon.  PSTV hosted the scholars at their state-of-the-art production studio and provided equipment, including twenty Apple laptops for the Philadelphia Futures scholars to learn coding on. To learn more about PSTV, visit their website at

InspireYouth, a nonprofit organization that helps provide coding and computer technology skills to underrepresented communities, facilitated the event.

“The Young Men’s Initiative would like to thank PSTV for hosting and InspireYouth for facilitating the YMI Hackathon. This amazing coding opportunity allowed our young men to gain critical computer science skills and knowledge that provides the framework and foundation for a potential career in their futures,” said Derek Pediford, College Connection Coordinator and Co-Director of Philadelphia Futures’ Young Men’s Initiative.  

Philadelphia Futures Elects Seven New Members and New Executive Leadership to Its Board of Directors

Philadelphia Futures is pleased to announce the election of seven new members and four new officers effective January 25.

The seven new members include Pauline Abernathy, Chief Strategy Officer of Benefits Data Trust; Jennifer Daley, Vice President and Assistant Treasurer at Comcast Corporation; Damian J. Fernandez,, Chancellor of Penn State Abington; Otis D. Hackney, III, Chief Education Officer of the Mayor’s Office of Education; Katrina High,  Senior Project Manager of Strategy, Planning and Operations at GlaxoSmithKline; Margaret Sherry Lurio, Partner at Lurio & Associates; and Raj Tewari, Director of Operations at Glenmede. The four new officers are President Phil Weinberg, Executive Vice President/General Counsel at Comcast Spectacor; Vice President Kevin R. Boyle, Stradley Ronon’s Financial Partner and a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and Management Committee; Treasurer Jennifer Daley, Vice President and Assistant Treasurer for Comcast Corporation; and Secretary Stephen C. Lis, U.S. Advisory Line of Business Leader at KPMG. 

“I am very pleased to have these transformative leaders join our board and look forward to their contributions,” said Sara Woods, Executive Director. “They bring a wealth of experience to our organization and serve as models to our scholars of the professionals we hope they will become.  I look forward to charting the future of Futures alongside them.”      

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Building the Future: Philadelphia Futures' 2018 Annual Conference

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More than 600 members of the Philadelphia Futures community gathered at Drexel University on Saturday, January 13 for the 2018 Annual Conference.  The theme of the 2018 Conference, “Build Your Future,” recognized the organization’s new leadership and Philadelphia Futures’ college partnership with Albright College, its tenth college partnership.

The Annual Conference began with opening remarks from Executive Director Sara Woods who announced the new college partnership with Albright College saying, “This is our 10th college partnership, paving the way for more of our students to attend a college that is the right academic, social and financial fit.  We are grateful to Albright College for their investment in our scholars and their commitment to our mission.” A video created by Albright accompanied this exciting opportunity for our scholars.

Vice President of Enrollment Management Paul M. Cramer released a statement “Albright College is pleased to partner with Philadelphia Futures to support low income, first-generation students in their pursuit of a high quality college experience.  The significant support resources of Philadelphia Futures closely matches the nurturing environment of Albright College.  That combination will serve the students with whom we work in significant ways.  Albright’s commitment to a strong liberal arts education in a diverse campus community will facilitate transition and help foster successful outcomes for students from the Philadelphia Futures program. As important, Albright has every confidence that those students will contribute greatly to the Albright community and the greater world around them.”

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Taking the Next Step

Philadelphia Futures Releases 2016-2017 Annual Report 
PFARCover2017Philadelphia Futures is proud to release its 2016-2017 Annual Report: “Taking the Next Step.”

For almost 30 years, Philadelphia Futures has worked to ensure that every low-income, first-generation-to-college student that walks through its doors has the tools, resources and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty and take the next step to economic self-sufficiency.    

Our Annual Report features six exceptional individuals, who, at very different points in their lives, are all taking their next steps to college and career success. Through the experiences of  a Sponsor-A-Scholar and College Connection high school student, collegians, and alumni, the Report takes an in depth look at the steps each scholar took and the opportunities offered by Philadelphia Futures to help them reach their goals.

We invite you to read our Annual Report to learn more about the work of Philadelphia Futures and how you can take the next step with our scholars.  We are deeply grateful for the continued support of our community who make our work possible.

Young Women Rising Career Day



Thanks to J.P. Morgan, twenty young women scholars received the opportunity to attend a day-long career workshop and purchase a professional outfit.

When Philadelphia Futures’ mentor Rachael  Ferraro recognized the importance of career readiness programming for young women, particularly women of color, she and her Sponsor-A-Scholar mentee brainstormed ideas of how to meet this critical need. Rachael and her colleague Mary DiMartino then got to work turning the ideas into reality. 

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Build the Future: A Night with Our Scholars

BuildtheFutureOn Wednesday, November 1, 2017, Philadelphia Futures held Build the Future: A Night with Our Scholars at University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt – Dietrich’s Library Center in the Kisklak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.  

Hosted by Philadelphia Futures’ scholars, attendees had the unique opportunity to interact with the scholars, who were the hosts of the evening.  Executive Director Sara Woods began the evening with welcoming remarks. “Tonight is about our scholars:  showcasing their stories, their talents and the impact of their participation in Philadelphia Futures.  We know that Philadelphia Futures dramatically changes the course of our students’ lives, by providing the tools, resources and opportunities necessary for admission to and success in college.  But hearing it directly from our students makes all the difference.   Our ask tonight is that you help us build their futures, and the future of Futures.” 

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Philadelphia Futures' Annual College Kick-Off

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180 first-generation-to-college scholars came together to celebrate their journeys to college and career success, and gained valuable professional networking skills.

Close to 200 members of the Philadelphia Futures community gathered at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday, August 15 for the annual College Kickoff, where 75 scholars entering their first year of college had the opportunity to meet upperclassmen and alumni at their schools.

Philadelphia Futures opened the event by introducing the theme of the year, “Build Your Future.” More than 180 Philadelphia Futures students – all of whom attended Philadelphia high schools – came together to celebrate their journeys to college and career success, and also gained valuable professional networking skills.   

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Philadelphia Futures Stands Against Hate

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For 28 years, Philadelphia Futures has served as the model for high performing, results-oriented college access and success programs across the nation.  We transform lives by breaking down the barriers that have historically excluded low-income, first-generation-to-college students from achieving college success.

Today, we take a stand against racist rhetoric and behavior that threatens our students’ success.  Hate has no place at Philadelphia Futures, in our community, or anywhere in the world.  Silence in the face of racist words and actions is not an option. 

Philadelphia Futures is a place of high expectations, focus, respect, adaptability, accountability, and collaboration…but above all, respect. 

Our students, their success, and their lives matter. 

We welcome our community to join us in speaking out and exploring ways we can work together to ensure that our students succeed in college and in a world premised on respect and dignity. 


Help Philadelphia Futures Celebrate the Next Step!

Celebrate the Next Step
Philadelphia Futures recently received a generous contribution of $50,000 from a family with deep ties to the roots of our organization. This $50,000 gift will match all contributions 1:1 between now and the time of our College Kickoff event in August. Honor our legacy, invest in an exciting new chapter of Philadelphia Futures, and take advantage of this special time-limited opportunity to support our students and the entire Futures community as we take our next steps to continued success.