News & Events

The 2018 White-Williams Scholars Honors Convocation

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Sixty-eight high school scholars were honored for their achievements at the Philadelphia Futures White-Williams Scholars Honors Convocation on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.

White-Williams Scholars has a long and rich history in Philadelphia dating back to 1800.  The merger of White-Williams Scholars and Philadelphia Futures in 2011 created even greater opportunities for high achieving students in the City. Philadelphia Futures recognizes and rewards the accomplishments of Sponsor-A-Scholar and College Connection students with the White-Williams Scholars Incentive Awards. The award represents academic excellence, commendable character, and the willingness to be engaged – all of which are the foundation for success in college and in life. During the convocation, three Class of 2019 scholars shared their reflections on these three qualities that live within a White-Williams Scholar.

 “We want to make the world the best it can be. And we are already on that path.”  ~ Jermoyah, Class of 2019  

IMG 2594 LTo celebrate and support the 68 exceptional scholars, the Philadelphia Futures community gathered in the beautiful space contributed by Ballard Spahr.  Mentors, parents, guardians, and family members were in attendance.  Three White-Williams Scholars alumni, including Dr. Wesley Proctor, a current member of the Philadelphia Futures Board of Directors, took part in the presentation of the yellow stoles, a signature WWS indicator.

$4 million gift establishes Brook J. Lenfest Scholarship at Temple

The endowed fund will support students from Mastery Charter Schools and Philadelphia Futures.

Photography By: Joseph V. Labolito

By Brandon Lausch 

Thanks to a $4 million donation from the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation, deserving local high school students who graduate from Mastery Charter Schools or participate in the Philadelphia Futures program will be eligible for financial support to attend Temple University. 

The Brook J. Lenfest Endowed Scholarship Fund at Temple will initially support six scholarships for incoming freshmen, starting in fall 2018, and will be renewable annually. The fund targets students with financial need from Mastery Charter Schools, of which Lenfest is the lead and founding funder, or those involved with Philadelphia Futures, a nonprofit that assists low-income, first-generation-to-college students. Second preference will be given to students who graduated from a public high school in the School District of Philadelphia.
“Brook’s commitment to the accessibility and affordability of education for students in Philadelphia is a perfect match for Temple,” President Richard M. Englert said. “Brook’s philanthropy continues to open doors for opportunity, and we are excited to welcome our first cohort of endowed Brook Lenfest Scholars.”
The university will designate a staff member to provide part-time support to the endowed Brook Lenfest Scholars during their time at Temple.
Lenfest previously supported Mastery and Philadelphia Futures graduates at Temple via a last-dollar scholarship, through which his foundation filled unmet financial need.
“We are very proud that those scholarship recipients attained an 80 percent graduation rate,” Lenfest said. “We hope that, with the additional support from Temple, the incoming scholars will do even better.”
He said the quality of Mastery and Philadelphia Futures, and how well they know their students, have been major factors in his philanthropy.
Lenfest added that he chose to endow the scholarship at Temple because the university is a local, affordable pathway for area students to obtain an excellent education. He has also established an endowed scholarship fund at Penn State University, his alma mater.

“To me, education is the big equalizer,” Lenfest said. “An education provides choice. A lot of anyone’s life is spent working, so an education gives you a way to lift yourself up, but more than making money, it gives you the choice to do something you enjoy doing. If these kids find a path at Temple that teaches them the different options they have to choose a career and find that work isn’t so much like work if they enjoy what they’re doing, then I think that’s a great success.”

This article was published by Temple Now on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. This is Philadelphia Futures' eleventh college partnership. Learn more about our college partnerships by clicking here.

Four years gone: What these Philadelphia Futures grads have learned about family, life, and leadership



(Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)     


By Kevin McCorry                                                                  

West Philadelphia’s Farrad McLaughlin, 26, was crushed when he lost his older brother to gun violence a decade ago. But since that moment, he’s been determined not to be defined by his environment.                                                                            

So too, for Chris Felix, 22, the son of a single mother from Northeast Philly who emigrated from Haiti.

Both are first-generation college students who WHYY featured in a story in 2014 about the Philadelphia Futures mentorship program.

Then, McLaughlin — who went to Sayre High School — had just completed his undergraduate degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Four years later, McLaughlin recently finished his master’s in leadership at Cabrini University, and Felix graduated cum laude from Lafayette College — a job with Lincoln Financial Group in hand.

In a NewsWorks Tonight interview, guest host Kevin McCorry caught up with the pair to discuss what it’s like to make mom proud and how to be a pillar for a younger generation surrounded by poverty and violence.
This interview aired on NewsWorks Tonight on Friday, June 22, 2018  and was published on WHYY's website. 

Philadelphia Futures’ Annual Graduation Celebration

Over 100 first-generation-to-college scholars gathered to celebrate earning their high school diplomas and higher education degrees in record numbers.  



One hundred percent of Philadelphia Futures’ high school graduates have been accepted to college. Fifty-one percent of those scholars are attending a Philadelphia Futures partner college and will receive $8.6 million in financial aid.

Close to 500 members of the Philadelphia Futures community gathered at the Convention Center on Wednesday, June 6, to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 100 scholars who are earning their high school diplomas and college degrees in record numbers.

The “Hats Off to You” award is presented for outstanding, long-term, and significant contributions to the mission of Philadelphia Futures. This year, Northeast High School was honored after demonstrating how one partnership and collaboration can help shape organizations, schools, and the city of Philadelphia. In addition, a “Special Recognition Award” was given to mentors, Robert Pyskadlo and Julie Restelli Pyskadlo for mirroring the exacting values of Philadelphia Futures and for their dedication and commitment to the three scholars they mentor – all of whom were among the 2018 graduating class.

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The Step Up to College: Rising Senior Edition is Now Available!

Philadelphia Futures released the 2018 Summer Supplement to the Step Up to College Guide to help juniors entering their senior year navigate the college admissions process. The Summer Supplement is underwritten by KeyBank.  

SummerSupplement 2018 CoverMediumThe Rising Senior Edition is the 2018 Summer Supplement to Philadelphia Futures’ Step Up to College GuideThe Supplement informs juniors entering their senior year about the steps they need to take during the summer to prepare for the college admissions process. Like the Guide, the Rising Senior Edition is available to juniors and their families without cost. 

Summer is an ideal time for rising high school seniors to concentrate on and actively begin the college admissions process. The Supplement, made possible through support from KeyBank, puts students in Philadelphia firmly on the path to college.

“KeyBank believes educational environments and support systems that help students from all backgrounds realize their full potential is critical to keeping students interested and motivated in their futures,” said Robert D. Kane Jr., president, Eastern Pennsylvania Market, KeyBank. “This is why we are proud to support the Philadelphia Futures Summer Supplement and their effort to break down barriers that have historically excluded low-income, first generation-to-college students from college success.”

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Carlos Santana and the Phillies Got in the Game for Philadelphia Students

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Get in the Game - in support of Philadelphia Futures - was attended by more than 500 individuals, including 25 Phillies players and Manager Gabe Kapler, and exceeded $150,000 goal. 

On the evening of Thursday, April 26, Carlos Santana and the Philadelphia Phillies “got in the game” with Philadelphia Futures! Get in the Game, a celebrity bowling tournament, pairs teams, sponsored by individual businesses and individuals, and led by Phillies players and local media celebrities. The event raised over $155,000 and was attended by more than 500 guests and supporters of Philadelphia Futures. Get in the Game took place at South Bowl in South Philadelphia.

The event was hosted by Phillies First Baseman Carlos Santana, who was joined by many of his teammates and coaches including Gabe Kapler, Jake Arrieta, Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, Odubel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Adam Morgan, Hector Neris, and Aaron Nola, among others.  

“It was amazing to see the City of Philadelphia come together to raise money to send students to college via Philadelphia Futures,” said Carlos Santana. “It was an honor to be a participant for such a great cause. It means giving a child the opportunity to improve their future and achieve their dreams.” 

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Carlos Santana Hosts 2018 Get in the Game


Carlos Santana, the Phillies, and Media Celebrities Bowl to Build the Future for Philadelphia Futures Students.  

First Baseman Carlos Santana and his Phillies teammates will “get in the game” to support Philadelphia Futures’ students on Thursday, April 26, 2018. More than 500 guests will be in attendance at Get in the Game – a celebrity bowling tournament featuring competitive teams, sponsored by businesses and individuals, and led by Phillies players and local media celebrities from 6abc, NBC10, CBS3, Fox29, KYW, Sportsradio WIP, and Inside Corner. 

Event highlights will include a red carpet entrance, a live social media experience, the “Phutures Phanatic” raffle and live auction, and the new “Bullpen” Beer Garden, featuring Double Nickel Brewing Co.

“Philadelphia Futures is thrilled to welcome Carlos Santana as the player host of Get in the Game this year, along with the entire Phillies organization,” said Philadelphia Futures’ Executive Director Sara Woods. “We are grateful to Carlos and his family for partnering with us to transform the lives of our students, and to the Phillies for their continued partnership and support.  We look forward to getting in the game with them as we bowl to build the future for Philadelphia’s students.”

Over the last 17 years, Get in the Game has raised over $2 million to support the college aspirations of Philadelphia’s low-income, first-generation-to-college students. Tickets are still available! To purchase tickets, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 215-790-1666 ext.463. Learn more about Get in the Game by visiting  

“Philadelphia has given me and my family such a warm welcome and we are excited to make a positive impact in the Philadelphia community,” said Carlos Santana. “I know what it is like to have to overcome obstacles as a child and it is an honor for me to work with Philadelphia Futures to help the students achieve their dreams. I’m looking forward to a night of fun and positive vibes.”

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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