News & Events

Joan C. Mazzotti to Step Down as Executive Director of Philadelphia Futures After 16 Years

 Joan Get in the Game

The Board of Directors of Philadelphia Futures announced that Joan C. Mazzotti will step down as Executive Director after 16 years of extraordinary service. Ms. Mazzotti plans to stay through the first of the year, or until her successor is in place, ensuring continuity and a smooth transition in leadership. 

“Joan Mazzotti’s exceptional leadership over 16 years has shaped an organization that deeply understands and serves the needs of first-generation-to-college students.” said Laura Williamson, Chair of the Board of Philadelphia Futures. “Joan’s agility in transforming a vision to action with measurable results is evident in every part of the organization today from the depth and reach of the program to the loyalty and generosity of our donor base.” 

Ms. Mazzotti said, “One attribute I admire in leaders is knowing when change will be beneficial to the future of an organization. After much consideration, I have concluded that Philadelphia Futures is approaching the point at which new leadership will have an important, positive impact. As I want to be like Derek Jeter and hit a walk-off on my last at-bat, I realized that this is the right time for me.” 

“The year just ended was very strong; it was a triple if not a home run. We have an enormously talented and effective staff; Philadelphia Futures is financially sound; and our students and programs are thriving. As we enter the fifth year of our current Strategic Plan, we soon will need to embark on a new planning process; accordingly, it is time for me to pass the mantle to the person who will be implementing the blueprint for the organization’s future.” 

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“Taking the Next Step” into a New School Year

Philadelphia Futures celebrates the start of a brand new school year and reflects on a year full of great accomplishments. 

CollegeKickoff 31 1The room was filled with enthusiasm and inspiration as 175 first-generation college students – all graduates of Philadelphia high schools – gathered together at the DoubleTree Hotel for Philadelphia Futures’ annual College Kick-Off event on Monday, August 15, 2016. 

With the theme “Taking the Next Step” the evening’s speakers and activities were designed to inspire students to be thoughtful and purposeful as they consider their next step – whether it be transitioning to college, applying to graduate school or starting a career.


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An Unforgettable Night with the Phillies

Philadelphia Futures spends a memorable evening at Citzens Bank Park    

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Thanks to the MLB Players Trust Association, Philadelphia Futures spent an unforgettable vening at Citizens Bank Park at the Phillies vs. Dodgers game on Wednesday, August 17, 2016.  Thanks to the Trust’s Buses for Baseball Program, Philadelphia Futures students were given the opportunity to take the field for pre-game practice and catch a rare, up-close glimpse of their baseball heroes. 

After practice, many Philadelphia Phillies players stopped by to sign baseballs and have a chat with the students, including longtime friend of Philadelphia Futures, Carlos Ruiz.  As a token of their immense appreciation, Philadelphia Futures presented the Phillies team with a “thank you” poster.  

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Carlos Ruiz and the Phillies "Got in the Game" for Philadelphia Futures

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On the evening of Wednesday, May 18, Carlos Ruiz and the Philadelphia Phillies "got in the game" with Philadelphia Futures. Get in the Game is a bowling tournament which pairs teams, sponsored by individual donors and businesses, captained by Phillies players and local media celebrities. The event raised $160,000 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 Carlos Ruiz for the sixth consecutive year. During the evening, Ruiz was inducted into the Philadelphia Futures "Hall of Fame" in recognition of his enduring support of the organization and his commitment to the mission of Philadelphia Futures and the students it serves.

The Phillies organization came out in full-force in support of the event. Ruiz was joined by all of his teammates including Ryan Howard, Aaron Nola, Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, Tommy Joseph, Jeanmar Gomez and Vince Velasquez. Also attending for the Phillies were Manager Pete Mackanin and President Andy MacPhail. Phillies Director of Public Affairs, Scott Palmer, emceed the event.

The 500 Get in the Game guests bowled in the Tournaments and enjoyed the red carpet entrance, participated in the "Be a Phanatic" Raffle, stepped up to the plate in support of Philadelphia Futures' Field of Dreams, built the Winning Philadelphia Team in a baseball card sweepstakes, took part in the #PFGetintheGame live social media experience and were engaged in the evening's live auction.

Chooch bowling small  Chooch Hall of Fame small  Phillies Players small 

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Annual Conference 2016: Be Your BEST Self

Philadelphia Futures Annual Conference 2016 Opening Session

Philadelphia Futures celebrated a new year at its 2016 Annual Conference – “Be Your BEST Self” – on Saturday, January 9, 2016, at Drexel University, which was attended by more than 550 members of its community – high school students, collegians, parents, mentors, supporters, Board members and staff.

Using the Wellness Wheel as its theme, the day-long Conference helped students consider new ways in which they might think about themselves and their futures in order to ultimately achieve college success. The Philadelphia Futures Wellness Wheel and its five wedges – Academic, Emotional, Financial, Social and Physical – are being utilized throughout this year as a tool to help students take concrete steps to being balanced in all areas of their lives.  

The Annual Conference began with opening remarks from Philadelphia Futures Executive Director Joan C. Mazzotti, who set the agenda for the Conference and the year ahead.

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The Strength of Our Past. The Hope for Our Future.

Philadelphia Futures Releases Annual Report

Annual Report Cover 2015Philadelphia Futures is proud to release our 2014-2015 Annual Report: “The Strength of Our Past. The Hope for Our Future.” As we commemorate the 25th Anniversary of our groundbreaking Sponsor-A-Scholar Program, we are proud to share the stories of four alums – Melvin, Korinne, Terrance and Crystal – whose life trajectories were changed the day they walked into our offices. Their stories are the measure of our success. They are the strength of our past.

Our new Annual Report also includes profiles of four of our current Sponsor-A-Scholar and College Connection students, who represent the 530 students we are now guiding through high school and college. They are our hope for the future.

We invite you to read our Annual Report to learn more about the work of Philadelphia Futures.

“The Strength of Our Past. The Hope for Our Future.” also celebrates the generosity and kindness of the Philadelphia Futures community, for it is our donors, volunteers, college partners and other friends who make our work possible, drive our growth and sustain our organization. We are deeply grateful for their support.  

The 2015 Step Up to College Guide Is Now Available

Cover Final Guide 2015 WebPhiladelphia Futures has released its 26th edition of Step Up to College: Philadelphia's Guide to the College Preparation, Application, Admissions & Financial Aid Processes – a 66-page resource book designed to lead high school students and their families through each stage of the college admissions and financial aid processes, from understanding college fit, to writing application essays, from navigating the FAFSA to transitioning to life on a college campus.

In October 2015, Philadelphia Futures began distributing 42,000 print copies of Step Up to College to every public, public charter and parochial high school in Philadelphia, the Free Library of Philadelphia, government offices and community-based organizations. To eliminate any barriers to access, Philadelphia Futures makes Step Up to College available without cost.

The theme of this year's edition is "The Path to College Starts Here." Highlights of the 2015-2016 Guide include:

  • expanded offerings on understanding college "fit" and financial aid;
  • worksheets integrated throughout the Guide, including Philadelphia Futures' popular "Fit" Form and College Cost Calculator;
  • grade-specific Checklists, including a Checklist for parents and guardians; and
  • tweets, posts and texts from the new Step Up to College Ambassadors.

The Step Up to College Guide has become a Philadelphia tradition, and a critical college guidance resource for students and their families, guidance counselors, educators and other youth-serving professionals who are supporting students' college aspirations.

A complete PDF version of the Guide can be downloaded from the Step Up to College website at

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2015 Graduation and Sponsor-A-Scholar 25th Anniversary Celebration

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On Thursday, June 4, 2015, Philadelphia Futures celebrated our 2015 Philadelphia High School and College Graduates, and the 25th Anniversary of our Sponsor-A-Scholar Program.

In addition to celebrating the graduations of 85 of our high school seniors and 60 of our college students, we recognized an outstanding student, mentor and sponsor from each of the past 25 Sponsor-A-Scholar classes.


“Our 25th Anniversary Honorees represent the strength of our past and the hope for our future,” said Executive Director, Joan Mazzotti, in her welcoming remarks.

During the Ceremony, we inducted the first three honorees into the Philadelphia Futures Hall of Fame – Dr. Marciene Mattleman, founder and first Executive Director of Philadelphia Futures for her fierce determination to support young people and the vision, energy and hard work she poured into the development of the Sponsor-A-Scholar Program, and Judy Nadell and John Langan for their transformational support of the Sponsor-A-Scholar Program, for their faithful belief in the potential of our students, and for their authentic desire to make a difference in the world around them.

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Sponsor-A-Scholar Program Reflections

SAS 25th Anniversary Logo color

We recently asked our Sponsor-A-Scholar 25th Anniversary Honorees to take a moment to reflect on their time with Philadelphia Futures’ Sponsor-A-Scholar program, and provide us with their most memorable moments as a sponsor, mentor or student. 

The complete compendium of Sponsor-A-Scholar reflections can be downloaded here.

If you would like to contribute your own reflections, please complete one of the following prompts – or create one of your own – and email your creation to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Donor and Alumni Relations. 

  • My most memorable SAS moment is…
  • SAS has made a difference for me by…
  • I support Philadelphia Futures students because…
  • I am thankful to SAS because…

Summer Supplement to the Step Up to College Guide

Two New Resources Unveiled to Assist Philadelphia’s College-Bound Students

Philadelphia Futures has released a new Summer Supplement for rising high school seniors, and the Philadelphia Futures Summer Hotline, which will allow students to ask questions about the college admissions process, will open on July 1.

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Two new tools from Philadelphia Futures are designed to support Philadelphia’s college-bound students: a Summer Supplement to the Step Up to College Guide, and a Summer Hotline for students to ask questions about the college admissions process.  

The Summer Supplement to the annual Step Up to College Guide is designed specifically for rising high school seniors. It walks students through the nine steps they need to take during the summer, including preparing to take the SAT or ACT exam, doing college “fit” research, touring colleges, beginning the application process, and more.

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