February 17th | Posted In Events

A Guide to Thursday’s “Get Involved” Happy Hour – From a Philly Transplant

By Danny Offenbacher

CIty Tap House Logan Square

In late 2013, I was a fresh Philly transplant from the sprawling suburbs of Detroit. I packed up and moved across the country for one main reason: an adventure. (I know: How cliché.) I always get the question “Why Philly? What’s so great about cheesesteaks anyway?” I didn’t move here for the cheesesteaks (although I’m sure people do and that’s cool too). The city drew me in – the culture, the history, the personality, and being a big city while still feeling homey. Folks keep it real and truly care about their city and it’s refreshing.

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January 14th | Posted In Philadelphia

YIP Picks: Six Ways to Spend Your MLK Day  

By Nick Marzano



The MLK Day of Service is coming up on – you guessed it – Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 19th, 2015). There is no better way to honor Dr. King’s memory than to make a plan now. You think Martin Luther King, Jr. woke up, had a couple eggs, and thought to himself, “You know what, I did have one heck of a dream last night…” Of course not! Making real change requires a little planning.

Thankfully, you don’t need to write one of the most memorable speeches of the past century to participate in MLK Day. All you need to do is head on over to There, you can register a volunteer profile and search through dozens of local MLK projects listed by county, neighborhood, and organizational mission.

And if you need a suggestion, here are a few of YIP’s favorite volunteer opportunities:


Saturday, January 17th 2015

Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia

Volunteer ID 8515

Description: “CSFP distributes needs-based scholarships to low-income children living in Philadelphia, awarded by random lottery. Families may submit applications to CSFP’s scholarship lottery from November through March 1, 2015. In order to reach more families needing support, volunteers will help distribute applications and posters to local businesses to help spread the word about CSFP’s free scholarship application.”

Start time: 1:00pm

Sunday, January 18th 2015

Repair the World & Philly Farm Crew at Urban Farm

Volunteer ID 8526

Description: “Join us as we partner with the Jewish Farm School, Philly Farm Crew, and Urban Roots Farm to work on an urban farm right here in Philadelphia! Volunteers will be needed to assist with tending to various aspects of the farm’s winter season. Contact Bridget at for more information. Register at”

Start time: 12:30pm


Monday, January 19th 2015 (MLK Jr. Day of Service)

Stenton Family Manor

Volunteer ID 8346

Description: “Travel to Stenton Family Manor, a homeless shelter, to participate in arts and crafts activities.”

Start time: 8:30am


WePAC Hamilton Elementary Library Reopening

Volunteer ID 8767

Description: “The Andrew Hamilton Elementary School Library has been closed for over four years and has been underresourced for 10-15 years. Join The West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) as we put on the finishing touches for its grand re-opening on January 27th, 2015, which will bring library services and access to books to over 600 public school students in West Philadelphia! Project components include cataloging books, organizing and shelving books, decorating, cleaning, and more!”

Start time: 9:00am


Living Water Baptist Church

Volunteer ID 7761

Description: “We will have a “Sunday Supper” for the Seniors in the community. We will serve seniors lunch and have conversation on a topic regarding the
civil rights era.”

Start time: 11:00am
Through January 30th

The African-American Resource Center at Penn is hosting a series of
community beautification projects, volunteer opportunities, and panels over the course of two weeks. All events can be found on, or by visiting the African-American Resource Center website:


December 29th | Posted In Philadelphia

New AP poll confirms what YIP’s been saying, doing for years & explains what we’re doing next

By Jim Saksa

Ward System 110

YIP’s Ward System 101 event on Feb. 5, 2014 sold out – young Philadelphians want to challenge the status quo.

A recent Associated Press-Gfk poll confirmed something we’ve been saying for a while now: young people care and want to get involved. According to the poll, Americans under 30 are more likely than older Americans to consider volunteering a very important civic duty. That’s something YIP knew intuitively: we’re shamelessly proud of having helped hundreds of young Philadelphians connect with the area’s best nonprofits. That’s the core of what we always have and always will do.

But, unfortunately, that same poll showed that young Americans cared less about other important obligations as citizens, such as voting and staying informed.

As the AP notes: “The share who call volunteering very important has climbed 10 percentage points, while staying informed dropped 13 points. The importance of voting, jury duty, reporting a crime and speaking English as obligations of citizenship also declined among young adults.”

While that last finding would make many of us smile (and Joey Vento spin in his grave), the rest are troubling, though understandable.

Read more

December 23rd | Posted In Philadelphia

The Kids are Alright: This Year in Young Involved Philly

By Michelle Feldman


As 2014 comes to a close, we here at YIP are busy crunching the numbers – and getting nostalgic just thinking about the last twelve months.

The biggest State of Young Philly yet. Monthly happy hours and run clubs. Two Board Prep cohorts. Coffee chats with some of Philly’s finest leaders. Seventy-five events (yes, you read that right – 75). Over 50 nonprofit partners. And oh yeah – advocacy efforts like our #YoungPHLVotes campaign, Ward 101 event, and civic engagement guide.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Read more

November 3rd | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 10/27 – 11/3 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee

Vote Badges



Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while riding the emotional roller coaster that was the Eagles game this week. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.




Despite the urgings of City Council, there are still no scheduled negotiations between the SRC and the teachers.  Meanwhile, the District is appealing the injunction placed on the SRC’s attempt to cancel the teachers’ contract.




Read more

October 30th | Posted In Philadelphia

Your Official YIP 2014 Ballot Questions Guide

By Stephen St.Vincent

Vote Badges

On November 4th, Philadelphians will elect a governor, congresspersons, state legislators, and more. They’ll also vote on three ballot measures.

So what’s a ballot measure? What do they do? How can I be an informed voter when it’s my turn to vote “yay” or “nay” on these things?

Being an informed voter on ballot measures is surprisingly difficult. Even I, YIP Advocacy Vice Chair, had to call some seriously knowledgeable people to get anything close to real information on this. Google, sadly, fails voters sometimes.

Below is the text of the ballot initiatives, as well as a plain-text statement and a YIP-provided translation.  Happy voting!  [Disclaimer: YIP takes no official position on any of these questions.]


Question 1

Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to establish and define the functions of the Office of Sustainability, headed by a Director of Sustainability?


Plain English version:


The City’s current Office of Sustainability was established by the Mayor in 2008 to set sustainability targets and to evaluate the City’s progress in meeting those targets. The proposed Charter change would make the Office permanent by formally creating, in the Charter itself, an Office of Sustainability. The Office would be headed by the Director of Sustainability, to be appointed by the Mayor. The Office would be responsible for developing and coordinating the implementation of policies and programs to meet the City’s sustainability goals. These goals will relate to matters such as energy use, air and water quality, tracking of greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste management, access to open space and local and healthy food, tree canopy coverage and climate change preparedness planning.


What does it mean?


The Office of Sustainability was created in 2009 by an administrative order by Mayor Nutter. According to the Office’s website, it strives to set “15 sustainability targets in the areas of energy, environment, equity, economy, and engagement to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America by 2015.”


Is Philadelphia the greenest city? Maybe a bit ambitious. Portland, Oregon still exists, after all (and the Maine one, too). But, as of now, this office is subject to the whims of the current mayor. Our next mayor could disband the office entirely.


This ballot measure would prevent that from happening by making the office permanent by adding it to the City Charter. Not much about what the Office does would be any different; it would just be permanent.


Question 2

Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to transfer responsibility for managing and operating the City’s jails from the Department of Public Welfare and the Board of Trustees of Philadelphia Prisons to a new Department of Prisons and Board of Trustees?


Plain English version:


Currently, the City’s Home Rule Charter assigns the responsibility of operating the City’s prisons to two entities. The Board of Trustees of Philadelphia Prisons is responsible for the direction and control of the management of the City’s prisons, which includes selection of the Superintendent of the City’s prisons, who administers the City’s prisons. The Department of Public Welfare (commonly referred to as the Department of Human Services, or “DHS”) has general supervisory responsibility in connection with the City’s prisons.

The proposed Charter change would create a new Department of Prisons, responsible for operating the City’s prisons. The Department would be headed by a Prisons Commissioner, who would supervise the management and operation of the City’s prisons. He or she also would be responsible for maintaining a program for facilitating the reintegration of individuals returning from incarceration. The Prisons Commissioner would be appointed by, and would report to, the City’s Managing Director. The Board of Trustees of Philadelphia Prisons would be responsible for adopting standards and guidelines to be considered by the Prisons Commissioner when making policy relating to the City’s prisons.


What does it mean?


If you thought Question 1 was getting deep into the bureaucratic weeds, boy does Question 2 have a surprise in store for you!

Right now, City jails are run by the Department of Human Services (DHS) – the same Department that’s responsible for abused and neglected children, as well as for employing your humble author.  Foster care and prison probably don’t go together, but this is how things were set up for some ancient reason.

Technically, then, the Department of Prisons is subordinate to DHS. Functionally, it operates pretty independently.  This ballot measure would pull Prisons out and make it its own, full-grown Department. In addition, the Mayor’s Office of Re-entry would join the new Department of Prisons, putting all of the City’s prison eggs into one concrete-and-barbed-wire basket.

This would also allow the new Prisons commissioner to appoint his/her own deputies (each commissioner gets a certain set number). In theory, this would allow the commissioner to have greater control over the department by allowing him/her to install employees that will best work towards whatever vision the commissioner sets forth.  Right now, deputies are either pre-existing civil-service employees or appointments generously bequeathed by the DHS commissioner.

There doesn’t appear to be any pushback on this by the labor unions.

Just to clarify: this initiative will not result in the building of more prisons.  It’s a common misconception.  This is just a bureaucratic shuffle.


Question 3


Should the City of Philadelphia borrow ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-SEVEN MILLION TWO HUNDRED NINETY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($137,295,000.00) to be spent for and toward capital purposes as follows: Transit; Streets and Sanitation; Municipal Buildings; Parks, Recreation and Museums; and Economic and Community Development?


Plain English statement:


This ballot question, if approved by the voters, would authorize the City to borrow $137,295,000 for capital purposes, thereby increasing the City’s indebtedness by $137,295,000. Capital purposes means, generally, to make expenditures that will result in something of value with a useful life to the City of more than five years, for example, acquisitions of real estate, or construction of or improvements to buildings, property or streets.

The money to be borrowed would be used by the City for five identified purposes, namely, Transit; Streets and Sanitation; Municipal Buildings; Parks, Recreation and Museums; and Economic and Community Development, all in specific amounts identified in Bill No. 140511 (approved September __, 2014). City Council would have authority, by ordinance, to change the intended allocation of these proceeds.

What does it mean?


OH MAN IT SOUNDS LIKE SO MUCH MORE MONEY WHEN YOU PUT IT IN ALL CAPS!  Alright, here’s the deal: The City has decided that it needs more money to fix stuff or buy stuff that it needs. To get the cash quickly, it wants to borrow that money in the form of a bond.  Any such debt would have to be paid off in the future.

Governments do this sort of thing all the time. Maybe you think this is a good thing, maybe you don’t. I’m not an economist, so I can’t help you there.

The practical implications are important but relatively limited. The only real danger to the City is if we fail to pay the bond back. That would hurt our credit rating (which is pretty good right now, a reflection on the City’s good track record of paying back loans). A poor credit rating would make future borrowing more expensive, or even could prevent the City from borrowing altogether.


Special thanks to Patrick Christmas, Senior Policy Analyst at the Committee of Seventy, for his insight and advice

October 26th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 10/19 – 10/26 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee

(Southeastern PA’s absurdly gerrymandered legislative districts)


Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while riding the emotional roller coaster that was the Eagles game this week. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.


[Editor’s note: Sorry for taking a week off.  Back to normal posting schedules!]



A Common Pleas judge granted a preliminary injunction against the SRC’s suspension of the teachers’ contract.  For you non-lawyers: (1) well done not becoming lawyers; (2) this means that the contract stays in place at least temporarily while the lawsuit progresses, but it is not a final ruling.


Gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf says he would disband the SRC.  Governor Corbett discussed the same issues a week earlier.
Controller Butkovitz says the way that charter school funding is calculated is flawed.  His office claims that the calculation deprives non-charters of funding disproportionately.



Read more

October 15th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 10/6 – 10/13 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee


Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while riding the emotional roller coaster that was the Eagles game this week. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.


[Editor’s note: Yup, it’s Wednesday evening, not Monday.  Sometimes your humble editors are too busy to meet their own deadlines.  Please accept even-more-belated Philly news!  It’s not as pretty or flowerly as usual, but it’s still just as awesome.  Mostly.]



Students strike in support of teachers

In response to last week’s nullification of the teachers’ contract by the SRC, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf has come out in favor of abolishing the SRC and replacing with a locally-elected school board.  We’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if the Philly political process would actually produce a group capable of more effective school governance.

As a result of the cancelling of the teachers’ contract, the District allocated more funds to schools.


Read more

October 15th | Posted In Philadelphia, Policy

Recycling Right

By Phil Bresee & Michelle Feldman


Every day seems to bring another good piece of “green” news in Philadelphia: new parks in underutilized spaces, bike share, and the success of City initiatives like Green City, Clean Waters, TreePhilly, and the new energy benchmarking program, to name a few.

One success story you might not know as much about, however, is the City’s recycling program. So let’s look at the facts:

Since Mayor Nutter took office in 2008, Philadelphia has seen a 155% increase in tonnage of materials recycled

New materials have been consistently added to the City’s recycling program, including cartons and cardboard

The Philadelphia Streets Department has distributed tens of thousands of recycling bins to residents in every corner of the City

195,000 households have signed up for the Recycling Rewards incentive program, where Philadelphians can earn points for recycling and then redeem those points for coupons and discounts (Eligible, but not signed up? Sign up here! Signed up already? Make sure you’re logging in to your account and collecting your rewards!)

And if you’re a business owner, the Streets Department has you covered with their new Business Recycling Toolkit

All of this has made a measureable impact, too. According to the City’s Recycling Office and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Philadelphia’s recycling efforts in 2012 alone helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Not to mention, the City actually makes money from recycling (to the tune of about ten million dollars a year).

So, great, right? We’re doing a really awesome job at recycling in Philadelphia. Go, team!

But that’s not quite the end of the story.

Increasing participation in Philadelphia’s recycling program can too often lead to (innocent) recycling mistakes. As we approach America Recycles Day (a national holiday for us recycling fanatics), it’s important to remind ourselves of what you should and shouldn’t throw in your blue bin.

First and foremost, no plastic bags! They tear easily and end up damaging processing equipment at recycling facilities. Return your plastic shopping bags to specially-marked drop off locations at supermarkets or big box stores. Better yet, figure out a trick to remind yourself to bring that reusable bag along with you to the grocery store, and cut down on your usage of plastic bags. And in no circumstances should you put your recyclables in an opaque or black plastic bag. They’ll be mistaken as regular trash.

Other common “problem items” found in Philadelphia’s recycling stream include:

Food waste (consider composting!)

Garden Hoses

Wire and Christmas Tree Lights

Small appliances

And if in doubt, consult the Streets Department’s comprehensive list of what is and is not recyclable in the City.

With so many exciting things happening all over Philadelphia, it can be easy to forget about every-day municipal functions like our recycling program, and how they impact the health of the City. So we leave you with a call to action: keep up to date on what you can and cannot recycle in Philadelphia, and urge at least one friend to do the same. Then ask that friend to tell someone else. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Phil Bresee is the City of Philadelphia’s Recycling Director, where he oversees and supports programs and policy planning for the City’s recycling program, one of the largest in the country.

Michelle Feldman is the Executive Director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, and Outreach Chair for YIP. You can reach her with questions about recycling at, or find her on twitter at @michelle92486

October 6th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 9/30- 10/05 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee


Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while riding the emotional roller coaster that was the Eagles game this week. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.



Late breaking: the SRC cancels the teachers’ union contract. We can expect a lawsuit over this move, which felt very sneaky to many, given that the only notice of the meeting to do this move was a small, legally mandated notice in Sunday’s Inquirer

Charter schools: Less-than-stellar oversight of charter schools may have cost Pennsylvania’s schools $30 million.

Positive news!  A city magnet school has been named one of the nation’s best schools.

The cigarette tax means more charter schools, thanks to a compromise forced by House Republicans.

Read more

October 6th | Posted In Philadelphia

Know a great Philly public servant? Nominate them for the Dilworth Award

By Jim Saksa

Dilworth-11x17 (2)

It’s always nice to get a little recognition for a job well done. Most of us can enjoy the simple pleasures of hearing a “thanks” or “good job” when we do something well at work.  But if there is a group of people who toil unnoticed at best, and under the hyper critical scrutiny of complete strangers at worst, it’s city government workers.

More often than not, their work goes unnoticed. When it doesn’t, its usually because something is screwed up.

That’s why Mayor Nutter established the Richardson Dilworth Award for Distinguished Public Service a few years ago.  It’s to say “Hey, usually anonymous bureaucrat – I noticed that you did a great job here, and made Philly better, so let me say thanks.”

This year, the award program has expanded and includes two new award categories, honoring Innovation in Government and Excellence in Public Service.

You can help give your favorite civic servant the attention he or she deserves by nominating them for the Dilworth Award.

If you know someone who has helped make your city a better place to live, work, or play, please submit a nomination at Nominations are accepted through November 14th.

September 29th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 9/23- 9/29 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee


Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while salsa dancing at the Puerto Rican Day parade. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.



Cigarette tax passed: Lawmakers in Harrisburg finally passed the $2-per-pack cigarette tax, after months of delays. It’s unclear whether the amounts raised by this tax will be enough to close the budget gap, and the delayed implementation certainly cost the city money.

City Council approves $30 million loan for the School District. The loans will be paid back using the city’s 1 percent sales tax surcharge, which was extended recently to help cover the huge drops in state funding for schools.

Class sizes: Some schools are facing serious overcrowding problems, with some classes of 35 students being taught by a strings of substitutes. Elsewhere, classes with 50 pupils aren’t uncommon. Some parents are having trouble finding schools with free registration slots. This isn’t an easy read, but that’s what makes it an important one.

Test Scores: Turns out that slashing funding doesn’t increase test scores.  Who knew?.

Read more

September 22nd | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 9/16 – 9/22 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee


Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while getting ready to welcome DeSean back to town. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.



City Council approved a referrendum calling for the abolishment of the School Reform Commission (SRC). Mayor Nutter would have to sign it, then Philadelphians would have to vote to approve it, and then the General Assembly and the Governor and the SRC would have to decide to care.  Right now, the SRC views the vote as “symbolic.” which, to be fair, is all it is.

11 more School District buildings were sold.

Will PA review and/or revise its Common Core-like standards?  Tune in … sometime in the future to find out, as the House has postponed hearings indefinitely.

So long: After just a hot second on the job, the founding principal of the LINC school is abandoning ship.  After (checks watch) months of dedicated service, Saliyah Cruz is leaving for an undisclosed job in Baltimore.

Read more

September 15th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 9/6 – 9/15 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee


Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while planning out your Restaurant Week. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.



School is no longer out for summer, which means Alice Cooper lied to us.

School Reform Commission: The Teachers’ Union is angry over City Council’s refusal to add a non-binding referendum to the November ballot asking Philadelphians whether the School District should be controlled by the School Reform Commission or a local school board. The SRC can only be disbanded by a vote of the SRC itself or an act of the state legislature.

The Notebook will have a new focus this year: children’s behavioral health issues.

Raw numbers on school performance, for your perusal.

Read more

September 12th | Posted In Philadelphia

Football’s Call to Action

By Stephen St. Vincent


Monday was a hard day for football fans.  Between the publication of the security footage showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice beating his then-fiancée into unconsciousness and the NCAA’s surprising decision to rescind the penalties that it had imposed on Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, it’s fair to say that everyone who follows the sport was left with mixed emotions at best.

It’s not YIP’s place to comment on whether the NFL’s handling of the issue of domestic violence is right or wrong; nor is it our place, as an organization, to comment on whether the NCAA was right in reversing its sanctions against Penn State.  There are plenty of arguments to be had about any number of points, and reasonable people can disagree about many of them.

But there are two points that are not in dispute: (1) domestic violence is abhorrent, it needs to be stopped, and its victims need all the help we can give them; and (2) child abuse is abhorrent, it needs to be stopped, and its victims need all the help we can give them.

Please take Monday as a call to action.  There are many great organizations in and around Philadelphia that do amazing work in the fields of domestic violence and child abuse.  A handful of them are listed below.  If you want to make a difference, you could try boycotting the NFL or NCAA football.  But if you want to change a victim’s life, you should donate to or volunteer for these organizations.  This list is far from exhaustive, which just shows you how many opportunities you have to do the one thing we hope all of you will do: get involved.

Domestic violence organizations:


Child abuse/child welfare organizations:

September 10th | Posted In Millennial, Politics

Framing the Problem: Lack of Young People in Politics

By Nick Marzano

Only 53% of millennials get this reference

Only 53% of millennials get this reference

There is a lack of engagement in Philly politics on the part of young people. Two big, simple facts back that up.

The Big, Simple Facts Section

Fact 1: 18-29 year-old voter turnout has been abysmally low in primaries and non-presidential general elections.

Former YIP President and bona fide political smarty-pants, Josh McNeil, wrote the following and I, recognizing his sagacity and my own laziness, will simply cut-and-paste it here: Read more

September 8th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 8/31 – 9/6 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee

dilworth park

Children dance in Dilworth Park’s new fountains – photo credit

Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed finalizing your fantasy football lineups and getting weird at the Philly Fringe. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.



Good News! All PSD students are eligible for free meals.

Bad News! Early morning school is bad for students’ health.

Sorta Good News! No Philly Schools are on “persistently dangerous” list. This is due to a drop in total violent incidents; however, the rate of violence per student population has remained constant since the district has lost population.

Really Bad News! Philly Schools open on time, but under the threat of looming layoffs and massive budget cuts.

Read more

July 28th | Posted In Philadelphia

Nick Foles – Sports Media Kryptonite?

By Tim Reilly


Nick Foles. Man. Myth?

On Friday, members of the Philadelphia Eagles alit at the NovaCare Complex to commence preparations for their 2014 NFL campaign. The Eagles begin their second year under the stewardship of head coach Chip Kelly and boast one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. Returning to pilot the offense is Pro Bowl quarterback Nick Foles, who led the league in passer rating while tossing 27 touchdowns and throwing just two interceptions. Last season, the team overachieved to the tune of a 10-6 record, an NFC East Division title, and an unexpected playoff appearance. Despite the pressure of a stronger schedule and the burden of heightened hopes, the Eagles appear primed to continue their success and compete for the Super Bowl.

Read more

July 18th | Posted In SOYP

15 Ways to Host an Awesome State of Young Philly Event

By Mike Kaiser

We want your State of Young Philly event to be the best it can be. Over the years, we’ve learned what does and doesn’t work for our members and we want to share what we know. Below you’ll find our top ways to make your event both successful and engaging. We hope these insights will get the gears turning and give you a better idea of the ways you can participate in SOYP.

Don’t forget the deadline to submit an event proposal is Thursday, July 31st and this year’s State of Young Philly will be held November 14th through 22nd.


Make sure to hold your event at a venue that fits your goals and size of expected audience. Ideally, the history and purpose of the venue itself ties into the themes of your event. This will also make it easier to partner with venues if missions are aligned. is a great resource for finding some new and unique locations around town.




Ensure that different viewpoints and backgrounds are represented at your event — age, race, gender, geographic, levels of experience, etc. Above is an example from our event on young entrepreneurship held in August 2013. Speaker bios and headshots can easily be compiled as a way to promote your event to your network and theirs.



In our experience, by charging a small fee of $5 or $10 you will ensure a much more solid commitment from attendees upfront and be able to put this revenue into covering costs — by either offering refreshments or something additional at the event that will draw folks in.



That said, free events are still an option — given that it is a good fit. They should be able to naturally draw in a large crowd or be attractive to a specific, niche audience. Above all, put yourself in the attendee’s shoes and think, “what is the real motive to come to this event?” Have questions? Email us at




Hashtags work very well for YIP events and our members use them to tag photos on Instagram and post updates on Twitter. These photos and comments can become great ways to look back on your event but more importantly serve as an avenue to continue the conversation after the event concludes and connect with the folks you didn’t get a chance to meet in person.



Many YIP members rely exclusively on SEPTA to get around, so take that into consideration when planning your event and make note of transit directions when you are advertising. It’s not a deal breaker, but definitely a major a plus.



By simply elevating your speakers onto platforms like the ones pictured here at the Citizens Planning Institute‘s event, you can immediately quiet the room (often a difficult task) and capture the attention of the attendees. Also, by inviting multiple people to speak and giving them brief amounts of time (5-7 minutes) you can cover more topics in just a few hours.



With a couple stacks of Post-Its and markers, ask one (or a few) questions and have attendees write down and post their answers on the wall. Think: What questions would you want to ask young people in Philadelphia? Gather the feedback, document it, and share it out.



Prepare an experience for attendees with a behind-the-scenes and hands-on look at your work, a local institution, or an overlooked part of Philadelphia. Walking tours can be either indoors or outdoors and are a way to have people experience a place first hand rather than simply talking about it. YIP members prefer to move around and roll up their sleeves over sitting and listening.





You can provide a way for everyone in the room to meet each other with a timed and structured speed networking session. Divide the room into two sections, put the time on the clock, and go. This format could also be used to brainstorm or discuss ideas around a certain issue of topic. It could also be used to introduce communities that may not have formed connections (i.e. generational, industry, neighborhood, transplant vs. locals, etc.)



We suggest adding in a networking and/or workshop component before or after a panel discussion. This photo is from a State of Young Philly 2013 event about the ways to develop your career and find employment in Philadelphia. After the event, attendees were invited to have their resumes reviewed by experts during a workshop.



Utilize an app like Poll Everywhere to pose a question to the audience and gauge live feedback on-site. With a projector you can share the results in real time.



No matter what format your event takes, consider your Twitter strategy. As mentioned above about hashtags, Twitter is an easy and simple way to amplify the message of your event. Post quotes, photos, and the handles of speakers, attendees and organizations so that even those not physically in the room can participate online. If you need something say during a transition point or a question for a speaker, read some interesting comments from Twitter users.



Maybe you don’t even need to have a venue for your event. Or maybe your keynote speaker can’t make it to Philadelphia for the only day that works for you… Think about creating a Google Hangout to host your discussion virtually. Folks can easily drop in and participate from anywhere and it’s cost effective. Bonus: you can easily record video of the Hangout and share it later.





A Twitter Chat is another virtual (and cost effective) option and possibly a way to bring in some national voices to your event. You’ll see the example above has all the trappings of an in-person gathering: a date, time, speakers, and discussion topic… but the venue is the hashtag and Twitter.

Now it’s up to you. Go forth and send us your idea for a State of Young Philly event.

July 15th | Posted In Trivia

Trivia Tuesday!

By Jim Saksa

Isn’t quizzo the greatest?  Whether you are a New Deck purist who spells it with just one ‘z’, or prefer to win “adult” toys at a round of Kinky Quizzo, you can’t help but to love the thrill of being the only person at your table who knows who Isaiah Zagar is‡.

To celebrate my love of quizzo (which is one of the reasons #whyilovephilly), I give you a Philly-focused trivia question every Tuesday. Answers after the jump.

This week’s trivia question: Last week, YIP had a meeting with the Committee of 70 to start planning some great events (make sure you’re getting – and reading – our newsletter, so you can find out what they are when we announce them!). The Committee of 70 is Philly’s storied, non-partisan government watchdog. It was established in 1904 for the explicit purpose of combatting corruption in Philadelphia. But what’s up with that name?  Why 70?

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