Joe Banner, Phil Behr & City Year Greater Philadelphia

Daily Point of Light # 3510 Jul 18, 2007

Joe Banner, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Philadelphia Eagles since 2001, serves on several boards and was a dynamic force behind the Eagles Tackling Breast Cancer Campaign that raised nearly $750,000 over the last three years.

Phil Behr, Managing Partner at Navigator Equity Partners, serves on the advisory board of Cradles to Crayons which supplies clothing, shoes, books, school supplies, or toys to low-income families.

In 1997, Banner and Behr joined together to lead the successful effort to establish City Year Greater Philadelphia (CYGP), the local branch of the premier national service organization that recruits young adults between ages 17 and 24 to commit one year to full-time community service. As President Clinton has publicly stated on numerous occasions, City Year was the stimulus for the creation and development of AmeriCorps, which has already created more than 250,000 national service volunteers. City Year Greater Philadelphia not only provides much-needed help to the Philadelphia School District by tutoring and mentoring students, but it also promotes leadership development and civic engagement in its volunteers—the young adults who will come to shape the worlds of business, medicine, politics, and academia. Banner and Behr joined forces to ask members of City Council and then-Mayor Ed Rendell to support the effort. They organized a benefit dinner that raised more than $20,000 in seed money, and secured a $100,000 planning grant from Safeguard Scientifics that essentially sealed the deal, making Philadelphia the ninth National City Year site.

Under Banner and Behr’s direction, City Year Greater Philadelphia has grown substantially. There are now 17 corporate sponsors in Philadelphia, including Comcast Corporation, which is also a National Corporate Leadership Sponsor. CYGP is the largest National City Year site with 200 corps members engaged in service each year. In just the last two years, more than 42,500 children in the School District of Philadelphia have been impacted by programs organized by corps members. Since 1997, CYGP members have performed more than 2 million hours of community service, with approximately 275,000 hours during the 2006-07 program year.

City Year Greater Philadelphia is celebrating its 10th anniversary at the same time as the Presidents’ Summit is celebrating its 10th anniversary and while the National Conference on Volunteering and Service is in Philadelphia.