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Who’s Next, The Givers: 15 young Philadelphians shaping the city’s philanthropy sector

When a tragic car accident in 2012 left 27-year-old Tariq Mangum a quadriplegic, he made it his mission to channel it into something great: He created a foundation and now works with underserved kids in the city to build self-esteem and positive image in them. Mangum is one of the city’s many givers.

He’s joined by Jessica Craft, a 30-year-old who works every day to help Philadelphia’s children learn music at no cost to them or their families. Or Briana Morgan, a young Philadelphian dedicated to providing resources to those in the city with HIV/AIDS.

Billy Penn continues our mission to identify up-and-coming leaders in this city — dynamic young people who are making a difference in their vocation or volunteer efforts. This month’s Who’s Next profiles some of the movers and shakers in the nonprofit and philanthropy sector, and the people who were nominated by their peers as the next generation of leaders in the city.

As usual, we plan to continue featuring some of the city’s best young leaders. We have some ideas, but your feedback is essential — please reach out to contact@billypenn.com with “Who’s Next” in the subject line to suggest other topics or nominations you’d like us to consider.

Here’s who’s next in Philadelphia, The Givers edition:

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1. Alex Balloon

Title: Director, Tacony Community Development Corporation

Age: 30

Who’s Next because: Balloon has become a recognized leader in neighborhood revitalization, working in the Tacony neighborhood of Philadelphia. This spring, he helped lead the effort to save the City of Philadelphia’s popular Storefront Improvement Program, and in just three years, he renovated 16 storefronts with another 11 planned in the coming year. He has worked with new businesses and investmentsto generate momentum in the neighborhood. Said the person who nominated Balloon: “As the only full-time staff member of an organization located in an oft-forgotten outer neighborhood, Alex has put the historic Tacony commercial corridor back on the map, and has plans for more.” Find him on Twitter at @axballoon.

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2. Otis Bullock

Title: Executive Director, Diversified Community Services

Age: 36

Who’s Next because: Diversified Community Services, led by Bullock, is the largest nonprofit in Point Breeze and works to strengthen and coordinate the Point Breeze and surrounding communities’ efforts on behalf of children, youth and families, especially those that are most vulnerable. Bullock also served as the Outreach Director for the 2007 Nutter for Mayor Campaign and, after a successful campaign, he joined the administration as the Deputy Executive Director at the Mayor’s Office of Community Service. Nutter later appointed Bullock as the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Service and, in this capacity, he was responsible for managing about $7 million of state and federal grant funds and developing anti-poverty initiatives. He is a recent recipient of the 2015 MLK “Drum Major for Justice” Award, and the 2012 Legacy of Leadership Award, presented by West Chester University. Find him on Twitter at @OtisBullock.

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3. Jessica Craft

Title: Founding Executive Director, Rock to the Future

Age: 30

Who’s Next because: In 2010, Craft won the $15,000 Turning Point Prize from Women for Social Innovation and left her prestigious financial services job to start Rock to the Future – a nonprofit organization that provides free contemporary music education for underserved Philadelphia youth. Craft worked on a volunteer basis for the first two years of Rock to the Future until the organization secured additional funding and, in only five years, the organization has grown from serving 13 youth to over 300 youth annually. She has been featured in The New York Times, at the PA Conference for Women, on iHeartRadio, and was named Featured Woman in Music at the Tau Beta Sigma Northeastern Conference. Find her on Twitter at @Rock2Future.

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4. Nehemiah Davis

Title: Co-founder of the Nehemiah Davis Foundation

Age: 28

Who’s Next because: In 2007, this native of West Philadelphia co-founded the non-profit Nehemiah Davis Foundation with his mother Myra Grant. He also co-founded NDent Worldwide Group, LLC, through which he has formed numerous businesses that promote social change and community development. Since then, Davis and his enterprises have hosted the community-driven events like the annual Holiday Gifts from Heaven event and the annual Thanksgiving Feast from Heaven event, at which NDF feeds veterans, homeless people and families. He also organizes an annual Back-to-School drive, where more than 400 families receive school supplies, clothing and food. These initiatives have affected more than 20,000 Philadelphia residents and have had a philanthropic impact on the community totaling over $70,000. Find him on Twitter at @NeoDaviso.

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5. Philip Fitzgerald

Title: Program Officer, The Philadelphia Foundation

Age: 35

Who’s Next because: Fitzgerald is a program officer at The Philadelphia Foundation and oversees the Fund for Children Strategic Investment in Youth portfolio. There, he evaluates the effectiveness of grant requests, and works with grantees to develop strategies and opportunities. Previously, he was Community Engagement Manager for VILLA, directing corporate giving and community outreach and managed a private-public grant-making initiative to improve early childhood education at Nonprofit Finance Fund. In addition, he is the Treasurer of the Spruce Foundation, vice chair of the Philadelphia chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, founding member of the Greater Philadelphia Black Philanthropic Network, board member of Independence Charter School West and an active member of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia. Find him on Twitter at @philfitzgerald.

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6. Kate Houstoun

Title: Program Officer, The Barra Foundation

Age: 36

Who’s Next because: Houstoun joined The Barra Foundation in 2012 from the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. As a program officer at the Barra Foundation, she is a strong supporter of health and human services-focused nonprofits in the Philadelphia region. She also chairs the board of directors of Ready, Willing, and Able Philadelphia, an organization focused on dealing with homelessness and substance abuse. In the past, she served as Deputy Director for The Doe Fund, a New York-based nonprofit organization that serves formerly incarcerated and homeless adults. Houstoun is also a Truman National Security Project fellow and a past fellow of the Center for Progressive Leadership. Houstoun served on the Board of Young Involved Philadelphia from 2004-2008 and has served as a Mayoral appointee to the Mayor’s Office of Community Services and SEPTA’s Citizen Advisory Council. Find her on Twitter at @philacentrist.

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7. Matt Joyce

Title: Executive Director, GreenLight Fund Philadelphia

Age: 34

Who’s Next because: Joyce runs the GreenLight Fund, a philanthropic fund with roots in the venture capital community that supports high performing nonprofit organizations that serve low-income children, youth and families by expanding their models to new markets. In Philadelphia, GreenLight has launched local sites of Year Up, Single Stop USA and the Center for Employment Opportunities. Prior to GreenLight, Matt served as a co-founder and co-director of Philly Fellows, a service and leadership program connecting top college graduates with capacity-building positions in Philadelphia’s nonprofit sector. Additionally, he has worked with the William Penn Foundation and the Philadelphia Committee to End Homelessness. Find him on Twitter at @GreenLightPHL.

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8. Lauren Kobylarz

Title: Program Manager at Students Run Philly Style

Age: 29

Who’s Next because: Kobylarz joined the staff of Students Run Philly Style in January 2014 after serving as a volunteer mentor with the program for four years. As the Program Manager, she is the primary point person for the training and development of 200 volunteer mentors, from recruitment through the completion of the season. More than 1,000 youth from Philadelphia participate in the program each year, learning goal-setting and discipline through training for long-distance road races like the Blue Cross Broad Street Run and the Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon. Before joining the Students Run Philly Style staff, Kobylarz worked in development at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, where she created the Justice For All 5K run/walk to raise funds and awareness of the organization’s antipoverty work. To date, the event has raised more than $100,000 for CLS, its sister organization Philadelphia Legal Assistance, and most recently, Back on My Feet Philadelphia. Find her on Twitter at @lkobylarz.

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9. Jen and Marion Leary

Title: Founder, Red Paw Emergency Relief Team; Founder, Sink or Swim Philadelphia

Age: 37

Who’s Next because: Both Jen and Marion were nominated for Who’s Next for different reasons, but both have over the years demonstrated a commitment to giving to the people (and animals) of Philadelphia. Jen began working with the American Red Cross in 2006 as an Emergency Services volunteer and, upon graduating from the Philadelphia Fire Academy in 2007, she joined the Philadelphia County Animal Response Team, which responds to large-scale disasters in Philadelphia County that affect animals. In 2010, Jennifer took over as the PCART coordinator. In 2011, she founded the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team which responds to fires and other residential disasters in the southeastern PA region. She retired from the Philadelphia Fire Department last year to work on Red Paw full time. Find her on Twitter at @learyjen and @redpawrelief.

Marion is co-founder of Resuscor, LLC, a Penn UPstart company focusing on cardiac arrest and resuscitation science medical education, innovation and technology. She also founded Sink or Swim Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization whose mission was to help uninsured or underinsured people use social media and crowdfunding to raise money for medical expenses. She’s assistant director of clinical research for the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Marion focuses her research, education and clinical care on cardiac arrest, CPR quality and therapeutic hypothermia, and serves on the American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science subcommittee and the Cardiovascular Nursing subcommittee. Find her on Twitter at @marionleary.

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10. Tariq Mangum

Title: President, the Mangum Foundation

Age: 27

Who’s Next because: In April 2012, Mangum was in a severe car accident that rendered him quadriplegic, but he says the support system that he was given challenged him to find a way to provide the same support to the community. The Mangum Foundation was born in 2012, to strengthen communities by involving residents and like-minded organizations. The Mangum Foundation’s ultimate goal is to help build facilities in order to assist and accommodate the communities in Philadelphia. Current programming includes helping autistic families and the Young Intellects program, which focuses on building self-esteem in children. The Foundation also runs AC FAIRHILL, a year-round soccer program in the poverty-stricken Philadelphia neighborhood. Find the Mangum Foundation on Twitter at @MangumFund.

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11. Mo Manklang

Title: Interim Executive Director, Generocity.org

Age: 33

Who’s Next because: Manklang is the interim executive director at Generocity.org, the niche news site covering social impact in Philly. After starting her own nonprofit for the arts, only to realize its mission was best served by joining forces with other arts organizations, Manklang now tries to show how collaboration, communication and creative solutions can make Philly a better place. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, promoting the local cooperative economy, and is co-founder of the upcoming Bechdel Fest, the city’s first ever women’s comedy festival. Find her on Twitter at @MoManklang.

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12. Kathy Meck

Title: Director of Development, the Bethesda Project

Age: 32

Who’s Next because: In May 2014, Meck joined Bethesda Project — a Philadelphia-based group that looks to identify and care for the city’s homeless and poor — after serving as the Director of Development and Marketing at the Center for Literacy. While at Center for Literacy, Meck spearheaded an innovative joint fundraising and marketing campaign that resulted in a $15,000 corporate grant and a combined 23 percent increase in social media following across Facebook and Twitter. Most recently, she spearheaded a partnership with Diner en Noir, where Bethesda Project had been named the 2015 event charity partner. She has also worked as an independent consultant to organizations such as the HCM Foundation and the South Street Headhouse District. Meck is currently pursuing her Certified Fundraising Executive credential, and has served on the all-women philanthropy group, Impact100.

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13. Briana Morgan

Title: Health planner, data geek and writer

Age: 29

Who’s Next because: Morgan has been working in public health in Philadelphia since 2007, focusing primarily on HIV/AIDS. Much of her work centers on connecting nonprofits and local leaders with the data and the tools they need to boost their impact. She’s a co-organizer for Philly NetSquared, a group that facilitates the use of technology for social change, and a board member for the Philadelphia Area New Media Association. She’s active in Code for Philly, where she’s working to make public health data more accessible to the public, and a volunteer with her alma mater, Bryn Mawr College. Briana is also a writer and co-creator of Rebel Public Health. The person who nominated Briana said: “Briana has always shown a huge compassion for those less fortunate. Since joining the Office of HIV Planning in 2007, she has dedicated her time to educating the public about health issues and this reaches far beyond her job to much of her free time… Philadelphia and it’s citizens are her first love.” Find her on Twitter at @babefromtoyland.

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14. Julie Wertheimer

Title: Deputy Director of Public Safety for the City of Philadelphia/ Vice President of the Spruce Foundation

Age: 30

Who’s Next because: In her day job as Deputy Director of Public Safety for the City of Philadelphia, Wertheimer has brought in almost $100 million in federal, state and private funding, much of which has been directed to community-based service providers and nonprofits. She also works with The Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia to connect funders to nonprofits addressing the issue of youth safety. Outside the office, Wertheimer serves as Vice President of Governance for the Spruce Foundation, an all volunteer foundation that cultivates the next generation of philanthropists through community giving and grant-making in support of Philadelphia’s youth. Under her leadership, Spruce has developed into a professional grant-making entity awarding $20,000 annually to nonprofits in the community. Additionally, Wertheimer was one of the non-parent founders of Friends of Greenfield Elementary, to raise money and awareness for the education crisis by engaging those without school-age children, with a focus on the elementary school in her neighborhood. Find her on Twitter at @JulieWerth.

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