News & Events

Philadelphia Futures Stands Against Hate

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For 28 years, Philadelphia Futures has served as the model for high performing, results-oriented college access and success programs across the nation.  We transform lives by breaking down the barriers that have historically excluded low-income, first-generation-to-college students from achieving college success.

Today, we take a stand against racist rhetoric and behavior that threatens our students’ success.  Hate has no place at Philadelphia Futures, in our community, or anywhere in the world.  Silence in the face of racist words and actions is not an option. 

Philadelphia Futures is a place of high expectations, focus, respect, adaptability, accountability, and collaboration…but above all, respect. 

Our students, their success, and their lives matter. 

We welcome our community to join us in speaking out and exploring ways we can work together to ensure that our students succeed in college and in a world premised on respect and dignity. 


Help Philadelphia Futures Celebrate the Next Step!

Celebrate the Next Step
Philadelphia Futures recently received a generous contribution of $50,000 from a family with deep ties to the roots of our organization. This $50,000 gift will match all contributions 1:1 between now and the time of our College Kickoff event in August. Honor our legacy, invest in an exciting new chapter of Philadelphia Futures, and take advantage of this special time-limited opportunity to support our students and the entire Futures community as we take our next steps to continued success. 

Changing the Story: Philadelphia Futures’ 2017 Graduation Celebration

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Philadelphia Futures’ graduation rate from high school is 100%.

This is compared to the national average graduation rate of 83% and Philadelphia’s average graduation rate of 65%. Philadelphia Futures’ rate for enrollment in college is 100%. This is compared to the national rate of 63% and Philadelphia’s rate of 36%.

At Philadelphia Futures, the projected six-year college graduation rate for the class of 2013 is 75%. This is compared to the national average rate of 53%.  For first generation, low-income students, the national average rate for college graduation is 12% and Philadelphia’s average rate is 10%.

Close to 500 members of the Philadelphia Futures community gathered at the Convention Center on Wednesday, June 7, to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 125 scholars who are earning their high school diplomas and college degrees in record numbers and beating all the odds.

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Philadelphia Futures Celebrates National College Signing Day

"Become who you want to be."  

IMG 9180On Monday, May 1, the Philadelphia Futures staff and Class of 2017 scholars took part in a nationwide movement – College Signing Day. Established in 2014 by former First Lady Michelle Obama, National College Signing Day celebrates students taking the next step to college. 

As part of the Reach Higher initiative, Michelle Obama launched Better Make Room – a campaign to change the national conversation on education, connect with students, and celebrate college. Better Make Room gives students and their families, mentors and others a space to reflect and honor the hard work that goes into the college admissions process, the great feat of being admitted to college and the significance of making their final decisions.

The Class of 2017 Philadelphia Futures Scholars are headed to the following institutions: Arcadia University*,  Babson College, Bloomsburg University, Bryn Mawr College, Community College of Philadelphia, Dickinson College*, Drexel University*, East Stroudsburg University, Franklin & Marshall College*, Gettysburg College*, Lafayette College*, LaSalle University, Lehigh University*Penn State University* (Abington and University Park,) Philadelphia University, Shippensburg University, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania and West Chester University.

View photos of this special day for our students by searching #PFReachHigher and #PFDecision Day on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and view additional photos by clicking here.

*Philadelphia Futures’ partner colleges and universities

Young Men's Initiative Career Day

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The 2017 Career Day was a great success. On Tuesday, April 11, 33 students from the Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) traveled to Comcast Spectacor, PECO, Stradley Ronan, City Councilman Allan Domb’s office, Glenmede Investments, Aria Healthcare and Macquarie Group (formerly Delaware Investments). The young men were given the invaluable experience of being exposed to the world of work, which provided motivation and knowledge as they continue on their journey to college and career success. Prior to this day, the YMI students spent several weeks preparing in professional development workshops. These workshops covered everything from impression management and business­ dress to understanding workplace terminology.

The young men were outfitted with professional attire from Jos. A Bank and spent the morning of Career Day job shadowing at their respective organizations. The day concluded with a luncheon at the Wells Fargo Center, where the YMI students were able to share their experiences and gain invaluable career advice from Philadelphia Futures Board member Charles T. Scott. They also participated in a photoshoot on the 76ers court and got the chance to shoot some hoops!

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Honoring the White-Williams Scholars Legacy

IMG 8382“In a broader sense, I would define academic excellence as the will to do more, to learn more, to become more. True excellence is walking out of this convocation hungry for more success. True excellence is rising above yourself and doing a bit more than you did yesterday in and out of the classroom.” – Jude Dartey, Sponsor-A-Scholar, Class of 2017

On Wednesday, March 29, Philadelphia Futures hosted the White-Williams Scholars Honors Convocation, celebrating the legacy of White-Williams Scholars and recognizing the academic excellence, commendable character and outstanding commitment of students participating in Philadelphia Futures’ Sponsor-A-Scholar and College Connection Programs.

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Philadelphia Futures Chosen as the First Case Study in "The Benchmarking Project”

After being identified as a high-performing college and success program, Philadelphia Futures was selected as the first of four case studies featured in the Benchmarking Project. 

The National College Access Network (NCAN) announced the results of the first case study done in the Benchmarking Project - a collaboration between NCAN, its members, and the National Student Clearinghouse determining college access and programs’ collective success in guiding students through enrollment and post-secondary success. 

After being identified as a high-performing program that other NCAN members can learn important lessons and strategies from, Philadelphia Futures was selected as the first of four case studies done for the Benchmarking Project. The case study highlighted “Philadelphia Futures’ data-driven decision-making, along with its peer-to-peer support, college admissions marathon, collegiate partnerships, and scholarship provision.” 

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Joan Mazzotti Honored by Philadelphia City Council for 16 Years of Exceptional Leadership


On Thursday, February 16, former Executive Director of Philadelphia Futures, Joan Mazzotti, was honored for her exceptional 16 years of leadership and dedication. 

Philadelphia Futures Board Member and Councilman-At-Large Allan Domb led the presentation of this resolution, which outlined Joan's impactful work. Under Joan's leadership, over 500 students have received their college degrees. An avid believer in educational equality, Joan has lived out her values at Philadelphia Futures every day.  

During her comments, Joan Mazzotti stated, "For the last 16 years, I have been privileged to be the Executive Director of Philadelphia Futures. This has not, for one moment, been a job for me. It is my passion and, in many ways, it has defined me. We are known for the purposeful pursuit of our mission to provide low-income, first-generation-to-college Philadelphia students with the skills, opportunities and resources needed to be admitted to and succeed in college.  We are resolute in helping our students reach their goal of a college degree and professional and personal success."

She continued, "Our results are strong and consistent. One hundred percent of our students graduate high school. Almost all attend college and our graduation rate is trending over 60% against this national rate of 11% of students living with families in the lowest economic quartile. But the true test of our strength of our organization is found in the success of our alums. In 2016, we surveyed our alums to evaluate the long-term outcomes of students who participated in the programs and as Councilman Allan Domb noted, the results exceeded our expectations."

View photos by clicking here.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Philadelphia Futures’ Sponsor-A-Scholar Alumni Survey Report Issued

Philadelphia Futures conducts a survey to assess students’ outcomes post-college and measure long-term impact of its work. 

Since 1990, Philadelphia Futures has supported the college aspirations of Philadelphia's low-income, first-generation-to-college students through its centerpiece program, Sponsor-A-Scholar (SAS.) With an average college graduation rate of 60% and a college graduation rate as high as 77% for individual classes, the Program’s results have far exceeded the 14% national college graduation rate for students from the lowest income quartile and are comparable to the 60% college graduation rate for students from high socioeconomic backgrounds. 

To look at students’ lives beyond college graduation and measure the long-term impact of its work, Philadelphia Futures engaged Elena Tamanas Ragusa Consulting to conduct a survey of Sponsor-A-Scholar alumni. For purposes of the survey, an alum was defined as a Program participant in the high school classes of 1994 through 2011 who completed his/her associate degree, bachelor's degree or received a certificate from a post-secondary program by 2015.  

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Annual Conference 2017: Taking the Next Step and Celebrating a Legacy

Legacy 16 logoOn Saturday January 7, Philadelphia Futures held its 2017 Annual Conference. Despite an unexpected snowfall, over 600 high school students, collegians, parents, mentors, guests and Board members attended the Conference, which was held on the campus of Drexel University. 

The theme of the 2017 Conference, “Taking the Next Step,” not only recognized Executive Director Joan Mazzotti as she steps down from her position, but also the important next steps to be taken by Philadelphia Futures’ students as they advance in school and careers. 

The Annual Conference began with opening remarks from Joan who stressed to the audience that we must remain purposeful in our mission, strong in our execution and unyielding in our beliefs. "Philadelphia Futures is a beautifully inclusive community, grounded in the respect we have for each other. Accordingly we must unwaveringly reaffirm that we are one with members of our community who are of color, identify as LGBTQ, and are non-United States citizens or members of religious groups who are threatened with governmental restrictions.” 

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