Many hours after being sworn in as Philadelphia’s 99th Mayor at the Academy of Music, Mr. Jim Kenney held a party, catered by food trucks, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center; it was a grand yet still casual gathering that was preceded by a VIP fundraiser – the Mayor’s family was in attendance – that benefited the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, a relatively new institution led by Mrs. Donna Frisby-Greenwood, a former local program manager for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, that works to cultivate donors whose generosity increases the likelihood that the city’s students have access to critical education services.
On the evening of January 4th, more than a half million dollars was raised for the Fund, and Mrs. Greenwood in her speech presented the Mayor, who was partially responsible for drumming up donors, as a public servant committed to the cause and a politician who kept his campaign promise. As a Mayoral candidate, Mr. Kenney, a former City Councilman of more than two decades, declared himself a friend of public education and said he wouldn’t twiddle his thumbs and wait for Harrisburg to mitigate the funding crisis but rather he, along with those who support him, would find money to provide for student’s needs.
Now as Mayor, Mr. Kenney will once again serve as a spokesman of sorts for the Fund, and this time it’s on ‘Giving Tuesday,’ when the world appears altruistic en masse and gleefully supports causes and institutions. Mr. Kenney—who told me last month that his legacy is dependent on his ability to provide quality Pre-K programs and rebuild the city’s parks, recreational centers and libraries—will be specifically advocating for The Right Books campaign, an initiative of the Fund aimed at increasing students’ literacy skills.
The Mayor began said advocacy a day early, telling listeners this evening on 900am-WURD, the city’s black talk radio station, that Philadelphia’s kids have waited too long for a quality education, including top-notch schools and materials, and “we need to make sure we provide them, even if Washington and Harrisburg won’t.”
Along with Mrs. Greenwood, Mr. Kenney on Tuesday morning will visit first, second and third grade classrooms at South Philadelphia’s Nebinger School, the beneficiary of new classroom libraries from the Fund.
The education agenda should be our only agenda … it’s the only thing that truly matters, the Mayor today said on-air.
“Education is the key to a fulfilled life,” he added.
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