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December 23rd | Posted In Philadelphia

The Kids are Alright: This Year in Young Involved Philly

By Michelle Feldman

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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?

Happy Hours, Run Clubs, Coffee Chats, and Book Clubs – Oh My

The heart of our mission at YIP is connecting young Philadelphians to each other, and to opportunities to get involved in the City. Our regular roster of programming supports that mission.

We hosted monthly Get Involved Happy Hours, where local nonprofits were able to speak to YIP members about how to engage with their work. From the arts and city planning to sustainability, education, and advocacy, we had a diverse set of 24 partner organizations that were representative of the nonprofit landscape here in Philly.

YIP continued to organize our monthly Running Club as well. (Did we mention it was named Best of Philly by Philly Mag? Well, now we did!) We ran to interesting spots in the City, like Lemon Hill Mansion or the Reading Viaduct, heard from an expert about that particular place of interest, and then topped off the evening at a neighborhood bar for a good old fashioned just-ran-three-miles Happy Hour.

We also explored the issues surrounding commercial corridor revitalization with a series of three walking tours, aimed at showcasing business districts at different stages of their development. Groups of approximately thirty Young Involved Philadelphians toured the Lower Frankford, South Street West, and Lancaster business districts, meeting with entrepreneurs, representatives from local community development corporations, and the City’s Commerce Department.

If that wasn’t enough, YIP introduced two new regular events in to our repertoire this year. We partnered with Replica Creative for monthly morning coffee chats at their cafe at 37th and Market, each featuring lightning talks from leaders in a specific sector. We covered everything from the creative economy to STEAM education and civic technology. YIP also launched a quarterly book club that met twice in 2014 (and we were lucky to have the author at both events!). Stay tuned for more information about how to plug in to these new series in 2015.

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Getting Out the Vote

Our mission statement is to connect, engage, and represent young Philly. We covered the connect and engage portion with our regular programming, and our advocacy team worked on the represent part. We hosted educational events, published tools on how to get involved with local politics, registered new voters, and got a whole lot of YIPsters to pledge to go to the polls (with a selfie, of course).

YIP began our year in advocacy by breaking down the political structure in Philadelphia with political veterans like Dave Davies, Terry Gillen, and Stephanie Singer. Over 125 young Philadelphians learned about how to get elected committeeperson, what a ward leader does, and why it matters. Later in the year, we hosted policy focused lightning talks with young leaders, covering crime, education, economic development, and more. And we published online educational resources such as our citizen’s engagement guide – check them out here.

Our team also registered hundreds of new voters, and launched an initiative to get young Philadelphians to pledge to vote by posting selfies on social media and using the hashtag #YoungPHLVotes. Read the breakdown of that campaign, including metrics, here. Spoiler alert: hundreds of tweets and instagram posts were tagged with #YoungPHLVotes, and elected officials such as Councilman David Oh and State Representative Mike O’Brien participated.

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Board Preppin’

YIP is also dedicated to leadership development, most notably through our Board Prep program, now in its 7th year.

Board Prep is a six week training program for young professionals interested in serving on nonprofit boards. Our curriculum covers the different types of boards you can serve on, legal and fiduciary responsibilities, nonprofit fundraising and financial management, strategic planning, and more. Students perform a case study on an active nonprofit, as well as take part in our graduation and matching ceremony, where they get to meet and greet nonprofit leaders actively seeking new, young board members.

This year, two cohorts of approximately forty students went through the Board Prep program, and applications for 2015 are set to open soon.

State of Young Philly: #YIPBonanza (or, more officially, #SOYP14)

This November, YIP hosted our 5th annual State of Young Philly event series, aimed at bringing young Philadelphians together and amplifying our voices. Thanks to over 20 partner organizations such as the Mural Arts Program, the Committee of 70, WXPN, and PHLCVB, we hosted our largest and most impactful SOYP to date, with 22 events in 8 days and over 1,000 attendees. And we covered a diverse set of topics: immigration, electoral politics, the state of the local music scene, education, entrepreneurship, sustainability, and more.

We introduced over 300 attendees to 32 nonprofits at our State of Young Philly opening Civic Engagement Fair, curated a civic dialogue game with executive leaders around the biggest issues facing our City, and celebrated Philly’s young entrepreneurs at our closing LOVEFest party.

And we’re already thinking about how to make next year’s State of Young Philly even bigger and better.

…So In Conclusion

We think it’s safe to say we had a pretty good 2014, but we’re not satisfied yet. YIP is gearing up to make 2015 even more impactful, especially as we head in to the May 2015 mayoral primary election.

So bring it on, 2015. We’re ready for you.

Last But Not Least: How to Get Involved With YIP

We couldn’t have pulled off all that we did in 2014 without amazing partner organizations, committee members, and supporting members. Interested in partnering with YIP or getting involved with one of our committees? Shoot us an email at info@yiphilly.org or partnerships@yiphilly.org.

Finally, we’re so grateful for the support we received this year from 101 brand-new Supporting Members! If you’ve connected with a new organization, learned something about Philly, or made a new friend at one our events, consider supporting YIP’s volunteer-­run operation by becoming a YIP Supporting Member.

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