Philadelphia Parks Alliance

Youth and Recreation Program Coordinator


Project Goal:

  • Successfully create a report aggregating best practices from after school programs citywide
  • Facilitate cross-communication between recreation community leaders and investors citywide
  • Begin raising private dollars for investment in recreation capital, equipment, and programs


Agency Information


Agency Mission
The mission of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance is to champion the public’s interest in outstanding parks, recreation, and open spaces – key to making Philadelphia a healthy, vibrant and sustainable city for all.

Address  5070 Parkside Ave, Suite 3500A
Philadelphia, PA

Total number of Agency Staff Members  2

Agency Budget   $234,836


Job Description

The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:

  • Conduct outreach to recreation centers
  • Build relationships with local recreation advisory councils
  • Help create new advisory councils where non-existent
  • Survey recreation centers regarding best practices / general needs
  • Work with the executive director on fundraising campaigns specific to youth programming
  • Conduct outreach to engage the relevant constituents of youth recreation programming (parents, etc.)
  • Handle general administrative responsibilities
  • Attend community meetings

Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:    

  • Excellent communication skills – fellow should be comfortable drafting outreach and fundraising letters
  • Strong research skills, comfortability creating and analyzing surveys
  • Comfortable working with a diverse range of persons
  • A desire to get to know Philadelphia and its many neighborhoods
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Hard working, but has a good sense of humor


Community Need

Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:
Our fellowship seeks to bridge the unmet needs of Philadelphia’s impoverished children by advocating for the Department of Parks and Recreation. Last year, the Parks and Rec provided 2.8 million summer meals to Philadelphia’s children and offered over 700 cultural and educational programs, including afterschool programs operating at more than 100 sites that served over 2,800 kids ( These programs are a vital resource in a city with a poverty rate of 26.3% and a chronically underfunded school system (Pew Charitable Trusts). Yet, despite this tremendous need, Philadelphia’s Department of Parks and Recreation is underfunded compared to other cities; Philadelphia spends only $66 per resident on Parks and Recreation, substantial less than similar cities like Chicago ($130) and Cleveland ($110) (Trust for Public Land). The Parks Alliance wants to increase the capacity for the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide necessary services to our neediest children by serving as a much-needed independent advocate.


How the agency addresses this need, and how the new capacity created by this fellow will help alleviate the problem:
The Philly fellow will expand the Philadelphia Parks Alliance’s capacity to advocate for and provide direct support to our children’s recreation opportunities. Quality recreation programming is empirically demonstrated to lead to more positive life outcomes. A 2010 study by Witt and Caldwell commissioned by the National Park and Recreation Association cites nine benefits from recreation department programs: (1) contribute to reducing juvenile delinquency, (2) contribute to increasing positive and reducing negative behaviors, (3) expose youth to less violence, (4) improve children’s’ educational performance, (5) help decrease healthcare costs related to childhood obesity, (6) increase the economic contribution of young people to society when they become adults, (7) help youth develop self-confidence, optimism, and initiative, (8) increase civic responsibility and participation, and (9) help reduce parental stress. Thus, increasing the capacity and scale of youth recreation programming will have a tremendous positive impact on many of Philadelphia’s most in-need communities.


The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:
The Parks Alliance has extensive experience advocating on behalf of our city’s diverse constituents. Throughout our organization’s history, we have given a voice to those Philadelphians who have often been excluded from important decision making. Likewise, the benefits of our advocacy work serve all Philadelphians, in particular those in underserved neighborhoods.  As a result of our campaigns between 2013 and 2015, we helped secure an additional $3.67 million increase for PPR’s operating budget.     In addition to the Parks Alliance’s prior work, our executive director, George Matysik, has extensive experience working on anti-poverty programs owing to his prior work as Director of Government Relations for Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger relief agency.


Fellowship Logistics


Fellow orientation plan:
The Fellow will initially receive a full-day training regarding a history of the organization, the landscape, and the duties of the position. The Fellow will work closely with the executive director during a two week training period to learn how the Parks Alliance functions and during this time will be introduced to the Parks Alliance’s various community partners. As we are a small organization, the fellow will quickly take on a large amount of responsibility and agency over his work, but will continue to have the direct support of our staff.


Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor:
George Matysik, Executive Director


Plans for supervision of the fellow: Since we are a small office, the fellow will be supervised directly by our executive director. We plan to give the fellow a high level of autonomy, however, the ED will be there to check in with the fellow and answer any and all questions. 


Will fellow be working at the same address listed above?


Will the fellow have their own…             

Office?  Fellow will share  Desk?  Fellow will have their own           Computer?  Fellow will have their own


The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…

Independently  30  

As a team member in a group setting  50

As a team leader in a group setting  20


Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position?  Yes

If so, how often and where?   Locally, to recreation centers within the City of Philadelphia


Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…

A driver’s license?  No

Their own car?   No