Philadelphia Union Foundation raise six figures to benefit Chester City youth

The numbers are in on the highly successful Cocktails gala

Michael Curry, Board Chairman - Philadelphia Union Foundation, addresses over 500 guests at the 2014 Cocktails & Cleats Celebration, on the Foundation’s recent successes and the importance of our collective efforts toward this cause

So, the second annual Philadelphia Union Foundation event, “Cocktails and Cleats,” was a resounding success.

The event almost tripled the money raised from its inaugural gala, raising over $120,000 for the Chester Community.

Comcast SportsNet anchor Amy Fadool hosted the red carpet event at Vie which featured 500 sponsors, donors, fans, players and technical staff.  The evening included a silent and live auction, a “Chalk Talk” question and answer session with Maurice Edu, Sebastien Le Toux and manager John Hackworth, and a number of speeches.

Executive Director of the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Rick Jacobs, kicked off the program by passionately addressing the audience about the importance of giving back to the community.

“An amazing evening that culminated with Philadelphia Union and The Philadelphia Union Foundation celebrating the continuation of using soccer as a conduit for social change in Chester/Upland and the Greater Philadelphia Region," Jacobs said. "We applaud this wonderful group of like-minded individuals that continue to provide our young children with the vision and experiences that play such a key role in them being successful and productive adults.”

Jacobs encouraged everyone that it is time for us to pick up our heads, because in many areas such as Chester, limitations restrict children to see the big picture. “We need to continue to provide experiences for the children of Chester, let them explore, ask questions and ultimately trust,” said Jacobs.

Putting the highlight on the importance of social responsibility, Jacobs finished his speech with three simple, yet powerful words: “Be the change.”

This year’s Cocktails and Cleats netted over $120,000 almost triple the amount raised in 2013. The funds raised will continue to support the Foundation’s mission of focusing on character development, enhancing academic performance and providing nutritional education.

"Our second annual Cocktails and Cleats Celebration was a tremendous success due to the generosity and hard work of many individuals who support the work that we do for the kids of Chester and surrounding communities.  I am very grateful for the efforts of our board members, Philadelphia Union staff, foundation partners and friends,” said Foundation Board chairman Michael Curry.  “I encourage everyone to stay involved and help us continue to gather the resources to enrich the lives of others through the game of soccer."

Since its inception in 2012, the Philadelphia Foundation has served as the heart and soul to the youth of Chester and the Greater Philadelphia Region. Using soccer as a conduit for change, the Foundation reinforces character values of integrity, effort, accountability and pride.

Over the past year, the Foundation has touched the lives of more than 2,000 children in Chester.  Two of these children are Chester City United MVPs Jacinda Murphy-Soto and Jesse Britain. Both of their speeches brought the crowd to a standing ovation.

One still talking about the events that transpired was Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz.

"Just in our second year Cocktails and Cleats nearly tripled the money raised," Sakiewicz said. "What caught me by surprise and quite frankly blew me away was how many people love this franchise and love what we are doing in the Chester community. Hearing the two kids speak at the end of the night, of all the speakers that night, they were the best. They were articulate, focused, smart and if we can somehow get all of the children to that spot through our endeavors there is no doubt that we will dramatically change the face of Chester."

If you couldn’t make Cocktails and Cleats but would still like  to donate, visit our website at philadelphiaunion.com/foundation.