Philadelphia Union Foundation Launches iAM Project

Philadelphia Union Foundation today announced the iAM Project in partnership with BIMBO Bakeries, Lincoln Financial Group, Global Neurosciences Institute, Neumann University, and the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation. The iAM Project is a program that supports high school students from The Chester Charter Scholars Academy by providing personal, academic and professional opportunities.

The iAM Project leverages a network of inspirational speakers, academic and professional mentors, innovative links to industry, universities and internship providers to provide multi-year training and opportunities. The program focuses on three core pillars: inspiration, aspiration, and mentorship.

“We developed the iAM Project to address effects of socio-economic inequality upon social mobility, and to create a talent pipeline so that our young people in Chester can access well-paid careers in some phenomenal companies,” said Paul Howard, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Union Foundation.

Thirty Five Ventures co-founder and KDCF Board Vice President Rich Kleiman said, "Philadelphia Union's commitment to the community is unparalleled, and KDCF is proud to support this new initiative that creates unprecedented access and resources for Chester youth." 

“As a Philadelphia-based company and dedicated partner of the Philadelphia Union and Foundation, Bimbo Bakeries USA is proud to support the iAM Project,” said Dana Connors, Vice President, Corporate Affairs for the company. “The Project’s goals align perfectly with our commitment to advancing education, economics and health in underserved communities and we look forward to working with these dynamic and promising young scholars.”

“Lincoln Financial Group is committed to supporting our local communities, with a specific focus on youth education and financial wellness,” said Gregg Holgate, Senior Vice President, Institutional Retirement Distribution, Lincoln Financial Group. “We are thrilled to participate in the iAM Project, which will provide local students the opportunity to learn about and explore career opportunities within our industry.”

“It’s important to give back. Service to others is one of the major facets of our mission,” says cerebrovascular neurosurgeon Dr. Erol Veznedaroglu, CEO and President of Global Neurosciences Institute (GNI). “Our partnership with the Philadelphia Union Foundation will make great strides in providing educational opportunities for kids in Chester. We are passionate about this important initiative.”

According to Akosua Watts, CEO at Chester Charter Scholars Academy, “The iAM Project will provide invaluable college and career exposure for our CCSA scholars and inform their understanding of the possibilities that the future can hold for them. We are so grateful to the Philadelphia Union Foundation and their partners for establishing this program for the young people of Chester.”

"Neumann University is thrilled to continue its partnership with the Philadelphia Union Foundation by supporting youngsters through the iAM project," said Dr. Eric Wellington, dean of the School of Business.

The program’s three core pillars - inspiration, aspiration, and mentorship - will manifest over the course of the school year in the following ways:


Inspiration | Inspirational Speaker Series (7th-12th grade)

The Inspirational Speaker Series feeds our scholars’ hopes and desires. Our series of inspirational speakers will encourage students to look beyond their immediate environment, to open their eyes and minds to unthought-of opportunities, and to broaden their horizons. Students hear stories from people who have walked in their shoes, who understand the challenges they face and who overcame difficulties and beat the odds: “Yes, we can.”

Aspiration | The Aspire Program (10th-11th grade)

Scholars accepted into The Aspire Program will benefit from exposure to several departments of a major league sports team and our partners. Taster sessions, ‘learn and explore’ workshops and two-week university residential culminate in a paid summer internship with scholars majoring in their chosen discipline. This experience is intended to focus a scholar’s mind on his/her next steps: university, trade school or a high quality apprenticeship.

Mentorship | Mentorship (12th grade)

Underpinning this final stage, each 12th grade Aspire Program scholar is personally mentored and coached through the college/apprenticeship application process by volunteers who have been hand-selected by our leadership team.

Continued Professional Development (Undergraduates)

Our scholars are provided with an unrivaled breadth of personal growth opportunities, professional development, mentoring and business connections. We ask all our partners to provide continuing professional development for Aspire Program alumni throughout their higher education.

Talent Pipeline (Graduates)

We ask all our partners to guarantee a job interview to our alumni upon graduation from university, trade school or completion of their apprenticeship.

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