Members of Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee Working Groups Collectively Pen an Open Letter to Philadelphians about their Support for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

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Dear Philadelphians,

It’s hard to believe that the Democratic National Convention is just a few days away. Looking back at our efforts since we put together a competitive bid for Philadelphia to host the Convention, we are thrilled to see so many of our plans come to fruition. This team, representing the 14 working groups created to support the efforts of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee, is proud to be part of yet another history-making moment for Philadelphia.

This city knows how to host big events. We have done it time and again over the years. But with 20,000 members of the media in town and the eyes of the world on our city, this will be a particularly shining moment for Philadelphia. Everyone – from residents, to business owners, to members of the local media, and beyond – should take pride in what this city can do and help us showcase all it has to offer as we prepare to welcome 50,000 delegates, luminaries and special guests.

Throughout the Convention planning process, the Host Committee has been committed to 1) making this the most diverse, inclusive convention yet; 2) bringing Philadelphians into the fun of the event by offering special, open-to-the-public programs; and 3) ensuring that the Convention has a community-level impact on the city. And we have achieved each of these goals.

The Host Committee made diversity and inclusion an integral part of everything it has done, including contracting, business engagement, community outreach, and beyond. One our first tasks was creating a vendor directory for businesses interested in working with the Convention. This directory was published online and includes nearly 3,000 businesses, the majority of which are based in Pennsylvania and close to 40 percent of which are diverse. Thanks to this approach, eleven out of twelve of the largest Convention contracts have gone to diverse-owned businesses, with local businesses leading or contributing to these projects.

To bring Philadelphians into the Convention fun and make the event as much about them as about the proceedings, the Host Committee created a series of exciting public activities. From PoliticalFest, to Donkeys Around Town, to the Philly Feast food truck festival, to Center City Sips, and more, there will be no shortage of unique events created especially for residents to enjoy each day of the Convention. And #DNCDeals will enable local businesses to post specials they are offering on social media for residents and delegates to check out.

The local community’s enthusiasm for the DNC has been second to none, enabling the Host Committee to recruit 18,000 volunteers. The dedication these volunteers have exhibited – working long, often abnormal hours and traveling from the farthest reaches of the city – are integral to the Host Committee’s success. Equally as impressive is the Host Committee’s fundraising effort, building a strong, efficient, and well-managed strategy that has generated the funds needed to carry out these Convention activities without placing any burden on Philadelphia taxpayers.

The Host Committee also found supplemental, private grants to support a number of special community-impacting and legacy projects that will enable the Convention to have a positive effect on the Philadelphia community itself. Programs such as a Youth News Team, pop up cultural performances, and numerous beautification projects around town will enhance Philadelphia at a community-level and make a lasting impact on its residents. This will show Philadelphia at its best.

We could continue to enumerate all the good, hard, and dedicated work that has gone into planning this Convention. But what may be most important about Philadelphia hosting the event is that it puts the city on an international stage to showcase all we have to offer and all we can do. We love and take inordinate pride in our city, and we hope everyone from across Philadelphia will join us in welcoming our guests for yet another history-making time for our city.


Christopher Arlene, School District of Philadelphia

Michael W. Banks, African American Chamber of Commerce of Pa., N.J. and De.

Chris Bartlett, William Way Community Center

Cari Feiler Bender, President, Relief Communications, LLC

Todd Bernstein, Global Citizen

Steven Scott Bradley, Bradley & Bradley Associates

Laura Burkhardt, Where Magazine

Khalia Burke-Green, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

Rob Buscher, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

Paula Butler, Visit Philadelphia

Ed Cambron, Kimmel Center

Barabara Capozzi, Packer Park Civic Association

Luz Cardenas, Cardenas Grant Communications

Joseph M. Casey, SEPTA

Nicole Cashman, Cashman and Associates

Deirdre Childress Hopkins, Pennsylvania Convention Center/SMG

Julie Coker Graham, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Charles Croce, Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent

Steve Cozen, Cozen O’Conner

Deborah Diamond, Campus Philly

Angela Dowd Burton, City of Philadelphia

Kathryn Epps Roberson, AECPartners

Martha Falcon, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Kevin Feeley, Bellvue Communications Group

Scott Freda

Katherine Gajewski, City Scale

Bill Gehrman, EnRoute Marketing

Angela Giampolo

Renee Gilinger, East Passyunk Improvement District

Jane Golden, Mural Arts Program

Nancy A. Goldenberg, Center City District

Marcel Groen, Pennsylvania Democratic Party

Bonnie Grant, PHL Life Sciences

Michael Greenlee

Ed Grose, Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association

Alison Grove, Grimm and Grove

Jeff Guaracino, Welcome America, Inc.

Anuj Gupta, Reading Terminal Market

James Haile, JWH & Associates

Edward Harris, Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board

Gail Harrity, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Dave Heit, Roe Fabricators

Daniel Hilferty, Independence Blue Cross

Meredith Hirtz, Jacobson Strategic Communications

Lauren Hitt, City of Philadelphia

Aaron Horton, School of Sport, Tourism & Hospitality Management, Temple University

Jeff Hornstein, Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition

C. Richard Howell

Shawn Jalosinski, Stadium District Special Services District

Kristina Jenkins, Visit Philadelphia

Linda Huss

Jim Cuorato, Independence Visitor Center Corporation

Farah Jimenez, Philadelphia Education Fund

Jerry Johnson, Auxum Advisors, LLC

Maori Karmael Holmes, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

Caryn Kunkle, ArtJawn

Brooke Lazizi, PHLCVB

David Landau, Delaware County Democratic Committee

Ken Lawrence, Temple University Alumni Association

Michael Leiss, DigitasHealth LifeBrands

Meryl Levitz, Visit Philadelphia

Paul Levy, Center City District

Karen A. Lewis, Drexel University

Lucy MacNichol, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

Dawn Maglicco Deitch, University of Pennsylvania

Sharmain Matlock Turner, Urban Affairs Coalition

Jonah Martenson, DigitasHealth LifeBrands

Nick Marzano, Young Involved Philadelphians

Betsy McGrath, Edward G. Rendell

Jodie Milkman, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

Leslie Ann Miller

Julie Mioli, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Maria Montero, PA Convention Center

Michael Norris, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

Festo Okidi, Young Professionals Network

Ami Patel Hopkins

Michael Pearson, Union Packaging LLC

Sharon Pinkenson, Greater Philadelphia Film Office

Justin Pizzi, Saxbys Coffee

Wendell Pritchett, University of Pennsylvania School of Law

Sulaiman Rahman, Urban Philly Professional Network

Pedro A. Ramos, The Philadelphia Foundation

Ajay Raju, Dilworth Paxson LLP

Tanya Regli, The Arc of Philadelphia

Wadell Ridley, Jr., Saint Joseph’s University

Kellan Rose

Jonathan Saidel

Laiza Santos, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Cara Schneider, Visit Philadelphia

Mark Segal, Philadelphia Gay News

Allyson Schwartz, Former Member of Congress

Rachel Schwartz, Visit Philadelphia

Narasimha B. Shenoy, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia

Brian Sims, House of Representatives, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Megan R. Smith, Brownstone PR

Tayyib Smith, Little Giant Creative

Ben Stango

Fred Stein

Alex Styer, Bellvue Communications

Stephen Tang, University City Science Center

Janice Telstar, PHLCVB

David Thornburgh, Committee of Seventy

Beth A. Twiss Houting, Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Arturo Varela, Visit Philadelphia

Zach Wilcha, Independence Business Alliance

Christina Wong, ESM Productions

James Zale, Visit Philadelphia

Nina Zucker, Nina Zucker Associates