Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region CEO Marcus Allen was provocative at our Inspirational Breakfast at Valley Forge Military Academy & College Wednesday. Looking across the room at a maximum-capacity crowd of 265 business leaders, he said we are falling short as a community when it comes to supporting children – particularly those who face extra obstacles due to poverty, race and gender.
The 2017 class of the Chamber program Leadership Main Line has taken on as a class project the goal of increasing the number of Bigs in the suburbs. Many suburban business leaders donate funds and redirect some of their tax dollars to provide better opportunities for disadvantaged students. Lives are being impacted for the better, thanks to the work of our business leaders and company employees. So there are people helping. But with 1,200 children on the waiting list to receive mentors in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery and Chester Counties, the need is great, as is the opportunity for others to serve. There’s a particular shortage of men who will mentor boys. Find out more at: www.independencebigs.org. If Big Brothers Big Sisters isn’t where you want to contribute your time, the Chamber has other members that provide opportunities to work directly with children both inside and outside of the work setting. They include the Boy Scouts Cradle of Liberty Council, Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Youth Network, Valley Forge Educational Services and Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship program. Attendees of the event Wednesday also heard about Marcus’ difficult upbringing, including the long odds he faced to become an athlete and go to college – both of which he achieved on his path to the C-suite. Marcus had a helping hand and he is looking for others who can help today’s children while they still have hope of breaking out of cycles of poverty. His life could have easily turned out differently – making him a burden to society rather than the asset that he is today.
In its 44th year, the Inspirational Breakfast once again honored our veterans, who were asked to stand when their military branch’s anthem was played. It was a thought-provoking day that enjoyed more support and stronger attendance than any Inspirational Breakfast in recent years.
In addition to Vertex and KeyBank serving as presenting sponsors, we send a special thank you to Aqua, which has a long tradition as a presenting sponsor for this event. We also thank what was likely a record number of table sponsors for this event. They are Beneficial Bank, Bentley Systems, Firstrust Bank, The Haverford Trust Company, Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C., KYW Newsradio 1060, Lincoln Financial Group, Meridian Bank, Nolan Painting, Peirce College, Stephen J. DiOrio, CLU, ChFC, Agency State Farm, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, UnitedHealthcare, USI Affinity’s My Benefit Advisor, Valley Forge Military Academy & College, Vanguard and WSFS. The support of these companies helps us to do our work year round as we connect with business, leadership development and talent.
The Main Line Chamber of Commerce
175 Strafford Ave-Ste 130
Wayne PA 19087