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  • Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: TD Bank Activist of the Year activist-of-the-year-sustainPHL-nominees-2016 Full view

    Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: TD Bank Activist of the Year

    An activist is a person who campaigns for a social change. The root word of activist is the Latin actus, “a doing, a driving force, or an impulse.” Someone who acts on what she believes is an activist.

    TD Bank Activist of the Year

    • Michelle Feldman | Keep Philadelphia Beautiful
    • Rachel Black | Humane League
    • Leroy Fisher | Hunting Park
    • Connor Barwin | Make the World Better Foundation

    Our four SustainPHL nominees for TD Bank Activist of the Year are driving change within Philadelphia. From combating litter and ending animal suffering to restoring local parks, each brings tremendous energy and leadership to the challenges facing our city.

    Join us for SustainPHL on August 18 to find out who will become our TD Bank Activist of the Year!

    Michelle Feldman

    A Passion for Philadelphia and Community Building

    “With everything that she does, she does it with pep, passion and positivity. Whether it’s speaking to a room full of hundreds of students learning about recycling for the first time or a small group of neighbors concerned about short-dumping, Michelle is THE go-to expert, ready to help anyone willing to do their share in combating litter.”

    Michelle Feldman

    Michelle Feldman is the Executive Director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful (KPB), a non-profit organization dedicated to litter abatement and recycling education and promotion. Before her time at KPB, she was the Commercial Corridor Manager for the Frankford Community Development Corporation, where she gained a new love for Philadelphia and its neighborhoods. Under Michelle’s leadership, KPB has educated over 6,000 Philadelphians of all ages, cleared our streets and public spaces of more than 1000 bags of debris, activated over 1,1000 volunteers and raised and distributed over $40,000 for community beautification projects in Philadelphia. Michelle recently gave a memorable talk for Philly Nerd Night called “The Science of Recycling: Wait, What’s a Dirty MRF?

    In addition to running KPB, Michelle serves as VP to Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP) and strives to incorporate sustainability into the organization’s high profile and robust programming.

    Rachel Black

    A Fierce Advocate for Animals

    “In her short time as Philly Director, Rachel has already encouraged 4 school districts to adopt Meatless Mondays in their cafeterias, leading to thousands of meatless meals every single week and greatly impacting the environment.”

    Rachel Black Humane League Philadelphia

    Rachel Black is the Philadelphia Director at The Humane League, a non-profit that uses grassroots activism to reduce animal suffering by inspiring change at all levels. She is in charge of coordinating all the work in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey areas. Because animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change, deforestation, water and air pollution, Rachel and her locally hired interns take an all hands on deck approach to outreach. They table at festivals and events, give free presentations for schools and other institutions, organize networking events, encourage meat-free options in local businesses and restaurants, and distribute free literature on how consumers and individuals can help make a positive change in their own lives.

    A Temple University grad, Rachel began fighting for animals as a college student. After graduating, she couch-surfed the country for seven months while working for Vegan Outreach. She has a degree in painting and uses art as a tool for activism, painting scenes of factory farming and portraits of farm animals. Rachel has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Humane League by organizing events, coming up with creative ways to fundraise, and donating her art.

    Leroy Fisher

    A Seasoned Community Organizer and Coach

    “Leroy and his team went to work to revitalize Hunting Park. It is now a place of beauty for the neighborhood to enjoy.”

    Leroy Fisher Hunting Park

    Leroy Fisher is the co-founder and president of Hunting Park United. Distraught over the deteriorating conditions of the once regal 87-acre Hunting Park in North Philadelphia, Leroy convened others in his neighborhood to found Hunting Park United, a park stewardship organization devoted to bringing the park back to its former glory. Under Leroy’s leadership, Hunting Park United partnered with the Fairmount Park Conservancy to carry out the park’s master plan that proposed $21 million of improvements to the park. Leroy’s hard work and relationships with partner organizations enable Hunting Park United to raise $5 million to help implement Phase 1 of the Master Plan. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Leroy and his team, dozens of improvements include a baseball field, new playgrounds, tennis courts and programming, a football/soccer field, new lighting and a community garden, farmer’s market and orchard. Hunting Park United also provides active stewardship of the park, regularly scheduling community clean ups, facilitating events in the park and working with the City’s Parks & Recreation Department to make sure the park is always safe and inviting for all. The result of this hard work has been an 89% decrease in crime within a half-mile radius of the park in the three years since the improvements were made.

    A former Marine, Leroy also founded The North Philadelphia Aztecs, an organization which won the Pop Warner National Football Title in 2004 and has served over 400 young athletes each year.

    Connor Barwin

    A Leader on and off the Field

    “Connor has exemplified how to use one’s influence for good. He advocates for community change, bikes everywhere and wants to help make Philly a better place.” 

    Connor Barwin SustainPHL

    For Connor Barwin, Philadelphia Eagle and Executive Director/President of Make the World Better (MTWB), civic engagement has deep roots. Growing up with three older brothers in Detroit, his parents instilled in their sons the importance of athletics, the arts, and most importantly being involved in your community. The MTWB Foundation, founded by Barwin in 2013, is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of Philadelphia’s youth by providing safe and fun places for artistic and athletic development. For the third year in a row, this Pro Bowl linebacker has hosted a benefit concert at Union Transfer to support major park renovations in the city. All proceeds from the shows are matched by Barwin himself and go towards restoring another city park. The foundation’s previous two benefit concerts raised more than $485,000 for major renovations at Ralph Brooks Park and Smith Playground, both located in South Philly. Renovations at Waterloo Playground in the West Kensington section of the city will begin in Summer 2017.

    This year, the foundation also started working with Penn educators on a service learning program at Benjamin B. Comegys Elementary School in West Philly, to teach children the importance of becoming engaged in their community. Over the next few years, MTWB hopes to tweak and expand the program within Comegys, and then take it throughout the School District.

    Lori Braunstein

    About Lori Braunstein

    Lori Braunstein is the founder of Sustainable Cherry Hill and Director for Change Leadership at The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education. Always evolving, she enjoys figuring out how everyday people can be a force in creating a clean, green future. Reach Lori at [email protected] or @lori_braun on Twitter.

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