Pedro Ramos becomes first Latino president of the Philadelphia Foundation
The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF), one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the five-county area, just announced the appointment of Pedro A. Ramos as president and CEO.
When he assumes the post in August, Ramos will become the first Latino to lead the nearly 100-year-old organization. He succeeds R. Andrew Sweeney, who served for 16 years before retiring in June. TPF described the selection process as a “robust and highly competitive national search” that ended with Philadelphia-native Ramos.
“Pedro Ramos brings vision, passion and drive to the role of President and CEO of The Philadelphia Foundation,” said Larry Beaser, Chair of The Foundation’s Board of Managers. “He is a dynamic and proven leader and an exceptional public servant.”
So what does Ramos’ philanthropic vision look like?
A partner at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis (a post which he will leave come August), Ramos previously served as both as the city’s Managing Director and City Solicitor. He has also held executive positions at the University of Pennsylvania, and chaired the Philadelphia School Board and the School Reform Commission.
Latinos are by and large underrepresented in the world of philanthropy, and Ramos sees his appointment as a potential catalyst to expand Latino civic engagement.
“The foundation wants to become more of a convener and a collaborator. It wants to become a hub where needs, ideas, solutions, resources, the public sector and the private sector all come together to improve the wellbeing of our community,” Ramos told AL DÍA following the appointment.
He gets excited about the city’s growth in general, heaving credit on the surge in both “new American” immigrant as well as the booming millennial population. But he also sees the city’s dark financial challenges: a crushing 26 percent poverty line, a lack of access to capital for new immigrants, and a paralyzing education deficit.
But the community can rise to these challenges, Ramos says without hesitating. He cites some areas that he will focus on as TFP president, beginning with “partnerships that increase economic mobility for all, strengthen the safety net and improve civic capacity.”
“I imagine the Foundation as an exciting hub where needs, information, ideas and resources join the nonprofit, business and government sectors around real and lasting solutions. This region has great needs but it also has great and generous people, smart and wise people, and people with a diversity of views and experiences,” he added.
His first order as president is to gather input from both TFP’s and the community’s stakeholders. He is also keen to meet with other institutions who have experience tackling some of the city’s bigger challenges like lack of economic mobility.
Ramos noted that he is somewhat out of element, but is nonetheless thrilled to dive into the new environment.
“I feel like I know the city very well. I know the human services community very well. I know businesses, governments, and nonprofits very well. The community foundation world is one that is really new to me. I have to spend time looking for the ideas that are best for Philadelphia.”