LIFT-Philadelphia, an organization aimed to fight poverty and increase opportunities for economic security, held an event Thursday, April 12 at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia, 215 South 16th St.
The organization honored David Eisner, the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, and recognized clients who have excelled through the LIFT programs.
Kirsten Lodal, CEO and co-founder of LIFT, founded the organization with Brian Kreiter in 1998 as students at Yale University.
Together, they developed the idea of creating a center where families could receive assistance in social services from trained volunteers. They established their first center in New Haven, Conn.
LIFT currently has centers in Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. LIFT has two centers in Philadelphia — 5548 Chestnut St. and 1231 N. Broad St. — and works to combat poverty by assisting clients in finding employment, stable housing, tax credits and public benefits, and connecting them to healthcare and legal aid services.
Members gathered Thursday at the Racquet Club, along with community members, volunteers and clients in celebration of the organization and recognition of the keynote speakers.
This is the third year LIFT-Philadelphia has celebrated at the Racquet Club — but it’s the first year they awarded the “Lifting Communities Award.” Eisner received the inaugural “Lifting Communities Award” for his commitment, civic engagement and service.
He has been in leadership of the National Constitution Center since 2009. Along with Eisner, Russell Rivers, a LIFT-Philadelphia client, was recognized and gave a speech in regard to his experience with LIFT-Philadelphia.
Rivers, a Southwest Philadelphia native, had a part-time job and would frequently walk past the LIFT building. Interested in their services, he decided one day to go in and see how they could assist him.
“You get to know the people that run the program and I always felt welcome there,” he said. “I got sick and LIFT didn’t call me about missing appointments or nothing — they called to ask ‘how was Russell doing?’— they were just there when I needed them.”
LIFT-Philadelphia was able to assist Russell in applying to jobs, learn computer programs and conduct in-depth research on his illness.
“Lift was just an uplifting experience with people,” he said.
Susannah Greenwood and Dan High, seniors at La Salle University, are active volunteers with the organization and enjoy their involvement
“It is really neat how as a student I can work one-on-one with a client and help them achieve their goals,” High said.
Josh Romalis, executive director of Lift-Philadelphia, was pleased with the turnout of the event. He believed it was a great opportunity for guests to mingle and learn more about the organization.
“I think we had over 150 people here,” he said. “We are just thrilled by the turnout, and we’ve been able to raise some good funds — and hoping to raise even more.”