PYB gained a valuable asset last November when Rob Meyer joined our small but mighty team, as the Capital Campaign Director & Major Gifts Officer. A native New Yorker, Rob most recently worked as the Chief Development Officer for JEVS Human Services, one of the largest private nonprofit organizations in the Delaware Valley. Prior to his time at JEVS, Meyer served for 25 years for the Jewish Federation, in Fund Development leadership positions in New York, Baltimore, and Sarasota (FL), and 13 years at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
A hyperactive and athletic child, Rob was involved in a variety of sports. However, it should be noted, that as a college pitcher he has a better fastball than foul-shot!
Rob’s mother and role model dedicated her career to working for community-based organizations and catalyzed Rob’s passion for helping people at a young age. Rob’s father passed away when he was only eight years old. This loss taught him the value of a community, that supports and embraces its young people.
In addition to being a part of a neighborhood that deeply cared for his well-being, Rob went to camp every summer for 2 months, where he grew as a student, athlete, and leader through the support of fellow campers and staff mentors. Rob believes that PYBs summer camps are similar to his camp experience and is a strong proponent of the program.
One of Rob’s first work experiences where he gained a greater understanding of the collaborative importance of sports, was during his work as a Vista (volunteer in Service to America) Volunteer. While stationed in Portland, Oregon, Rob worked with community and school-based programs to ease tensions between refugees from Southeast Asia and the general student population. By helping host a soccer tournament with a professional team, the Portland Timbers, Rob, and the Portland YMCA created an environment where children of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees had to work together and build relationships despite historic cultural tensions.
Rob’s personal and professional experience in community-based organizations made him a perfect fit for PYB. Inspired by PYB’s mission and motivated by the board members and professional staff, Rob has worked diligently to kick start our capital campaign.
Rob’s expertise in campaign management has helped PYB “get the right people around the table to sell the package” while simultaneously maintaining integrity to the community that PYB aims to serve. With regard to the construction of the PYB Youth Center, Rob believes that “it is important that we talk about what this center is going to do as a public-private partnership to transform a section of Philadelphia, that deserves it after being ignored for 30 years. This is an opportunity for us to come in and be the anchor for resources in the community and commercial ventures.”
Rob has been impressed by the tenacity of the PYB team in achieving its goals and feels the most important part of the organization is the young people it serves.
“The philosophy of not waiting to have the center built to do the community programs is extremely important. It’s also important to me as someone who is selling the product that I meet the student-athletes, coaches, and academic mentors, that I understand the curriculum, and that I see the hard work that goes into putting together the best possible program.”
PYB is incredibly fortunate to have someone like Rob as a part of our team. As we enter 2017, we look forward to working together to impact the lives of our city’s young people and gain even more community support through our capital campaign.
Fun Facts about Rob:
Rob was a Recreation Director at Bellevue Psychiatric Center in NYC. He started an off-ward activities program, where he took ready-to-be discharged patients to elite cultural institutions like the Guggenheim Museum.
Also, Rob is a former big brother for the Big Brother/Big Sister League. He is now a proud father of two boys Andrew (20) and Thomas (16).
By MaryKate O’Brien, Community Engagement Coordinator