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Philadelphia-- On Tuesday, September 8, 2015, the Philadelphia Parks Alliance Board of Directors announced the appointment of George Matysik as its new Executive Director. A lifelong Philadelphian, George Matysik has dedicated his career to developing and advocating for public policy solutions to the big issues that face our city and region. George most recently served as Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Philabundance, where he led the development of Fare & Square, the nation’s first non-profit grocery store.
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue serving my city in this new role as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance” said Matysik. “From my days growing up at Jardel Rec in the Northeast to my near daily visits today to the Wissahickon, Philadelphia’s parks and recreation system has been an integral part of my life. Today I have the wonderful and unique opportunity to help foster investment into the Parks and Recreation system in this new role.”
“The Philadelphia Parks Alliance is thrilled to welcome George Matysik as our new Executive Director” said Derek Freres, interim Executive Director. “George has been an advocacy and non-profit staple in Philadelphia for years, and we are elated to welcome someone with his level of experience and leadership to build on the Philadelphia Parks Alliance’s success.”
In addition to George’s role at Philabundance, he also recently served as President of country’s preeminent senior hunger relief organization—the National CSFP Association—which oversees advocacy and programming for the $202 million national Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and was founding Executive Director of Feeding Pennsylvania, the collaborative non-profit of the Commonwealth’s food banks.
Born in the Olney neighborhood and raised in the Lower Northeast, George is a lifelong Philadelphia Parks and Recreation user—from his youth spent at Burholme Park and Jardel Recreation Center, to his jogs and hikes today at Fern Hill and the Wissahickon.
George is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, having worked his way through the school as a janitor. At Penn, George received his bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies, concentrating on economic development and urban planning—the foundation of his career in public policy and advocacy.
George’s civic engagement extends beyond his career. He is Founder and former Co-Chair of the Friends of Mifflin School, an organization dedicated to providing resources to his neighborhood’s community public school. He also serves on the board of his high school alma mater, Mercy Vocational, a career and technical training school, and the Pennsylvania Resources Council, the Commonwealth's oldest environmental advocacy organization. George lives in the East Falls neighborhood with his wife, Alix.
The mission of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance is to champion the public’s interest in outstanding parks, recreation, and open spaces - key to making Philadelphia a healthy, vibrant and sustainable city for all.
The Parks Alliance’s vision of a great city is one with great parks and interconnected green spaces. The Parks Alliance leads the diverse and expanding citizens’ movement which shapes public policies required to build the nation’s premier parks and recreation system.