Monthly Archives: November 2007



To watch a video about this event, please click below:

Everyone involved in this undertaking gathered to celebrate the revitalization of the rowhouses, and in turn the revitalization of the community. Now, thanks to Project H.O.M.E. and the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, the block is fully occupied for the first time in decades. Community represents the future: seventeen children, all under the age of eighteen, will be among the new residents in these homes.

Earlier in the day, Philadelphia Soul co-owner Jon Bon Jovi toured one of the completed and occupied houses with one of the first-time homeowners. He then joined the celebration, which included the extended community, welcoming the new homeowners to the neighborhood. Bon Jovi addressed those in attendance, noting the continued support from the local and state governments, the experience and dedication of Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon and the entire Project H.O.M.E. staff, and taking the opportunity to thank individuals, including young Jonathan Silverstone who donated the money received as Bar Mitzvah gifts to support the work of the Philadelphia Soul Foundation. Bon Jovi also offered his thanks to Saturn, not only for their financial partnership but for adding a ‘green’ component to the project. And finally, he spoke about how hard these families worked to make homeownership a reality. Without all these combined efforts, he said, “… this would still be but a dream.”

Following is the official Press Release:



Philadelphia, PA — November 26, 2007 — Jon Bon Jovi today announced that 13 of the families are moving into brand new homes in time for the holidays (with 2 additional families moving in after the new year) thanks to a unique partnership that he has brokered between Project H.O.M.E., the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and Saturn. It has been a little over one year since Jon Bon Jovi was joined last October by President Bill Clinton, who attended the press conference where Bon Jovi announced an undertaking to unite the efforts of local organization, Project H.O.M.E. with his own Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, and Saturn to renovate 15 homes on what was then a deteriorated lot in North Philadelphia.

These 13 homes are part of Project H.O.M.E.’s Phase V Homeownership Program which focused on two blocks of historically significant, deteriorated row houses in North Central Philadelphia — the 1800 and 1900 blocks of North 23rd Street. By employing “green building strategies,” Phase V renovated existing structures into energy efficient homes containing Energy Star-rated appliances. In addition, the plan included the reduction of block density and development of sideyards – all significant steps in promoting long-term health, safety and affordability for owners.

All of the 13 families are first-time homeowners. They all agree that this is an unprecedented opportunity for their families – financially and personally. As one homeowner, Marion Rogers explains, “There’s nothing like owning your own home – it is something you pass down to your kids.”

These new homes, however, are not only life-changing for the 13 families moving into them; they are forever changing the block and larger community in which they are located. As Helen Brown, Project H.O.M.E. Community Organizer and Black Captain for the 1800 Block of 23rd Street explains, “I have lived in this neighborhood for 45 years – never before have I seen so much neighborhood pride and just as important – there is so much hope.”

The Phase V Homeownership Project is the continuation of Project H.O.M.E.’s goal to revitalize their community by reducing blight and treating vacant properties one block at a time. Project H.O.M.E. has led other initiatives in the area to empower inhabitants with a sense of responsibility and open-space/environmental enhancement, a community health service program, after-school and adult learning programs at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs, and economic development along Ridge Avenue.

Soul Staff, Soul Players & SoulMan Support the Foundation's Efforts

Since 1989, Project H.O.M.E. has helped more than 7,000 people break the cycle of homelessness and poverty by providing a continuum of care that includes street outreach, supporting housing and comprehensive services that focus on health care, education and employment. They also work to prevent homelessness and poverty through comprehensive neighborhood revitalization in North Philadelphia. These efforts include the renovation of vacant or deteriorated houses which are then sold to first-time homebuyers, economic reinvestment along the Ridge Avenue corridor, greening of vacant lots, adult and youth education and enrichment programs at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs and community-based health care services. For more information go to

Musician, singer, songwriter and actor, JON BON JOVI is most recognizable as the voice for the band BON JOVI, which has set the bar for more than two decades as one of the most successful rock bands in the world. Globally, they have sold more than 120 million albums and performed more than 2,500 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 32 million fans. Their latest album, the Nashville-inspired LOST HIGHWAY, was released June 19, 2007, debuted at #1 around the world and includes the hit songs “Lost Highway” and “(You Want To) Make A Memory.” The band’s 2005 album, HAVE A NICE DAY, featured the Grammy Award-winning song, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” and fueled one of the top-selling tours of 2005.

As a philanthropist, Jon Bon Jovi is the first Founding Ambassador of the Habitat For Humanity Ambassador Program. His support for Habitat For Humanity began in 2005 when he provided the funds to build six homes in Philadelphia and worked to build the homes with the homeowner families and members of his Philadelphia Soul Arena Football Team. Later, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Jon Bon Jovi surprised Oprah Winfrey with a check from his band for $1 million. Bon Jovi, Habitat and Oprah’s Angel Network build 29 homes in Houma, LA with low-income families previously displaced by the natural disaster. Then, in October 2006, Jon announced a unique partnership he brokered between Project H.O.M.E., the newly formed Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and Saturn to renovate 15 row houses in one of Philadelphia’s most poverty-ridden neighborhoods. Including those 15 homes, Jon is currently a motivating force behind a total of 60 homes being built in partnership with low-income families.

In 2003, Jon Bon Jovi introduced the Arena Football League (AFL) to the city of Philadelphia. Jon is the Majority Owner, Co-Chairman of the Board (along with partner Craig A. Spencer) of the Philadelphia Soul. With his ownership of the Philadelphia Soul, Jon’s goal was to introduce a new type of sports owner. The Soul’s organization – from the owners down to each team member – have proven to be a visible and active presence in the Philadelphia community. Each season, the team identifies local causes and organizations with whom they can partner.

In 2005, the ownership group of the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team established a nonprofit organization and announced its formation in October 2006. Through the creation of programs and partnerships, the Soul Foundation’s mission is to combat the issues that force families and individuals into economic despair. The foundation’s current funding priorities support projects that create permanent affordable housing for the low income populations and support education and job training programs for the homeless that can help lead them to self-sufficiency.


Additional PHASE V Celebration Info

Jon Bon Jovi -- A Motivating Force
To view the VIDEO profiling Sister Mary and Joan on CNN CLICK HERE

To read the ARTICLE that accompanies the profile about their incredible work in the Philadelphia community battling poverty and homelessness and learn why these two incredible women are an inspiration to Jon Bon Jovi CLICK HERE.

The PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS ran an article about JON BON JOVI, the SOUL and PROJECT H.O.M.E. focusing on one of the families benefiting from the PHASE V HOME OWNERSHIP PROJECT.

Please CLICK HERE to read the online article and view the news footage from Monday’s event.

ESPN.COM covered the PROJECT H.O.M.E. PHASE V HOME OWNERSHIP CELEBRATION in Philadelphia yesterday. To read the entire article entitled BON JOVI SHOWS HE’S A GOOD SOUL CLICK HERE or you can read it below:

By William Bendetson

The attraction might have been world famous recording artist Jon Bon Jovi, but the reason was anything but his singing. Bon Jovi, who co-owns the Philadelphia Soul, participated in an event on Monday marking the revitalization of the 1900 block of North 23rd Street in North Central Philadelphia. It signaled the completion of the project that will see 13 families move into renovated homes before the holidays and two more after the New Year thanks to the partnership between Project H.O.M.E. and the Soul. All of these houses have been built by using “green building strategies” that have taken these existing structures and turned them into energy efficient homes.

Project H.O.M.E., founded in 1989, is a non-profit organization that strives to end homelessness with a unique approach. Participants must complete a series of steps to become a homeowner, including having a full time job and maintaining a bank account.

“I was reading American history books a few years ago and I saw a homeless man sitting outside Philadelphia city hall from my hotel room. I thought this is not what I envision from my country,” Bon Jovi said Monday in a telephone interview with

Project H.O.M.E. has allowed more than 7,000 people to escape homelessness. For Bon Jovi, the most rewarding part is the expression on people’s faces when they receive their first home. He’s worked with Habitat For Humanity and he and the Soul minority owner Richie Sambora made a $1 million donation to Oprah’s Angel Network to build 28 homes in Houma, LA, after Hurricane Katrina. In all, the Soul as an organization has donated more than $2 million to local causes since its inception in 2003.

“Some people just need a leg up and it is great to see what happens when they get it,” Bon Jovi said. “It was great to see what happened after we rebuilt all those homes in New Orleans. That was a very rewarding experience. When I bought the Soul, I said we are going to make a difference in this community and I think we have.”

The reaction has been from positive from the Philadelphia community. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell donated personal money to Project H.O.M.E. Bon Jovi is close friends with former President Bill Clinton, who has helped with the project. Clinton even wrote about Sister Mary Scullion, the Project’s director, in his book.

“Here you have someone who was once the most powerful man in the world kowtowing to Sister Mary,” Bon Jovi said. “Pretty incredible.”

William Bendetson covers pro football for ESPN.COM



Soul Players MIKE BROWN and MATT BERNSTEIN Painting
The Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation was represented by Executive Director Mimi Box and Philadelphia Soul Fullback Matt Bernstein and Wide Receiver / Defensive Back Mike Brown. Matt and Mike were exceptional ambassadors on behalf of the Philadelphia Soul, the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and the sport of arena football as they lent their efforts to building houses.

Please visit our Photo Gallery for more photographs taken on location at the Los Angeles build.

Following is the Official Press Release issued by Habitat For Humanity outlining the Jimmy Carter Work Project. We at the Soul are proud to be a part of this good work.

Former President Carter Joined Dignitaries, Celebrities and Volunteers From Around the World at Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy Carter Work Project 2007 in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29 — Nearly one in five of Los Angeles County’s 10 million residents live in poverty and the median cost of a home far exceeds the majority of the population’s reach. The statistics are staggering and the crisis is very real. To address the region’s lack of affordable housing, Los Angeles was chosen as the host city for Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy Carter Work Project 2007.

Yesterday, former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, joined city and state officials and volunteers from around the world to kick off the 24th Jimmy Carter Work Project ( The project is an intensive week-long build that takes place in a different location around the world each year.

“The first step to solving the affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles and throughout the world is to bring attention to the problem and ask concerned citizens to confront the issue,” said President Carter.

“Rosalynn and I are pleased to be in Los Angeles this week with thousands of Habitat volunteers and supporters to raise both walls and awareness of the power we each have to create significant change in communities throughout Los Angeles, our country, and the world.”

Habitat’s Jimmy Carter Work Project is extraordinary by its very concept: over the course of five days, thousands of volunteers will help low-income families take a giant step forward toward the dream of securing homeownership.

As part of the Jimmy Carter Work Project, 100 houses will be built or rehabilitated by the end of this year. This is also the first Jimmy Carter Work Project to seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the build from the U.S. Green Building Council, making the homes more sustainable and affordable for the partner families. Thirty new Habitat homes will be built at two sites in South Los Angeles and San Pedro, and an additional 70 homes belonging to low-income families will be rehabilitated this week and through the end of the year in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles’ “A Brush with Kindness” program ( This program is designed to help homeowners make repairs on homes they are not able to maintain due to physical or financial reasons.

An opening ceremony, held near one of the project’s build sites located in San Pedro, added fanfare to the event, with festivities celebrating volunteers and partner families. President Carter was joined by many of California’s civic leaders, who are committed to addressing the serious problems experienced by families living in substandard housing, including cost burden, overcrowding and compromised health. Participants and supporters included: Gov. Schwarzenegger, First Lady Maria Shriver, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Jane Harman, Los Angeles City Council members Janice Hahn, Bill Rosendahl, and Eric Garcetti, and Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. Emceed by Paige Hemmis (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”), other participants and supporters of the Jimmy Carter Work Project include country musician Garth Brooks, musician Trisha Yearwood, Blair Underwood (“Dirty Sexy Money” and “LA Law”), Lowe’s NASCAR and ALMS driver Adrian Fernandez, Patricia Heaton (“Back to You” and “Everybody Loves Raymond”), Scott Foley (“The Unit” and “Felicity”), Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”), Nathalia Ramos (“Bratz”) and Glynn Turman (“The Wire” and “A Different World”).

“I am proud to welcome Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy Carter Work Project to Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Homelessness and the lack of affordable housing are not just problems in the world’s poorest countries; they afflict people in the wealthiest cities and nations. We are excited about the positive impact that this international work project will have on our communities by increasing the supply of affordable housing in our city. Great things are possible when we work together to address these issues.”

The work that will be highlighted this week jump starts Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles’ “Building a Greater Los Angeles” campaign (, a three-year commitment to build an additional 150 homes throughout Los Angeles County after the Jimmy Carter Work Project is completed. The campaign, co-chaired by Gov. Schwarzenegger and Mayor Villaraigosa, incorporates ongoing programs and events to provide tangible solutions to the region’s affordable housing crisis.

In a special appearance by Grammy award-winner Ricky Martin at the program, he said, “I am honored to continue my involvement with Habitat for Humanity by being here with you tonight. This is the start of an incredible campaign that will touch the lives of 250 families in the next three years, as well as the lives of all of us who are privileged enough to be a part of it. I have already been blessed with the opportunity of meeting and working alongside Habitat for Humanity families as we built dreams together … many more dreams will come true this week as the result of the hard work of everyone here tonight.”

At the kick-off, Habitat for Humanity International’s CEO Jonathan Reckford thanked the organization’s many partners for their support and tireless efforts to make Habitat’s Jimmy Carter Work Project successful and provide low-income families with safe, affordable housing.

“It is an honor to bring Habitat for Humanity’s highest-profile annual event to Los Angeles. It will not only help families in this community, but also send the message that safe, affordable housing is an important part of a family’s security and well-being, no matter what location they call home,” said Reckford. “We have been a leader in developing affordable housing and taking the initiative to ensure our homes are both affordable and sustainable, and we are proud to have taken steps to build affordable housing with cost- savings and ease of upkeep for families.”

Erin Rank, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles’ President and CEO, brought the area’s need for affordable housing into sharp focus in discussing the reasons for the organization’s three-year “Building a Greater Los Angeles” campaign.

“Today, the median income of renter households in Los Angeles is about $35,500, while the median price for a home is approximately $549,000, making decent, affordable housing all but out of reach for hard working people of modest means,” said Rank. “Additionally, less than three percent of new units built in Los Angeles County are considered affordable housing. These are statistics we want to change, and we hope to unify Los Angeles residents to actively engage in a solution to the affordable housing crisis in this area through the Jimmy Carter Work Project and ‘Building a Greater Los Angeles’ campaign.”

Players Represent Soul Organization On Location at LA Build Site

The campaign has already implemented multiple programs that target people from all walks of life to become proactive on this issue. Specifics of the campaign include the “A Brush with Kindness” program, which will rehabilitate homes for low-income families (; “Nickels for Nails,” which engages young people in community service projects to fund and build a home that is 100 percent sponsored by youth (; sponsorship of a recent housing symposium that brought together community leaders to address Los Angeles-area housing issues; and additional outreach, education, volunteer and fundraising initiatives.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles is among a growing number of Habitat for Humanity affiliates incorporating building elements that improve the affordability and sustainability for home-owners and the communities in which they live.

Sponsors making the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2007 possible include:
* The Ahmanson Foundation * KPMG * Arden Realty, Inc. * Lowe’s * Bank of America * Materials Matter * Beach Cities Friends & Capital * Majestic Lighting * Bentley Prince Street Carpet * Mobile Mini Group Foundation * MoneyGram International * Chevron * Nissan North America * Citi * ORCO Construction Supply * City of Burbank * The PMI Group, Inc. * City of Los Angeles * The Port of Los Angeles * City of Lynwood * Presbyterian Coalition * City of Santa Monica * PriceWaterhouse Coopers * Clear Channel Outdoor * Regency Centers * Conduit Development * Rinnai * Contessa Premium Foods * Schneider Electric * Continental Development * Sempra Energy Corporation * Sennott Family Foundation * Crail-Johnson Foundation * Shady Acres * Creative Artists Agency * Simpson Strong Tie * DIY Network * Sony Pictures * The Dow Chemical Company * Schneider Electric * Endeavor * Squid & Squash Foundation * Fannie Mae * State of California * Federal Home Loan Bank of * Thomas A. Middeler & San Francisco Kristine Middeler Kinsey * Ferguson * Sony Pictures * Folgers Gourmet Selections * Time Warner * Goodman/Geary Pacific * Togawa Smith Martin Supply * Union Bank of California * Global Green * United Talent Agency * HARDI * Valspar * Hilton Hotel * The Walt Disney Company * The Home Depot * Waste Management * IBEW * Weyerhaeuser Company * James Hardie Foundation * Jon Bon Jovi/Philadelphia Soul * The Werner Co. Charitable Foundation * Whirlpool Corporation * Kaiser Permanente * William Morris Agency

About the Jimmy Carter Work Project
Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy Carter Work Project is an annual, internationally recognized event in which the former U.S. president and his wife join Habitat volunteers to build simple, decent and affordable homes in partnership with people in need of both housing and hope. President Carter has been personally involved in the construction of Habitat homes around the world that provide shelter to more than 10,000 people. For more information, visit or

About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles strives to eliminate poverty housing through advocacy, education and partnership with families in need to build simple, decent affordable housing. Since 1990, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles has built more than 200 homes, transforming the lives of hundreds of individuals. In the spring of 2007, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles kicked off its three-year “Building a Greater Los Angeles” campaign to build or rehabilitate 250 homes in Los Angeles County. For more information, visit

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 250,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit