Monthly Archives: December 2008



Please be advised that the PHILADELPHIA SOUL CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, though an extension of the community service agenda of the Philadelphia Soul, is an independent 501(c)(3) charity and, as such, will continue to operate despite the suspended season.

While the AFL works towards its solutions to its financial concerns, we at the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation will continue to work on solutions to the issues of poverty and homelessness to which we are dedicated. Thank you for your continued support.

Below is the official announcement released by the Arena Football League.

Courtesy: Arena Football League
Release: 12/15/2008

NEW YORK — The Arena Football League Board of Directors will suspend the 2009 season subject to agreement and cooperation with the Arena Football League Players Association while the League works on developing a long-term plan to improve its economic model.

“Every owner in the AFL is strongly committed to the League, the game, and, most importantly, the fans,” said Acting Commissioner ED POLICY. “Owners, however, recognize that, especially in light of the current unprecedented economic climate, the AFL, as a business enterprise, needs to be restructured if it is to continue to provide its unique brand of this affordable, fan-friendly sport.”

The Board of Directors conducted a meeting via conference call Sunday night and voted in favor of a motion to suspend the 2009 season. Columbus Destroyers co-owner and vice chairman of the AFL Executive Committee JIM RENACCI was asked by the Board of Directors to spearhead the restructuring process.

“Ownership truly appreciates Acting Commissioner Policy’s steady hand and stewardship in what has been a challenging time for the AFL,” said Renacci. “Our owners will work in conjunction with Policy to develop a plan that ensures the future of the AFL.”

“We, the owners of the Arena Football League, realize we have the most fan-friendly, affordable and accessible sport anywhere,” said JON BON JOVI, co-owner of the ArenaBowl champion Philadelphia Soul. “These are trying economic times. The revamping will ensure that the AFL continues to provide value to its fans and not only survives but thrives in the years to come.”

“Our involvement with the Arena Football League was always geared toward promoting football on a year-round basis,” said Dallas Desperados owner JERRY JONES. “Our experience with the Desperados has accomplished those goals and has been very positive. As we move forward we will explore all of the options that are available in regard to the future of the AFL and the Desperados.”

After 22 seasons, the second-longest tenure of any U.S. pro football league, the decision to suspend the 2009 season was not made lightly. AFL ownership has conducted multiple meetings over the past several weeks, discussed numerous options and concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the 16-team AFL and its fans.

“As a four-year owner of the Georgia Force, I have enjoyed our affiliation with Arena Football. In addition, our club is very proud of its leadership position in the league in many areas on and off the field,” said Georgia Force owner ARTHUR BLANK. “We want that to continue for our fans, so we support the decision to focus our energies on securing the long-term success of the Arena Football League.”

“Although it is disappointing to suspend the 2009 season, the Arena Football League and its owners feel it is essential to reevaluate the current business model to ensure the livelihood of the AFL in the future,” said JOHN ELWAY, Co-Owner, CEO Colorado Crush.

“We remain grateful to the greatest fans in the world for their avidity and their patience. It is with them in mind that the AFL, its owners and its players remain committed to resuming play as soon as it is feasible,” concluded Policy.



“In these difficult times, this commitment is more important than ever,” Saturn dealer Carl Galeana says at the dedication of the first house to be finished. “This community needs us and we need each other.

“Obviously it is not a great time for the auto industry, but it’s not the time to pull back; it’s time to reach out.”

Five months ago, GM, 10 Saturn dealers and their staffs – and even some customers – joined with Habitat for Humanity and others to begin building the 2-story homes on the east side.

They are in an area that is being transformed with new affordable housing for low-income residents. The residences replace decaying houses, similar to several that still exist nearby.

“This block was scary this summer, but look at it now,” Galeana tells Ward’s, pointing to the Habitat houses and several others like it built through similar projects. “Before, there were pit bulls tied to poles outside decaying homes and people living in houses that looked abandoned.

Saturn and Detroit-area dealers helped build this house and four others on city’s east side.

First home in Detroit completed & ready for family to move in.

“This city will come back. You can’t give up on a community when times are tough. That’s what this is all about.”

GM and Saturn dealers not only provided funding for the houses, they also helped in the actual construction, under the guidance of Habitat for Humanity builders.

“We had managers, sales people, office staff and customers out here swinging hammers, some for the first time,” says Michigan dealer Pat Moran, owner of Saturn of Fort Gratiot in Port Huron and Moran Chevrolet in Clinton Township.

“It is typical of Saturn to help like this,” says Roderick Gillum, GM’s vice president-corporate responsibility and diversity. “It’s the legacy of the brand to get involved.”

Saturn is assisting in building 15 similar homes in Philadelphia and three in Colorado. All the projects are in conjunction with rock star Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Charitable Foundation.

“Without Saturn and its retailers stepping up in these dark times, we would not be here giving light to five homeowners,” says the foundation’s Mimi Box.

Sherrell English and her two daughters will move into the completed house. Habitat offers long-term, no-interest mortgages to the homeowners, who themselves must provide 650 hours of “sweat equity” helping in home-building projects.

“It makes you feel so good when you are giving to others like that,” English says. “I’ve made some new friends and it’s inspired me to do more.”

Helping construct her home is Tom Harrison. A customer of Saturn of Clarkston (MI), he learned about the project from the dealership.

He says GM’s generosity towards such worthy causes is particularly striking in light of the lack of humanity shown the day before by some Washington lawmakers who opposed a federal bridge loan to domestic auto makers.

“I’d like to bring that (Sen. Richard) Shelby guy up here and show him what the Detroit auto industry does for those in need,” Harrison, standing in the living room of the new house, tells Ward’s. “Bring him right to this house.”

Moran wouldn’t want to be part of that visit.

“I don’t want him or any of those other senators in my state,” he says. “What I’d have to say to them is unprintable.”

Auto sales may be at record lows this year, but they haven’t disappeared, Moran notes. “Business is not that bad. Customers come in every day. They buy every day.

“Our problem is perception,” he says. “The customers that come in say, ‘I’m surprised to see other buyers here; I thought I’d be the only one.”



Their house — and the four adjacent homes – were built through the Saturn Hands on Homes program, a cooperative effort by General Motors’ Saturn division, Detroit area-Saturn retailers, Habitat for Humanity Detroit and Jon Bon Jovi’s Philadelphia Soul Foundation.

At a ceremony today, the new home in Detroit’s Morning Side neighborhood was the first of five Saturn Hands on Home houses to be officially dedicated. English will live in the new home with daughters Robyn (17) and Raven (20).

Saturn’s headquarters is in Detroit, a city hit particularly hard by current economic troubles, and Saturn’s local retailers volunteered to lead this effort. “Saturn retailers have always felt that it is our responsibility to give back to the communities that have supported our business,” said Carl Galeana, owner of Saturn of Warren and Saturn of Lakeside. “In these difficult times, that commitment is more important than ever.”

Saturn has a history of giving back to the community, through rebuilding playgrounds, supporting efforts to provide affordable housing, or hosting National Donor Day to boost awareness of and encourage blood, organ and marrow donations.

At a ceremony this summer at the Saturn Hands on Homes build site, musician Jon Bon Jovi joined other community leaders to kick-off the construction of the five homes. Since then, hundreds of volunteers – including many Saturn team members and customers – have contributed their labor to build the homes.

A personal statement from Bon Jovi was read at the dedication ceremony:

“On behalf of the Philadelphia Soul Foundation I’d like to congratulate our five families and thank the volunteers whose hard work and commitment to their community means that, this year, more families get to celebrate the holidays at home. Since July these families have dedicated hours of ‘sweat equity,’ hand in hand with their neighbors, Habitat Detroit and Saturn. Saturn, who has long focused on making quality, affordable automobiles for everyday Americans, has been a great partner with us over several builds around the country. Their desire to play a positive role in the communities where they do business sets a premier example.”

In addition to the Detroit initiative, the Philadelphia Soul Foundation has provided funding to build or renovate affordable housing units in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, N.Y., Colorado Springs, Colo., Atlanta, Los Angeles and Houma, La.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry that works in partnership with people from all walks of life to revitalize neighborhoods through the construction of affordable homes for families who do not qualify for conventional mortgages. Habitat partner families invest 250-400 hours of their own “sweat equity” into building their homes and the homes of others.

“Our community is facing difficult times,” said Vincent Tilford, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit, “It is gratifying to see that business such as Saturn and it retail partners, along with the Philadelphia Soul Foundation, still see the importance of remembering those in need.”

During the past 22 years, Habitat for Humanity Detroit has built or renovated more than 296 affordable homes for low-income working families across the city. Since 2005, the organization has been working with U-SNAP-BAC, an East Side community development organization, and the MorningSide Community Organization to redevelop a 16-block area on Detroit’s East Side.

This effort builds on the momentum started by U-SNAP-BAC that includes the construction of 120 new housing and rental units.

Holiday Green

In keeping Saturn’s strong commitment to the environment, all houses built by the Saturn Hands on Homes feature green practices and technologies. These environmentally-sensitive features reduce the home’s energy consumption, lower utility expenses and make the home more affordable for the new homeowner. Specific features include:

-- Efficient, Energy Star-rated appliances
-- Rinnai on-demand hot water heaters
-- High-efficiency furnaces
-- Extra-low-VOC interior paint
-- Fully recyclable carpet made of 60-percent recycled materials
-- Low-volume water toilets
-- Drywall made from the ashes of coal-burning power plants
-- Trees and "green" landscaping using low-maintenance plants
-- Rain barrels to collect water for landscape care in a planned
          community garden

SOURCE General Motors Corporation



Saturn Hands on Homes is a partnership between Saturn, Detroit-area Saturn retailers, Jon Bon Jovi’s Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity Detroit. The event will celebrate the official dedication of the home, and the house will be open to the media to tour. Neighboring Saturn Hands on Homes houses, in varying stages of construction can also be toured.

Friday, December 12
12:00pm Light lunch and home tours available
1:00pm Dedication begins
1:30pm Dedication ceremony concludes / media availability for homeowners and representatives from Habitat for Humanity, Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and Saturn retailers

The completed home is at 3650 Wayburn Street in Detroit (north of mack Avenue, east of Alter Road, in the Morning Side neighborhood)

Sherrell English, new homeowner Vincent Tilford, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit Representatives from the Saturn division and Detroit-area Saturn retailers

The weather prediction for Friday calls for cloudy skies with a high of 32 degrees. A portion of the program will be inside the heated tent however, some of the presentation takes place outside so please dress accordingly.

The five home sites are on Wayburn Street on Detroit’s East side (north of Mack Avenue, east of Alter Road) in the Morning Side neighborhood. Wayburn Street will be closed from Mack to Lozier. Parking will be available on the corner of Maryland and Lozier. Enter Maryland from East Warren or Mack Avenues.