by Larry Platt
The Philadelphia Citizen
There are few civic leaders in Philadelphia who, like Madonna, Oprah or, uh, Charo, have achieved one-name status. But when you hear “Pedro says …” it’s immediately clear that the speaker in question is Pedro Ramos, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation.
In part, that’s because Pedro has been around, having served as the city solicitor and managing director, chief of staff to the president of the University of Pennsylvania, and chair of the now-defunct School Reform Commission. But it’s also because of demeanor: he’s a serious man with a guffaw that surprises, and he’s that rare insider who never seems ruffled and who doesn’t take cheap shots.
So it was that, at our Ideas We Should Steal Festival on the Comcast campus in 2019, Pedro nodded me over to him. The room had just listened to David Muhammad, executive director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, regale us on the intricacies of his stunning work in Oakland, California, where his CeaseFire gun violence intervention program had resulted in a historic seven-year low in that city’s murder and shooting rates.
“Can you introduce me?” Pedro asked me. “What would it take to bring him here?”