Civic Coalition to Save Lives

Civic Coalition to Save Lives Names Estelle Richman Executive Director

The nationally known and respected public and social innovator will lead Philadelphia’s collaborative effort to reduce Philadelphia gun deaths.

PHILADELPHIA (December 9, 2022) – The Civic Coalition to Save Lives today named Estelle Richman as its executive director. With more than four decades of experience transforming government systems through creative and innovative public-private solutions, Richman will direct the day-to-day activities of the newly formed Coalition and serve as the key liaison with public sector partners.

Announced last month, the Civic Coalition to Save Lives was founded by the Philadelphia Foundation and William Penn Foundation in partnership with Urban Affairs Coalition, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Equity Alliance to help catalyze a broad civic effort that will drive a focus on evidence-based and sustainable strategies to reduce gun violence in Philadelphia. Richman’s expertise will be integral to establishing, building, and implementing long-term, sustainable efforts to achieve that goal.

Among her immediate priorities will be engagement and relationship building with community- based organizations and institutions that are essential in the delivery of services and supports to individuals at high risk of becoming involved in a shooting.

Other immediate priorities will include working closely with the City to lead the planning and implementation for the proposed Gun Violence Intervention Coordination Center, which is a centerpiece of the Coalition’s effort to ensure a high level of collaboration between the city, service providers, and social service agencies. Additionally, Richman will lead the continued build out of the Coalition, engaging a broad cross section of community, civic, business, and institutional stakeholders to gather resources, expertise, and assistance to support its efforts.

During her career as a public servant and behavioral health advocate, Richman has held executive leadership roles at every level of government and is skilled at developing, managing and coordinating internal and external relationships to facilitate and maximize goals and outcomes.

“I’ve known Estelle Richman for many years and cannot think of a more dedicated and capable individual to lead the Coalition forward,” said Pedro Ramos, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. “Estelle’s experience, knowledge and understanding of the city, public health and social services make her uniquely qualified to begin this work and steer it in the direction to make lasting, positive change and impact in our communities.”

Known for her intelligence, leadership, and integrity, Richman has earned the trust and confidence of the Coalition’s partners and the community, Ramos added.

“Having spent the bulk of her career working in Philadelphia city government, Estelle and I have a history of working together to get things done,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “She is a true partner who listens, amplifies the voices of those most directly impacted by policies and decisions, and is dogged in her pursuit of finding common ground, taking action and creating change. Reducing gun violence is my priority and with Estelle Richman at the table I’m even more confident in our coordinated strategy to save lives, families and communities.”

“Estelle Richman’s extensive experience and expertise in policy, public health, family and child welfare, health equity, education, and social services make her a tremendous asset to the Coalition and to our partners in this effort,” said Shawn McCaney, executive director of the William Penn Foundation. “She is known for helping make bold change happen and has a proven track record in deftly navigating Philadelphia’s complex government infrastructure to put plans and systems in place to best serve individuals and communities.”

“I am fortunate to have a depth of experience in establishing and overseeing organizations that perform critical work in human services,” Richman said. “There is nothing more important than saving lives and I am honored to be part of this mission, which has the support of so many of Philadelphia’s great leaders. I look forward to working with the City and all of our partners to bend the curve on gun violence.”

Richman previously served the secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development as senior advisor for health and human services, as well as chief operating officer and acting deputy secretary at the agency.

She was secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (now the Department of Human Services) for seven years providing leadership of the umbrella agency that oversees Medicaid, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Child Welfare; Long Term Living; Developmental Program; Early Childhood Services; and Income Maintenance. During her tenure she worked to successfully integrate services and expand managed care.

The first woman to hold the position of Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia, Richman was also the city’s first Director of Social Services. She also served as the City of Philadelphia’s commissioner of Public Health.

A resident of Philadelphia, Richman volunteers her time on a number of national and local boards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and received her master’s degree in Clinical and Community Psychology from Cleveland State University.

About the Civic Coalition to Save Lives: The Civic Coalition to Save Lives was established by Philadelphia Foundation and the William Penn Foundation in partnership with Urban Affairs Coalition, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Equity Alliance to help catalyze a broad civic effort that will drive a focus on evidence-based and sustainable strategies. For more information on the Civic Coalition to Save Lives, visit

Coalition to Save Lives Media Contact:

Maureen Garrity, 215.205.2676,