Penn Club of DC at the Citi Open

Tennis Shot

Another summer in DC and another great Citi Open tennis tournament is just around the corner.  This year’s field is the best in years with many of tennis’ top-ranked players coming to town.  And thanks to the Penn Club of DC, Penn alumni have enjoyed a “Penn Night” at the tournament each and every summer for over 20 years.  Why do I like to take part in this event?  Simply put, the Citi Open experience is a tennis Wonderland.  When not in your seat watching tennis with Penn friends, you can walk around the festival grounds to visit the sponsor tents, spot the tennis stars (and perhaps get their autographs), check out tennis merchandise, enter free raffles, and take advantage of numerous food and drink options (including access to the air-conditioned Courtside Club – only with the Penn Club ticket).  Holding true to the Tennis Center founders’ wishes, a portion of the proceeds from the Citi Open benefits the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF). The WTEF seeks to improve the life prospects for underprivileged children of Washington, DC.  Through its education and athletic programs, tens of thousands of DC’s at-risk children have been nurtured through the support of WTEF’s caring patrons, staff and volunteers.  I look forward to this year’s gathering of Penn alum and friends at the Citi Open on Friday evening, August 7th.  For more information and our group rate tickets, see https://squareup.com/market/penn-club-of-dc/citi-open.

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Penn Serves LA Spruces Up a New Charter School

By Leanne Pyott Huebner, W’90

Valiente College Preparatory Charter School

Five Large Classrooms, Five Hours, and Twenty Volunteers.  That’s what the Penn Serves team had to work with this past weekend to prepare the classrooms of Valiente College Prep Charter School, in South Gate, California.  This newly-chartered early-start middle school will open its doors in two months time to approximately 140 4th and 5th graders.  Every dollar counts for new schools prompting Board Chair Leanne Huebner, W’90, to call in the Penn Serves LA volunteers to lend some much-needed manpower on this June morning.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have the help prepping Valiente, as our teachers are so eager to prep classrooms for opening day,” shares Huebner.  “This work saved our school thousands of dollars we can now use towards other critical school needs!”

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A great team of Penn alumni were out in force to paint the new charter school

 

Valiente College Prep Charter School is the culmination of nearly two years of prep work which started with school founder Jacob Wertz’s vision to create a high-performing charter middle school for Southeast Los Angeles.  After completing a yearlong fellowship with non-profit Building Excellent Schools, Jacob and his founding team embarked on the task of launching Valiente, utilizing best practices from dozens of successful charter schools across the U.S.

“We are creating a high-expectations community of leaders and learners preparing our students for great universities like Penn,” shares Wertz.  Valiente serves one of the most overpopulated zip codes in the U.S. where today only 7% of its residents hold college degrees.  The team is on a mission to move that needle higher as it serves approximately 95% students with free- and reduced-lunch eligibility status, often used as high poverty indicator.

“It was great to come out today and help this school get ready for day one,” shared Jennifer Bunn, W’06, C’06, now an attorney in Newport Beach. “After Penn, I taught for four years, two through Teach for America so I know how important for charter schools to access great volunteer talent whenever possible.”

Interested in getting involved at Valiente College Prep?  Please contact Jacob at jwertz@valientecollegeprep.org to learn more.

Penn Serves LA’s next event will be on Saturday, July 18th, when the volunteers will be harvesting, weeding, pruning, and planting a Heroes’ Garden at the Veteran’s Administration in West LA.  Click here to RSVP.

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Dunn Edwards, headquartered nearby the school, generously donated paint and some supplies – it came in handy.

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Great teamwork with Penn alumni working alongside school parents.

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Paul and Nicole tackle the two-tone windows.

 

Penn Serves LA has many terrific projects for all ages on the calendar for the coming months. Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, help us Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

Upcoming Penn Serves LA events:

  • Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Harvesting a Garden for Veterans – RSVP
  • Saturday, September 12, 2015 – Reading to Kids – Details coming soon
  • Sunday, December 6, 2015 – Midnight Mission: Serving Meals to the Homeless – Details coming soon

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Questions? Reach us at pennserves@gmail.com.

Find us on the web, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

Read about our previous events:

June, 2015 – Penn Serves LA Has the Giving Spirit

August, 2014 – Penn Serves LA Strikes Again: This Time with Paint!

December, 2013 – Holidays are a Time for Giving

November, 2013 – Sending Holiday Warmth to our Troops

August and September, 2013 – Serving the Environment and LA Leadership Academy

May, 2013 – One on One Outreach

March, 2013 – Habitat for Humanity

January, 2013 – Inner City Arts

September, 2012 – The Midnight Mission

June, 2012 – Turning Point Shelter

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Penn Serves LA has The Giving Spirit

By Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

Photos by Kiera Reilly, C’93

Wonderful Penn Serves LA volunteers joined in a fantastic effort on May 30th to provide a bit of summer relief for some of the 82,000 people in our city who are homeless on any given night. Founded in 1998, The Giving Spirit has raised over $2 million through small donations and served over 35,000 homeless. Twice a year this all-volunteer non-profit, the largest in the city, organizes the filling of backpacks and duffle bags with essential items (canned and fresh food, clean socks and hats, toiletries, etc. plus lists of available services) to help our friends on the street to survive and enjoy a bit of comfort during the hottest and coldest points in the year.

Volunteers of all ages helped to set up the assembly line, then fill the backpacks.

Volunteers of all ages helped to set up the assembly line, then fill the backpacks.

Penn Serves room 2

Volunteers at the beginning of the assembly line to fill the backpacks.

But in addition to handing out these critical supplies, The Giving Spirit is unique in its approach:  the organization’s leaders know they cannot cure homelessness, but when volunteers hand bags full of help, and maybe hope, to homeless people, they also look them in the eyes, engage them when feasible and let these disenfranchised people know that someone is thinking about them. The formula is a moving one, and through a short, televised video our Penn Serves LA volunteers received a glimpse into its effectiveness.

Jane Gutman introduces The Giving Spirit's founder and Chairman Tom Bagamane to the Penn Serves LA group.

Jane Gutman introduces The Giving Spirit’s founder and Chairman Tom Bagamane to the Penn Serves LA group.

Tom talks to the group about the founding of The Giving Spirit and the work that they do to help the homeless in Los Angeles.

Tom talks to the group about the founding of The Giving Spirit and the work that they do to help the homeless in Los Angeles.

Penn Serves' Jeff Weston, C'05, helps load the filled backpacks into vans for distribution.

Penn Serves’ Jeff Weston, C’05, helps load the filled backpacks into vans for distribution.

One truck filled with backpacks ready to be distributed.

One truck filled with backpacks ready to be distributed.

Penn Serves volunteers at The Giving Spirit.

Penn Serves volunteers at The Giving Spirit.

 

Penn Serves LA has many terrific projects for all ages on the calendar for the coming months, including a day of painting on June 13th at Valiente College Preparatory Charter School, a brand new school for underserved kids opening this fall. Join us this Saturday – RSVP here.

 Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, help us Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

Upcoming Penn Serves LA events:

  • Saturday, June 13, 2015 – Help paint Valiente College Preparatory Charter School – RSVP
  • Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Harvesting a Garden for Veterans – RSVP
  • Saturday, September 12, 2015 – Reading to Kids – Details coming soon
  • Sunday, December 6, 2015 – Midnight Mission: Serving Meals to the Homeless – Details coming soon

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Questions? Reach us at pennserves@gmail.com.

Find us on the web, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

Read about our previous events:

August 2014 – Penn Serves LA Strikes Again: This Time with Paint!

December, 2013 – Holidays are a Time for Giving

November, 2013 – Sending Holiday Warmth to our Troops

August and September, 2013 – Serving the Environment and LA Leadership Academy

May, 2013 – One on One Outreach

March, 2013 – Habitat for Humanity

January, 2013 – Inner City Arts

September, 2012 – The Midnight Mission

June, 2012 – Turning Point Shelter

 

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Penn Sages at the Art Institute of Chicago

By Lori Seegers C’77

The May 21st Penn Sages event was a success, enjoyed by the 15+ Penn alumni and friends, for an exclusive tour of the Art Institute of Chicago’s latest exhibition: Ireland Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840 by the exhibit’s curator, Christopher Monkhouse, C ’69.  Christopher’s enthusiasm, depth of knowledge and wit kept the group fully engaged for nearly 2 hours.  Christopher regaled us with stories of obtaining the objets d’art and their provenances, including a Greek statue rescued from a British fountain. Lori “Goodman” Seegers, C ’77, arranged the event with Christopher and a meeting place for dinner that evening.  A large group proceeded to have dinner together at Seven Lions across from the Art Institute, where Christopher continued the conversation. A good evening was had by all. We’re so glad that some of you were able to join us!

sages1 sages2 sages3 sages4

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Chicago Sages Discover Louis Kahn in the Film “My Architect”

One day during my Art 140 Seminar (we’d attend these fantastic lectures and then we’d all meet in seminars with intent graduate instructors), Louis Kahn strode through the door of the classroom on the way to his office. Our instructor rose as he entered and we all followed, as if Michelangelo had just appeared. For up-and-coming architects that’s who he was. But I only discovered last night that there are no Kahn buildings on the Penn campus or, for that matter, in the city of Philadelphia, thanks to a city politician named Ed Bacon.

Chicago Penn Sages had a rare opportunity to join with faculty of the Art Institute to view Nathaniel Kahn’s film,” My Architect,” of his journey to discover his father. It was a fascinating film but even more fascinating was Nathaniel’s discussion about his memories of his father, who came to visit him periodically (Kahn was still married when Nathaniel’s mother became pregnant).

KahnBefore viewing the film, the Sages mixed with alumni of Penn Design and faculty of the Art Institute, enjoying hors d’oeuvres, wine and good conversation under the magnificent dome at the entrance of the Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater.

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Alumni Weekend Children’s Book Collection

Quakers Come Together to Promote Literacy!
BOB_1This Alumni Weekend the Netter Center for Community Partnerships is collecting gently used and new children’s books for Bags of Books, a service organization that donates bags full of books to students to take home and keep. All books will be donated to West Philadelphia students served by Penn’s Netter Center.

There are two EASY ways to donate:

  1. BRING BOOKS FROM HOME: When you pack your bags for Alumni Weekend, don’t forget to bring along some gently used or new children’s books to donate to Penn’s Bags of Books collection. We will be accepting children’s books for all ages – infants through high school students. Clean out your closets and make a difference!

Collection bins will be located at:

  • E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House, 3533 Locust Walk (Friday, May 15 – Saturday, May 16 from 9 AM – 5 PM, Sunday, May 17 from 9 AM – 3 PM)
  • Netter Center for Community Partnerships, 111 South 38th Street, Second Floor, Class of 1965 Conference Room (Friday, May 15: 1:30 – 3:00 PM) as part of the Class of 1965 & Netter Center Community Service Project
  • Basketball Skills & Drills Clinic, David Pottruck Health and Fitness Center, 3701 Walnut Street (Saturday, May 16 from 9 – 11AM)
  1. BUY BOOKS AT THE BOOKSTORE: When you are shopping at the Penn Bookstore (3601 Walnut Street), we will have books for sale at the front desk. You can add one or two to your purchase when you check out! For a few dollars you can make a difference in a child’s life!

For more information contact Lisa Nass Grabelle, C’93, L’96 at lisagrabelle@yahoo.com.

NetterCenter-Penn-Shield-Site (PRIMARY JPG LOGO WITH WEBSITE)

BOBLOGO

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How Penn is Taking the Next Step to ‘Treating Untreatable Cancer’

By Michal Clements W’84

As part of Penn’s Year of Health, Chicago area Penn alumni gathered on February 18, 2015 for a captivating presentation by Dr. Bruce Levine, C’84, my Penn undergraduate classmate, and the Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy at the Perelman School of Medicine.

Levine

The engaging topic was “Designing and Building Targeted Immunity from Patient’s Own Cells: Treating Untreatable Cancers.” The meeting was sponsored by the Perelman School of Medicine and the Penn Club of Chicago.

Nine highlights of the lively presentation were:

1. Penn was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Gene Immunotherapy by the FDA (similar to the TSA Pre Check line for FDA approval). (http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/07/ctl019/)

2. As of 2014, the Penn team (Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania) treated over 150 patients with CLL, ALL, Lymphoma, and myeloma with their own engineered T cells designed to kill their cancer. To qualify, all patients must have relapsed following two other treatments.   The overall complete response rate for the ALL subgroup is 90%; Moreover, 70% of this group have failed stem cell transplant prior to receiving their investigational T cell therapy.

Cells

3. Penn’s program and research is expanding to treat a broad range of cancers, beyond CLL, ALL and Lymphoma, including breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, glioblastoma and others. More information is available here: www.penncancer.org/Tcelltherapy and at http://somapps.med.upenn.edu/pbr/cvpf/

4. Penn’s medical campus footprint has increased seven to ten fold since the early 1980’s when Dr. Levine and I were undergraduates. The new Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/09/cact/ center will open in 2016.

5. This treatment is for patients who have not succeeded with other courses of treatment. Cell and Regenerative Medicine may become the next pillar of cancer therapy (after surgery, chemotherapy, radiation). It’s possible that this will relegate stem cell transplants to history.

6. The clinical trial patients are “like astronauts” because they are take the step into the unknown. Pediatric patient, Emily Whitehead, serves as one example. Emily’s treatment been profiled in the short documentary by Ross Kauffman “Fire with Fire” https://vimeo.com/54668275 and in the upcoming PBS Ken Burns’ special “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies”, episode 6. The PBS special will air on PBS on March 30th- April 1st.

Cancer Free

7. In August 2012, Penn Medicine entered into a partnership with Novartis to tap into their global research and regulatory expertise. In December 2012, Novartis bought a manufacturing facility. Penn’s program is differentiated from other Gene Immunotherapy programs through this operational capability and expertise (along with the Penn team). At present, manufacturing the CAR T Cells is a very manual process, since each lot is unique- made from the patient’s own cells. Work continues to CAR T Cell make the process more automated.

8. It took approximately 30 years for stem cell transplants to reach the 1 million mark,, a target is that CAR T Cell might accomplish this in half that time.

9. Philanthropy from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy and others funded the initial research. Interested Penn alumni can contribute directly at https://giving.apps.upenn.edu/giving/jsp/fast.do?program=MC&fund=602548

Chimera

Dr. Levine provided ample bonus material, including recommendations for more the upcoming PBS special, and the Fire with Fire VIMEO. On behalf of the Penn Club of Chicago, I want to thank Dr. Levine again and also the Perelman School of Medicine for co-sponsoring the event. Seeing this progress made renewed my sense of pride in Penn!

Welcome

More info on designation is here: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/legislation/federalfooddrugandcosmeticactfdcact/significantamendmentstothefdcact/fdasia/ucm329491.htm

Putting it in perspective, this is the first for an academic institution, the FDA has previously granted Breakthrough Therapy to only four other biologic agents and this is the first personalized cell therapy for cancer to obtain it.  From October 2013 through June 30, 2014 the FDA received 20 applications and only 3 were approved, the previous year, 10 of 11 applications were not approved.

http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/07/ctl019/

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