City of Philadelphia Releases RFIQ for “Project Elevate” as Part of Settlement
with Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson
Nelson and Robinson also launch new non-profit to expand and sustain Project Elevate

PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney and the City of Philadelphia announced the release of a Request for Information and Qualifications (RFIQ) to support Project Elevate, a new entrepreneurial program in city high schools from Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two men arrested at a Center City Starbucks this spring. Project Elevate’s development and launch is being funded by a $200,000 commitment from the City as part of its settlement with Nelson and Robinson, and will grow into a four-year entrepreneurial program supported by a new non-profit, Action Not Words, founded by Nelson and Robinson.

“Philadelphia’s future is inextricably tied to people who can create – those who create jobs in neighborhoods across the city, create opportunity for others, and create programs that benefit everyone. That’s exactly what Donte and Rashon are doing with Project Elevate, and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of their vision,” said Mayor Kenney. “Project Elevate will help give students the critical skills they need to become entrepreneurs. I am so impressed with Donte and Rashon, and their desire to lift up young people in our communities. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish with Project Elevate.”

Nelson and Robinson were arrested while waiting at a Center City Starbucks for a business meeting regarding a real estate project to begin. Charges were quickly dropped, and the City and Starbucks both issued apologies. The two men agreed to a settlement with the City of $1 plus a $200,000 commitment to create an entrepreneurial program in Philadelphia high schools.

“We appreciate the City of Philadelphia’s cooperation and efforts supporting Project Elevate, and we anticipate a successful launch,” said Rashon Nelson. “We have learned a lot from trial and error. We created Project Elevate to fill the gap and expose youth from our communities to options and resources not otherwise available.”

The two men have separately established Action Not Words, a new non-profit to manage and grow Project Elevate. The mission of Action Not Words is to provide resources, tools and academic and professional access to opportunities for young people to level the playing field in underserved communities. Nelson and Robinson expect to raise significant funding to expand Project Elevate from individuals and corporations similarly committed to building a new generation of entrepreneurs. To learn more or request information go to

“Whether it be entrepreneurial aspirations or continued education, we invite the youth of Philadelphia to explore Project Elevate,” added Donte Robinson. “We look forward to building our non-profit, Action Not Words, and expanding this much-needed program in the years to come.”

As part of the development of the new program, the City is issuing a RFIQ to award a grant to a non-profit organization for the design and pilot of a four-year entrepreneurial education program for public school high school students. The training program will initially focus on schools in a limited number of Philadelphia neighborhoods before being expanded across the city. Responses to the RFIQ are due Monday, December 17, 2018 with an expected award in January 2019. The RFIQ is available online.