PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney will present the fourth annual Magis Award to Connor Barwin at the City of Philadelphia’s annual Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at Independence Hall on July 4th, the final day of the Wawa Welcome America festival.
The Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, produced by the Office of the City Representative and Independence National Historical Park, will feature the presentation of the Magis Award—bestowed upon an individual or organization demonstrating the spirit of community by going the extra step to achieve more in every-day service. The Latin Magis (pronounced Mah-gis) translates into “the more universal good.”
Barwin, 32, was born in Michigan. The former Eagles linebacker (2013-2016) is a nine-year NFL veteran who also has played for the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants. But Philadelphia has become his adopted home. Barwin established Make The World Better (MTWB) Foundation in 2013 during his first season in Philadelphia. As founder and president of Make The World Better, Barwin is dedicated to youth development. Through athletics, the arts and other outlets, Connor’s vision provides access to safe, accessible and fun places to play and gather.
Make the World Better has worked with many organizations to revitalize community recreational sites. MTWB was recently announced as a partner for Rebuild, Mayor Kenney’s signature initiative to make improvements to neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries. MTWB will lead community engagement, design and construction for South Philadelphia’s Vare Recreation Center, which had been facing potential closure. Connor is collaborating with the community to develop a shared vision for a modern, high-quality design for the Vare Center and other community projects.
Both Barwin and Mayor Kenney have Jesuit educations, which teach the universal concept of “living greater” and achieving more than originally thought possible.
“It is my great honor to present the fourth annual Magis Award to Connor Barwin this Independence Day,” said Mayor Kenney. “Connor is a true driver of change, who adopted our city as his chosen community by making a meaningful impact in areas that extend far beyond the football field. He has helped energize our neighborhoods citywide through his vision for rejuvenating and supporting much-needed safe spaces for recreation, education, and community engagement that benefit both youth and adults. His work with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Mural Arts Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Rebuild is inspiring and transformative.”
Jason Kelce, a MTWB board member, will join his friend and former Eagles teammate Barwin at the ceremony.
The hour-long Celebration of Freedom ceremony will be a stirring salute to our nation’s history connecting the rich tapestry of the colonial era to a modern-day Philadelphia. The pageantry includes video presentations, speeches and spirited patriotic musical renditions by the Philly POPs Big Band, along with a reading from the Declaration of Independence by Philly’s own Patti LaBelle.
The Celebration of Freedom Ceremony is free to the public and kicks off 12 hours of commemorations and celebrations on July 4th, from Independence Mall to the Ben Franklin Parkway. The Celebration of Freedom Ceremony is the formal kickoff to the nation’s premier Independence Day celebration and is televised live on NBC10 and Telemundo62.
Welcome America, Inc. promotes American history, education and the city of Philadelphia as a global tourist attraction. It produces Wawa Welcome America, a multi-day festival (now through July 4) featuring art, culture, community engagement and entertainment. Welcome America was founded in 1993 and is celebrating its 27th festival in 2019.