The board of PYB is dynamic for many reasons, not least of which is its all-encompassing diversity. Across the board, there is not only demographic diversity, but a tremendous diversity of age and professional background. Strategic Planning Committee Chairman, David Gould, is a microcosm of that diversity and the value that it can bring.
At just 28-years-old, Gould is the youngest member of the board and is the most recently removed from being a part of the competing Philadelphia basketball scene himself. He grew up in the Germantown area of Philadelphia and played in recreation centers and youth leagues across the city. He played AAU with several area programs, as well as competed for four years on the varsity basketball team at Germantown Friends School, where he graduated from in 2007. He feels as if his rich and recent connection to the game in the city is of value to the board, but at the same time sees a gap that has emerged in the 9 years since his playing days in Philadelphia ended.
“I think part of what I can bring to PYB is the fact that I am not that far removed from being a kid growing up in Philadelphia who knew and used the basketball scene to grow,” Gould says. “Maybe I can relate to the current landscape of the game more than others, but at the same time, the type of leagues that are around and the types of camps that are offered have changed from the time I was a high school basketball player. There is a real void of people using basketball as a tool for personal development. I think part of what PYB is doing is trying to fill that void.”
Although he believes the perspective of his youth and his recent playing days is an asset to PYB, Gould believes that the diversity that he brings in his brief but unique professional perspective is what is of most value to the organization’s development. As a Program Officer of New Initiatives at the William Penn Foundation, he brings the experience and knowledge of the non-profit sector from the grant making point of view, meaning he can evaluate the approach of PYB from the other side of the coin.
“My biggest value is my exposure to the realities of the non-profit sector. In order to be a successful non-profit and serve people, you have to be very intentional about having an impact,” Gould says. “It is more than just having a feel-good mission; you have to try to make the greatest impact possible. You have to be deliberate about how you plan on providing and growing your services, as well as how you make difficult decisions about what to do and what not to do. I think if I can push us in that direction of knowing what to do and making progress, having gone through and observed a lot of those processes in my day-to-day work, I think that will be a helpful perspective that can ultimately help us serve as many young people as possible.”
While Gould’s unique expertise surrounding both the basketball and business aspects of PYB make him an ideal and vital member of the board, his motivation for involvement in the organization goes far beyond his boardroom fit. Beyond the readily apparent value proposition of helping young people to reach their potential as students, basketball players, and leaders in their community, he sees the potential for PYB to take on an important role in the social landscape of Philadelphia.
“I absolutely think the holistic approach of PYB has a place in the broader movement for social change in our city,” Gould says. “As the city struggles with issues related to violence, unemployment, and incarceration, it has been discovered that one of the most consistent predictors of a child’s life outcome is their connection to a loving, caring adult mentor. In many cases, considering our city’s passion for basketball, that mentor can be a basketball coach.”
“Most kids growing up are more excited about athletics than they are academics. I am motivated by PYB’s approach to take kids’ existing interest in basketball and to channel it to help with their academic and holistic development as young people. I think that exact holistic approach is very much a part of trying to address these broader social issues, in addition to helping individuals.”
Another element of PYB that Gould sees as being able to contribute to social change is the ability to use basketball as a tool to unify the different demographics of our city.
“Basketball is very much immersed in Philadelphia culture regardless of what neighborhood you come from—it is universal in a sense—meaning that there is a tremendous opportunity to connect,” he says.
Playing high school basketball at Germantown Friends, a well-off private school, Gould had four years of first-hand experience to back up this belief.
“It was interesting playing basketball in the city of Philadelphia but playing for GFS,” he states. “As teams came to GFS and as we went to other non-private schools to play, it created a level of exposure that otherwise would not come about for most of the kids involved if it was not for basketball. I observed kids on my team and other teams come to a greater understanding about other cultures as a result of that exposure.”
In light of recent tragedies in our country that have stemmed from a lack of understanding and empathy across cultural divides, Gould says the importance for activating avenues like basketball to connect people is as high as it’s ever been.
“I think that we as a city, and more broadly as a country, have to face the reality that people are more likely to live around people that look like them and think like them and come from the same demographic. As a result, our world views are very confined to what we are familiar with and what we are comfortable with,” he says. “PYB can be another resource, in addition to the ones that currently exist in our city, that can bring kids of different backgrounds together and expose them to different life experiences that they may not otherwise be exposed to. I think that is really important for the personal development of kids, as well as being an important value for us to continue to cultivate as a society more largely.”
During his time on the board, Gould has tirelessly volunteered to grow PYB as an organization and spread its mission around Philadelphia. His understanding of the social landscape of the city and his vision for PYB’s place for its improvement, is just one of the tremendous assets that he continues to bring to the boardroom.
By Isaac Bushnell, Corporate-Based Intern