Nicetown: PYB Hopes to Open New Youth Center Next January

Construction is underway on the Alan Horwitz "6th Man" Center, which will bring basketball and positive programming to Philly youth.

Philadelphia Youth Basketball (PYB) is a non-profit organization that brings positive programs to Philadelphia children and teens by using their love of basketball as its main hook.

“Our mission is to create holistic opportunities for young people to self-determine and come of age in positive ways so they can set goals and have the ability to achieve them regardless of starting lines or circumstances,” CEO Kenny Holdsman said.

The program has been around for several years, but will soon break ground on its own community space, a 100,000 square foot basketball youth basketball facility located in Nicetown. Dubbed the The Alan Horwitz ‘Sixth Man’ Center, the site is currently under construction, preparing to open on January 18, 2024.

PYB’s proposed center was once just a conversation between Holdsman and one of PYB’s other co-founders, Eric Worley, in 2015. At the time, they were dreaming up ways to use basketball to positively impact Philadelphia youth, Holdsman said.

A rendering of the outside of the Sixth Man Center. Image Courtesy: Philadelphia Youth Basketball

Starting in 2015 with a budget of $150,000, PYB now has annual operating budget of $3.2 million, according to staff. The budget supports 16 full-time staff mentors and 40-45 seasonal mentors.

The organization continues to grow each year thanks to community and philanthropic support, events and community mobilization manager, Glynnis Braun said.

“We use basketball as our hook, but the real emphasis of all of our programs and organization is on the child’s mental, physical, and spiritual health,” he said.

The center will feature seven basketball courts, a mental wellness facility, physical therapy, youth leadership programs, four classrooms, a financial literacy workshop, a healthy food commissary, and a yoga studio, among other offerings.

Support for an expanded PYB facility grew after Alan Horwitz, founder of real estate company Campus Apartments and avowed 76ers super-fan, announced that he wanted to be PYB’s leading donor in 2020. Horwitz donated $5 million to the non-profit, and in about thirteen months, the organization received nearly $21.5 million in total donations to the center.

Holdsman mentioned the center’s donor base is vast and not made of just business elites, but everyday individuals in the community.

“With all this, we can hook together youth development, workforce development, business development, and community development, all with a coherent thread,” Holdsman said.

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