Commission planning nation's 250th birthday meets this week in Philly

Mike DeNardo
November 13, 2018 - 4:30 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — We're going to be hearing this word a lot over the next eight years, so we should learn how to say it: semiquincentennial.  

The national committee planning our nation's 250th birthday party in 2026 will hold its first meeting Thursday evening at the Union League. Commission members will have a private meeting before a formal swearing-in ceremony Friday at Independence Hall.

Then, the 33-member panel — including eight members of Congress, nine federal officials and 16 citizens, like Comcast Vice President David Cohen and University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann — will move to do its actual work, according to the commission's executive director Frank Giordano.

"The enabling legislation for this commission requires the meetings at Independence Hall," said Giordano, also the CEO of Philly Pops, "and the space there is very limited."

The members will form committees for fundraising, education, infrastructure and other subjects. 
As the nation's birthplace, Philadelphia will have a prominent role, but chair Dan DiLella — CEO of Equus Capital Partners — said the commission is planning a national celebration.

"The goal is here — to celebrate our successes, educate our citizens again on what our country's all about, and then build infrastructure," he said. "We'd like to raise $2 million to $5 million on an interim basis just to get the thing up and running. The second piece of the puzzle, I'm going to guess, I've heard everything from $500 million to $2 billion."

As part of the celebration, Giordano is working to have the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the NCAA Basketball Championship, and even some World Cup matches held in Philadelphia in 2026.