Meet Phil

Opportunity

Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Phil saw firsthand how sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance make it is possible to live the American dream. Like many other African-Americans, his parents’ families migrated from the South to the North for opportunities; they stayed for the community. Phil learned the values of family, hard work, and service from his parents who worked overtime and nights to move their family from the inner city of Cleveland to Bedford Heights. Phil watched his parents sacrifice to give him and his sister a chance at a quality education and a better way of life.

After graduating from Gilmour Academy – and with the help of an academic scholarship, work-study programs and summer jobs – Phil earned his undergraduate degree in finance from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Like many of his classmates, he was deeply affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Rather than seeking a job on Wall Street after graduation, Phil instead chose to serve as a congressional legislative aide for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif).

Community

Eventually, Phil and his wife decided to move back home to Northeast Ohio. In between demanding work as a marketing consultant to both small and Fortune 500 businesses, Phil found time to tutor middle school students on his lunch hour. He was so inspired by their stories that he left a successful career in the private sector to pay it forward in the nonprofit community; at the same time earning his Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management.

Phil then joined City Year Cleveland, an education nonprofit that partners with public schools to help keep students in school and on track to graduate, as its executive director. He led the organization out of debt, doubled its budget and expanded services to help more students graduate from high school. Under Phil’s leadership, City Year has doubled its revenue, grown its operations by 20 percent and one Cleveland school increase its graduation rate from 39% to 73% in five short years.​

Today, Phil is using his business expertise and MBA to serve as the Senior Vice President for Regional and Site Operations for City Year, Inc. He is responsible for all aspects of operations for 28 U.S. sites, including five regional vice presidents, nearly 700 site staff, 3,000 AmeriCorps members and a total revenue budget of $138 million. Like the students he serves, he ensures that all City Year sites meet their goals and positions them for long-term success.

Phil Robinson and His Wife

Civic Leader

A devoted husband and father of two, Phil is active in the community and the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. Currently, he serves on the boards of Gilmour Academy, United Black Fund Foundation, and Teach for America – Greater Cleveland.

Phil has received numerous awards and honors including Crain’s Cleveland Business 2015 Forty Under 40, Pahara NextGen Leader (a program of the Aspen Institute), Crain’s Cleveland Business “Who to Watch in Education,” Leadership Cleveland Class of 2013, Top 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers by Inside Business Magazine, and The George Washington University Hall of Fame in 2001.