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21 Mar 2009
Saving a playground, lifting a neighborhood

As a global specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on enabling people with life-altering conditions to lead better lives, Shire Pharmaceuticals, which has major operations in Chester County, is putting its money where its mouth is. Shire’s commitment to community support, desire to promote regional collaboration, and response to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s “call to action” all serve as a catalyst for Shire’s Project Playground initiative in the Feltonville neighborhood of Philadelphia.

For the first time, a private corporation is joining directly with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Recreation in revitalizing a playground in the City’s Feltonville neighborhood. In the process, Shire is helping restore pride to a growing, diverse community.

Through Project Playground, Shire has provided more than $165,000 in funding to replace a 20-year old playground with a state-of-the-art play area at the city’s Feltonville Recreation Center, and it couldn’t come at a better time. It will be unveiled at a community celebration there on March 20 at 11:00 a.m. with Mayor Nutter, City Councilwoman Maria Sanchez, Recreation Commissioner Susan Slawson, dozens of local children and parents, as well as Shire representatives on hand.

Shire will also announce a three-year, $100,000 funding commitment to the Department of Recreation.

“Helping people is what we do at Shire, and this initiative is a tangible way to illustrate how much our 700 Philadelphia-area employees care about communities across the greater Philadelphia region,“ said Mike Yasick, senior vice president at Shire. “We are proud to roll up our sleeves, to get involved through volunteerism and by offering financial support to help bring about positive change that benefits all.”

In his 35 years with the Department of Recreation, Program Director Stu Greenberg has never seen a project come together so quickly. Project Playground took only six months to complete, while most similar projects usually take at least a year.

“This donation is hopefully going to enhance the positive energy in the neighborhood, boosting the civic pride of our residents in the community,” said Greenberg. “It will increase participation and should enhance our after-school and day camp program, as well as young mothers bringing their toddlers here from the community.”

This highly diverse and increasingly youthful community, where it is estimated 27 languages are spoken and local school enrollment has increased by 50 percent in the last two years, has seen its share of crime and poverty over the years.

Most weeks, more than 500 children use the Feltonville Recreation Center, where they participate in a wide range of programs including dance, gymnastics, art and computer classes, and traditional sports like swimming baseball, basketball and touch football. Shire’s contribution not only provides a source of community pride, but a safe, inviting neighborhood center where children from diverse backgrounds can come together through the common bond of play and recreation.

Shire’s enthusiasm for the project, which also includes new landscaping, trees, and sidewalks, was contagious. It motivated Sherwin-Williams to donate paint for City Year representatives to re-finish the iron fence that surrounds the facility.

“This kind of investment in our communities brings pride to the residents in the neighborhood, even though they may not use the playground, they see that it’s a place others care about and now they too will take greater care in that space,” said Greenberg.

For further information please contact:

Matthew Cabrey (North America) +1 484 595 8248
Joe Petrucci +1 215 545 4715 x21

Notes to editors


Shire’s strategic goal is to become the leading specialty biopharmaceutical company that focuses on meeting the needs of the specialist physician. Shire focuses its business on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), human genetic therapies (HGT) and gastrointestinal (GI) diseases as well as opportunities in other therapeutic areas to the extent they arise through acquisitions. Shire’s in-licensing, merger and acquisition efforts are focused on products in specialist markets with strong intellectual property protection and global rights. Shire believes that a carefully selected and balanced portfolio of products with strategically aligned and relatively small-scale sales forces will deliver strong results.

For further information on Shire, please visit the Company’s website:

21 Mar 2009 Saving a playground, lifting a neighborhood (19KB PDF)

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