In 1979, Rich Negrin was a 13 year-old boy getting ready to play in his very first Pop Warner football league game. He was excited, not only for the game, but because joining him was his number one fan, his dad. As Rich and his dad were getting in the car, his father was gunned down by assassins. The impact of that senseless act of violence has stayed with Rich to this day.
“I’m not sure I can put into words how hard it was to lose my dad in that way,” Rich recalls. “An act of violence like that stays with you forever. I can tell you this, though, I know what it’s like to lose someone you love to gun violence. And that experience has made me a relentless advocate for families and a crusader against violent crime.”
Tested by tragedy, Rich went on to play college football and was a consensus all-American, serving as team captain and helping win the small college National Championship in 1987. After college, he played briefly as a lineman in the National Football League with the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets.
During that time, though, Rich never lost sight of the need for more action to fight gun violence in our communities. He knew that he could deliver bigger hits by getting involved.
In 1995, Rich began his career in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office prosecuting some of the toughest hate crimes and violent crimes in the city. He eventually moved up to work in the Major Trials Unit where took on hundreds of felony trials and some of Philadelphia’s worst criminals.
More recently, Rich served as managing director and deputy mayor for the city of Philadelphia where he helped to oversee an annual budget of $5.5 billion and manage nearly 30,000 employees. During his tenure as managing director, Philadelphia saw an increase in population, its highest bond rating ever (an A rating from all three agencies) and was named “No. 1 Digital City” by Government Technology Magazine.
Rich also oversaw the growth of PhillyRising, an innovative neighborhood quality-of-life initiative that utilizes technology to help create an improved sense of community and deliver vital services. His hands-on approach resulted in thousands of hours spent working in Philadelphia neighborhoods, side-by-side with residents, making critical improvements.
Philadelphia also saw a significant reduction in violent crime including a 30% reduction of homicides while also reducing the number of citizens incarcerated in prisons. Philadelphia also attracted world-class events such as the Democratic National Convention, a visit from Pope Francis and became the first World Heritage City in North America joining the international ranks of great cities such as Paris and Rome.
Rich also served as vice-chair of the independent Philadelphia Board of Ethics from 2006 to 2010. As a board member, Rich championed greater transparency in government by helping to implement and enforce tough, new rules against pay-to-play that WHYY radio recognized as being among the strongest in the country. The new regulations require greater financial disclosures by city officials and impose new rules regarding campaign finance limits and disclosures. The Christian Science Monitor called the new rules among the “most remarkable example of urban ethics reform” in the country.
In addition to his public service, Rich has worked as vice president and general counsel of ARAMARK’s Healthcare and Correctional Services Businesses, and as a partner at the law firm of Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel.
Rich has won numerous awards such as the National Latino Lawyer of the Year Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association, NeighborWorks USA’s Visionary Leadership Award, and the Community Champion Award from the Friends of the Free Library. He was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change in Innovation and Citizen Engagement, and in 2015 he received the Faith-Based Coalition’s Black History Month Trailblazer Award during MLK Day commemorations.
Rich currently lives in East Falls with his wife and family.