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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Michael DelBene

President & CEO

Welcome America Inc.

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Founded: 1993

Industry: Community Festival

As the president and chief executive officer of Welcome America Inc., Michael DelBene oversees the planning and production of two major citywide festivals that bring communities together and showcase the history and culture of Philadelphia.

DelBene joined Welcome America Inc. in 2019, following his role as vice president of business development at the Mann Center for Performing Arts. At the Mann, DelBene implemented strategies to raise revenue from corporate sponsors and establish government relations. He also previously served as the head of major gift development at the National Constitution Center, where he expanded the center’s major gift donor portfolio.

In addition to his role at Welcome America, DelBene is also the president of Excelsior Strategies Group, a consulting firm specializing in nonprofit fundraising, strategic management, issue advocacy and communications. At Excelsior Strategies, DelBene has provided comprehensive strategies for numerous nonprofit organizations.

Welcome America Inc. is responsible for two major festivals, the Wawa Welcome America Festival and the Philly Holiday Experience. The Wawa Welcome America Festival is the largest free outdoor festival in America, attracting hundreds of thousands of live guests and millions more virtually worldwide. DelBene’s vision has transformed the festival by incorporating Juneteenth commemorations alongside the traditional Fourth of July programming.

“The most important risk I took in my career in recent years was to expand the Welcome America 4th of July Festival to include and kick off with Juneteenth celebrations,” DelBene said. “In doing so, we truly reimagined the way that we celebrate such a foundational and monumentally important holiday in our nation. Consequently, Welcome America is now not only the largest free outdoor festival in the country, but the most diverse and inclusive July 4th celebration in America.”

DelBene was recognized as one of the Most Admired CEOs of 2022 by the Philadelphia Business Journal and has been sought after as a thought leader, delivering remarks on topics related to the city’s economic outlook, large-scale events and civic engagement. He is known for his ability to unite prominent organizations in strategic collaborations that drive economic vitality and bring people together, the nonprofit said.

DelBene has served on the board of Friends Rehabilitation Program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing housing and social services for low- and moderate-income households.

“As a tribute to his years of wonderful work and dedication in the performing arts industry, he was recently selected to be a member of The Recording Academy and attended his first Grammy’s Show in 2023,” DelBene’s team said.

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Did you know?

A fun fact about Michael DelBene: As a tribute to his years of wonderful work and dedication in the performing arts industry, he was recently selected to be a member of The Recording Academy, and attended is first Grammy’s Show in 2023.


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