Connor Barwin is the Founder and Board President of the Make The World Better Foundation. He retired after a successful ten year career in 2019 and now serves as Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was drafted by the Houston Texans in ’09 in the second round and played for them for four years. He then went to Philadelphia, playing for the Eagles for four years. In 2017, Connor was a member of the Los Angeles Rams and in 2018, went on to play for the New York Giants.
In 2013, during his first year with the Eagles, Connor founded, with assistance from his mom and inspiration from his bike rides to practice at the Novacare Complex, Make The World Better Foundation. His goal was the revitalizing of playgrounds around Philadelphia. Connor believes everyone should have a safe place to play and gather. He works closely with MTWB staff, community groups, city agencies, other nonprofits, and the business community to plan and implement each project.
Connor and Margaret met Jeffrey Tubbs founder of Urban Roots who shared a very similar outlook. After working together for four years the two nonprofits merged in 2018. They have worked on Ralph Brooks Park, Smith Playground, Waterloo Playground, and Vare Recreation Center. They have partnered with such organizations as Tiny WPA and Philadelphia Photo Arts Center enabling MTWB to offer an eclectic mix of arts and skill-building programming in the communities they work in.
Connor graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy in 2005, receiving an athletic scholarship to the University of Cincinnati where he played football and basketball. In 2007 Connor was awarded the Oscar Robertson Award in basketball, which recognizes dedication and commitment as well as on-court accomplishments. In 2008 Connor was named UC football MVP, helping the Bearcat team to its first Big East Championship and first BCS Orange Bowl. While in Philadelphia, Connor was twice selected as the Eagles’ Walter Payton Man of the Year candidate in recognition of his community service efforts.
Connor’s philanthropic efforts began in 2011 when he traveled to Nigeria with the Amobi Okoye Foundation on a humanitarian mission to bring medical supplies, textbooks, and American footballs to Nigerian youth. Connor travelled to Haiti on multiple occasions with NRG Energy to install solar panels on orphanages, schools, and hospitals. In 2018, Connor climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with the Eagles’ Chris Long as a part of a group of players helping former NFL long snapper and Army Green Beret, Nate Boyer in the climb to raise awareness for water scarcity. In 2020, he was honored as Humanitarian of the Year by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.
Connor is an avid concert-goer and music aficionado and after connecting with Sean Agnew of R5 Productions, decided to throw MTWB’s first Annual Benefit Concert featuring Kurt Vile in 2014 at Union Transfer. We hope the next concert will again be held at the Dell Music Center in East Fairmount Park with the continued help of Union Transfer.
Connor and his wife Laura, both Detroit natives, reside in Philadelphia with their son West David and are expecting a daughter in May.
“I started MTWB because I wanted to build playgrounds and basketball courts, then I realized what we really do is connect neighbors which builds stronger communities. A new playground or basketball court is good; inspired and built by the community is better.”