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Our Founder | Our History

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James Mills

James Mills, Founder 

Executive Director from 1985 - 2002

In 1985, founder, James Mills was appointed head of the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network by former Philadelphia Mayor Wilson W. Goode. Mills had successfully served as Field Operations Director for the Crisis Intervention Network; a nationally-recognized agency that preceded PAAN and dramatically decreased gang-related deaths in Philadelphia for over a decade. Mills ground-breaking initiatives to prevent violence and drug abuse in our city had so impressed Mayor Goode that he was asked to develop PAAN’s business model which exists today.

Mills established four primary operating departments including; Communications, Field Operations, Preventive Education, and Programs and Special Projects. These departments worked collaboratively with communities, agencies, schools, parents and institutions to serve youth and families.

Mills passed away in July 2002. He along with his successor the late Darryl Coates are credited with laying the foundation for the agency’s growth and success to this day.

Inez Love

Executive Director from 2002 - 2004 

Darryl Coates

Executive Director from 2005 -2012

In April 1989, Darryl Coates began his services with the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network (PAAN) under the leadership of his mentor and friend, founder and former Executive Director, the late James J. Miles. Darryl was a foot soldier in the war on drugs and gang violence in Philadelphia.


Darryl continued to demonstrate his leadership abilities providing positive youth development and character building activities for at-risk youth in the schools and communities of Philadelphia. He left PAAN in 1992 to pursue his passion for working with African American males and females in another capacity as the founder and executive director of Nu-Sigma Youth Services (NSYS). However, Darryl would continue to work with PAAN through NSYS' Youth Alternative Athletic Program (YAAP), a youth sports league. In 2005, Darryl returned to PAAN as Executive Director at the urging of Mr. James Mills' widow, Jacqui. He served as PAAN's Executive Director until he became ill in May of 2011. 

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Darryl Coates

Robert Brown

Executive Director from 2014 - 2016

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