Unicorn Hunters Host Rosie Rios Takes Over America’s 250th Anniversary Planning


President Joe Biden nominated Rosie Rios, who served as U.S. Treasurer under President Barack Obama and most recently co-host of the unicorn hunters business entertainment show, to succeed Philadelphia-based developer Dan DiLella as chairman of the United States Government’s Semi-Quintennial Commission, which is planning for America’s 250th birthday.

DiLella, who chaired the commission’s sometimes stormy first four years, is “still a member of the board. I am still involved. But I’m not a Democrat, and they had to get one,” DiLella told The Inquirer. “I’m surprised I’ve been in this position for so long.”

There could be a lot at stake for Philadelphia. Six of the 24 commission members are Pennsylvanians. Philadelphia has won massive infrastructure projects at each of the past three national celebrations of 50 years of the American Revolution: Fairmount Park was developed in part for the 1876 centennial, the South Philadelphia stadium district for the 1926 and Independence Mall before the 1976 Bicentennial, although the latter celebration failed to gather the massive crowds expected.

In a statement, Rios pledged “to build on all the progress made by Dan” and other board members of the bipartisan government and business leaders, crediting him with helping securing more than $20 million from federal and private sources and noting that on his watch 30 states have agreed to create their own anniversary commissions.

Management has also negotiated financial support or “partnerships” with professional sports leagues, Facebook, Comcast, Ernst & Young and major law firms. But so far, he has said little about what the actual celebrations of the 250th anniversary of US independence in 2026 will include.

DiLella returned the compliments to Rios, saying Rios effectively manages the group’s finance committee and has broad support from the board, including his own “100% support”.

DiLella had been targeted by a small group of board members, including Philadelphia investor Andrew Hohns and former U.S. Representative Joe Crowley (D., NY), who accused DiLella and his allies of move slowly, secretly and in tight circles of supporters.

After senior executives resigned and accused the commission in a lawsuit of ousting them because they were women, DiLella won a close vote in March that upheld the chairman’s broad powers to act on the board’s behalf.

The semi-quincentennial did not outline plans for a major celebration in Philadelphia, though state and city groups discussed how to mark the anniversary, as did similar groups in other parts of the country.

Prior to serving in government, Rios, a Harvard graduate, was chief investment officer for MacFarlane Partners, a $22 billion real estate investment firm based in San Francisco.

She is currently the managing director of Red River Associates, an investment management consulting firm, as well as a co-host, with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, of unicorn huntersa show that focuses on investing in start-ups.


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