In 1969, Phil founded and served as Executive Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, one of the top juvenile justice and social services agencies in the country. In 1991, Phil served as the Executive Director of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, in Washington, D.C., an organization established by the Kennedy family to continue to carry on RFK’s work in the field of social justice and human rights in the U.S. and around the globe. Prior to this appointment, Phil served as Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services under Governor Michael S. Dukakis. In 1992, he was appointed by President Clinton to serve as the New England Administrator of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He served in that role until 1996 when he became a Democratic candidate for the US Congress in the 10th District of Massachusetts. From 2000-2007, Phil was twice elected Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
Phil was appointed in 2007 by Governor Deval Patrick as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts. From 2013 to 2017, Phil served as Chairman of the University of Massachusetts Building Authority Board of Directors. In 2002, he was appointed to Chair the Board of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. In addition, Phil is the Board Chair of the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum affiliated with Brandeis University.
In addition to holding honorary degrees from the University of Massachusetts Boston, Bridgewater State College, and Curry College, Phil received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (Honors in History) and a Master of Arts degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.