Philadelphia City Council honors Howard

Philadelphia City Council honors Howard

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard said that while his Phillies' career is finished, he still has work to do in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia City Council honored Howard on Thursday in a ceremony at City Hall. A resolution recognized, congratulated and honored Howard for his Phillies career and commended "his dedication to philanthropy throughout the city of Philadelphia."

"If I'm not here playing in a Phillies uniform, that doesn't mean I'm finished with my work in the city and around Philadelphia," Howard said during the ceremony. "So my presence will still be felt here in Philadelphia, because there's still a lot of work that needs to be done."

Howard and his wife, Krystle, created the Ryan Howard Big Piece Foundation in 2013. The foundation focuses on "engaging children, specifically those who lack athletic and educational opportunities, in the fundamental area of literacy."

Its first program, the Ryan Howard Reading Challenge, challenged students in a Philadelphia public school to read 20 minutes a day, seven days a week. The program resulted in more than one million minutes of reading by students, which Howard used as an incentive to award the school a grant for a new reading room. The interactive, baseball-themed room, dubbed "Howard's Homeroom," is filled with books, computers and iPads for students to read, create, and dream.

Howard raised $75,000 to provide the room by holding events on his off days.

The new Phillies Urban Youth Academy was unveiled this summer in South Philadelphia, and it was named the Ryan Howard Training Center.

Howard just completed the final season of a five-year, $125 million contract. The Phillies have a $23 million club option for 2017, but they will take a $10 million buyout instead.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.