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NEWS
April 30, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Staff Writer
The city's Board of Pensions and Retirement has hired the son of longtime Register of Wills Ron Donatucci to be the chief investment officer of the city's beleaguered pension fund. Michael Donatucci, 30, is currently an investment strategist at SEI Institutional Group, a Montgomery County-based asset management firm. He has been with the firm for eight years. He will be paid $175,000 in his new position. Rob Dubow, pension board chairman and the city's finance director, said Donatucci had "precisely the level of experience and expertise necessary" for the job. Dubow said Donatucci's family connections did not influence the board's decision.
NEWS
April 29, 2016
CAMPAIGNING in the city last week, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticized Mayor Kenney's sugary-drink tax proposal as "regressive," saying the burden would unfairly fall on poor people, who on average drink more sugared soda and other soft drinks. Sanders meant it was regressive in the economic sense. But, there is evidence the tax may be "progressive" in a public health sense by lowering the rate of diabetes and obesity, which also on average afflict more poor people.
NEWS
April 29, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
Buoyed by the end of the state budget stalemate and the creation of a new school funding formula this month, Philadelphia education advocates on Wednesday called on the state legislature to pump $400 million in new money into 2016-17 school budgets. If the request becomes reality, the city School District would receive 18.9 percent, or about $75 million, of that new funding, said the advocates, who held a news conference in front of the district's North Broad Street headquarters. The school funding formula, used to determine how much money each district receives from the state, is laudable for allocating funding based on the number of students in each district weighted for factors such as the number of students who are poor, who are learning English, and who have newly enrolled in charter schools, advocates say. But the formula is only as good as its funding, the advocates stressed, saying schools across the state are underfunded annually by more than $3 billion.
NEWS
April 25, 2016 | By Martha Woodall, Staff Writer
Farah Jimenez, a Philadelphia School Reform Commission member and a former head of the People's Emergency Center, has been named president and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund. The independent nonprofit, which champions quality public education in the city and provides scholarships to help students attend college, is scheduled to make the announcement Monday. "We are excited that Farah will be driving Philadelphia Education Fund's continued mission of delivering exceptional outcomes for all Philadelphia students by developing great teachers, and building paths to college and career success," David Baker, chairman of the fund's board of directors, said in a statement.
NEWS
April 24, 2016 | By Stephan Salisbury, Culture Writer
More than $2.6 million was awarded Wednesday to 284 arts and cultural organizations around the city by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, about the same number as last year. Of those, 20 are receiving their first grants, fund officials said. Since its founding in 1991, the fund has distributed $40 million in unrestricted operating funds to hundreds of groups, large and small. The fund also announced that the Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music is winner of the Councilman David Cohen Award, a noncash award recognizing an arts organization for its economic and social justice work.
NEWS
April 23, 2016
ISSUE | EDUCATION Restore Pa. funds to poorest schools Last week, the Pennsylvania Senate and House passed House Bill 1589, which would use a new formula to distribute a small increase in basic education funding for this school year. The action came without a restoration of funds to the school districts that bore the brunt of cuts under Gov. Tom Corbett. This ensures that the state will continue to have the largest funding gap between affluent and poor districts in the country.
BUSINESS
April 22, 2016 | By Harold Brubaker, Staff Writer
Samantha Quinones bought kale for the first time this week - and ate it raw in a salad mixed with some spinach. Chalk it up to a class on food and nutrition that the 25-year-old single mother of two boys is taking at Congreso de Latinos Unidos in North Philadelphia. Quinones, who lives in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia, said the class, sponsored by the food-service giant Aramark and the American Heart Association, is making a big difference to her. "I'm more aware of what I buy at the grocery store," Quinones said.
BUSINESS
April 20, 2016 | By Alan J. Heavens, STAFF WRITER
Toll Bros. Inc. said Monday that its Gibraltar Capital and Asset Management subsidiary had created a venture with a "large institutional investor" to provide builders and developers with land banking and joint-venture capital. The venture will finance builders' and developers' acquisition and development of land and home sites, and "pursue other complementary opportunistic investment strategies," the Horsham-based luxury-home builder said. The venture, to be managed by Gibraltar, will have a total of $400 million of funding commitments, with 75 percent from the institutional investor and 25 percent from Toll Bros., the builder said.
BUSINESS
April 19, 2016 | By Jacob Adelman, Staff Writer
Former tennis pro Andre Agassi's charter-school investment fund is poised to turn a $1 million profit when it sells a North Philadelphia classroom building this week to the charter operator that has leased it for five years. The sale to KIPP Philadelphia Charter School is one of the first by Agassi's partnership with the California-based financier Bobby Turner since they set out in 2011 to deliver attractive returns to investors with a country-spanning portfolio of charter-school properties.
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