December 15, 2014 |
The William Penn Foundation has decided to provide short-term funding for Dance USA/Philadelphia, the service organization whose grant application was unexpectedly denied by the foundation last month after many years of support. The grant denial sent shock waves through the local dance community, which relied on the organization, commonly known as Dance/UP, for a wide variety of services - from an e-newsletter, packed with grant-deadline information, to a robust program of subsidized performance venues for the region's burgeoning number of troupes and choreographers.
December 8, 2014 |
Waves of dismay are rolling through the region's dance community in the wake of an abrupt decision by the William Penn Foundation to cease funding Dance/UP, a branch of Washington-based Dance/USA and the sole organization serving the entire community. The foundation, which provided the funding in 2006 to launch Dance/UP and has supported it ever since, gave no notice that it would not renew that support, said dance officials, nor did it offer to finance a transition period for Dance/UP (formerly called Dance USA/Philadelphia)
September 12, 2014 |
The William Penn Foundation is extending its longtime role as primary benefactor of the Free Library of Philadelphia by awarding the library the biggest grant in the history of either institution. The Free Library will receive $25 million from William Penn over three years, helping to pay for renovations at the Central Library downtown, plus the renovation and expansion of five neighborhood branches in South Philadelphia, central North Philadelphia, Logan, Tacony, and Mount Airy.
September 8, 2014 |
Federal housing Secretary Julián Castro visited the West Philadelphia Promise Zone on Friday, but not everyone went along on the tour. Angry members of the Mantua Civic Association, one of the main local groups working for change, said they weren't invited. "I thought it was supposed to be collaborative," said association president DeWayne Drummond, who stood, steaming, outside the tour starting point at the Mount Vernon Manor apartments while Castro, Mayor Nutter, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and others went inside.
September 6, 2014 |
William R. Hite Jr. finds himself in an unusual spot: presiding over what is perhaps the gravest fiscal crisis the Philadelphia School District has ever seen, yet pushing hard for innovation. On the superintendent's watch, two new schools debuted last year. Three more will open Monday - Building 21, Learning in New Contexts, and the U School - small, personalized places that focus on projects, rely heavily on technology, and admit all students, not just the best and brightest. All three were built with outside money.
September 5, 2014 |
The feds promised to help West Philadelphia. And now a cabinet secretary is showing up to take a look around. Julián Castro, head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will tour parts of the new Promise Zone on Friday, as two local institutions commence a $4 million initiative to transform early childhood education in a troubled part of the city. The effort, led by the William Penn Foundation and Drexel University, seeks to double the number of neighborhood children in high-quality child care within three years.
August 21, 2014 |
William Penn is finally getting his Centre Square back. Or, at least how he might have envisioned it 400 years on. In this reimagining, there will be ice skating, programmable fountains, an upscale cafe, well-lit access to subways, and open space - lovely, inviting open space, all on the doorstep of City Hall. "We envision this as the center of our city, the center of our neighborhoods," said Paul Levy, chief executive of the Center City District (CCD). On Sept. 4, what was Dilworth Plaza, an off-putting, at times even threatening, hardscaped remnant of the well-intentioned but often misguided 1970s, is to reopen as Dilworth Park, a softer, greener, refurbished front porch for Philadelphia's civic hub. Three days of music, feasting, and general merriment will follow as the city looks to introduce the $55 million remake to the public.
July 30, 2014 |
The William Penn Foundation's new leader will leave Aug. 31 after six months on the job. Peter J. Degnan, who came to William Penn as managing director at the beginning of March from his post as vice dean of finance and administration at the Wharton School, has tendered his resignation, foundation leaders said Monday. There will be no search for a replacement. Laura Sparks, previously chief philanthropy officer, will step into the top job, being retitled executive director, when Degnan leaves.