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William Penn Foundation

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NEWS
October 3, 1998 | By Stephan Salisbury, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Janet F. Haas, a specialist in rehabilitative medicine and brain trauma who is the daughter-in-law of philanthropist F. Otto Haas, has been named president of the William Penn Foundation, the region's second-largest philanthropy. Her cousin, David Haas, son of John C. Haas, will become chair of the foundation. In a prepared statement, David Haas said the appointment of his cousin to William Penn's top administrative post represented "a natural evolution. " "The William Penn Foundation is well positioned to build for the future," he said.
NEWS
November 29, 2012 | By Bob Fernandez, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Jeremy Nowak, the president at the $2-billion William Penn Foundation, has suddenly departed from the organization in what insiders say were "creative differences" with the charity's board. The foundation, which is controlled by the Main Line Haas family and seeded with the fortune of Rohm & Haas, disclosed Wednesday it will seek a new president. Nowak's departure comes at an unusual time in that the charity was only 45 days into implementing a 10-year strategic vision for the organization.
NEWS
December 10, 1993 | By FLASH ROSENBERG
Politics subverting art, instead of art subverting politics, is an ugly subversion of who is supposed to be doing the subverting. But that's exactly what's happening at Movement Theatre International (MTI) in Philadelphia. Those grandly purporting to support the arts shouldn't be inadvertently destroying them. Yet that's just what the William Penn Foundation is doing to MTI with the Dance Now! funding debacle. At first you may shrug, "Hey what's the big deal? It's only one program.
NEWS
July 6, 2012 | By Bob Fernandez, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The William Penn Foundation, the $2 billion charity controlled by one of Philadelphia's wealthiest and most private families, the Haases, will remain a regionally focused organization that dispenses $80 million to $90 million a year in grants, president Jeremy Nowak said Thursday. After a review, Nowak said, the foundation's board approved last week a new 10-year plan to fund cultural, environmental, and education projects. Among those efforts is $15 million in funding for innovations in Philadelphia public, private, and charter schools over the next three years.
NEWS
July 17, 2014 | By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer
A far-reaching $35 million effort by the William Penn Foundation to study and improve water quality in the Delaware River watershed is working its way into specific on-the-ground and in-the-water projects across the region. On Tuesday, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced $2.4 million in grants to 15 organizations that will not only do the work, but also bring in partners and additional funds. Amanda Bassow, director of the Eastern Partnership Office for the wildlife foundation, said that the grantees "are able to leverage more than twice that amount" for the projects.
NEWS
November 30, 2012 | BY WILL BUNCH, Daily News Staff Writer bunchw@phillynews.com, 215-854-2957
IT WAS JUST 17 months ago that Jeremy Nowak strolled into the once-staid offices of Philadelphia's biggest locally oriented philanthropy, the William Penn Foundation, as its new president - a big man with big, radical ideas for change. In a short time, the former community-development guru thrust the $2 billion foundation into the center of the fight over school reform in Philadelphia - gaining both powerful allies and a few harsh critics, and putting the William Penn Foundation in the headlines.
NEWS
February 22, 2013 | By Bob Warner, Inquirer Staff Writer
The William Penn Foundation said Wednesday that it would resume consideration of grant requests from city agencies, after the city Board of Ethics ruled that the foundation's largesse would not trigger the city's lobbying ordinance. If it were subject to that ordinance, the foundation would be forced to register and make quarterly financial disclosures. In a brief statement attributed to spokesman Tim Spreitzer, the foundation thanked the board for clarifying the scope of the lobbying ordinance.
NEWS
February 8, 2014 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
The regionally focused $2.2 billion William Penn Foundation reached outside the philanthropic sector and raided the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School for its next top executive, hiring away vice dean Peter J. Degnan. The button-down Degnan replaces outspoken Jeremy Nowak, who had vowed to sharpen the philanthropic impact of the Penn Foundation when the organization hired him in April 2010. Nowak resigned in November 2012 after developing a 10-year plan but drawing disagreement from the foundation's board.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
September 3, 2015
A story Aug. 23 on the Philadelphia Foundation gave incorrect information about the number of years former foundation president R. Andrew Swinney served - he headed the organization for 16 years - and the circumstances under which the foundation's former chief fund-raiser left - the foundation says the position was eliminated in a restructuring. Also, the name of a former president of the William Penn Foundation, Jeremy Nowak, was misspelled. A story in some editions Tuesday misstated when Bucks County and the New Hope-Solebury School District will cohost an electronics recycling event.
BUSINESS
September 3, 2015 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
There's a lot to like about the current state of the Philadelphia region's economy, particularly in the city, economist Mark Zandi said Tuesday afternoon during a panel discussion at the Union League of Philadelphia. "For the first time in a long time, it feels there's real underlying strength here," said Zandi, who is chief economist at Moody's Analytics. But the goal of the panel was to talk about what keeps the Philadelphia region from excelling economically like rival metro areas, such as Boston; Austin, Texas; and Seattle, and what can be done about it. Other members of the panel - sponsored by a nonprofit, Students Helping Students, which redistributes supplies and furnishings from wealthy schools to poor schools - were Jeremy Nowak, a consultant and former head of the William Penn Foundation, and Matt Cabrey, executive director of Select Greater Philadelphia, a group that markets the region to companies looking to relocate.
NEWS
August 27, 2015 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Haas family, a quiet, multigenerational philanthropic powerhouse based in Philadelphia, has been named one of the eight winners of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, an honor bestowed biannually since 2001 by a consortium of more than 20 Carnegie-related institutions. Vartan Gregorian, president of the New York City-based Carnegie Corp., said the Haas family, spanning 75 years over four generations, embodies the essence of the award because "they've done so much for so long.
BUSINESS
August 24, 2015 | By Erin Arvedlund, Inquirer Staff Writer
After a period of lackluster fund-raising, the Philadelphia Foundation is aiming to raise assets and refocus its mission under the new leadership of Pedro Ramos, a lawyer, civic leader, and the first Latino to lead the city's community foundation. Still unpacking boxes at offices in 1234 Market St., Ramos, who was appointed in July, has embarked on a "listening tour" among current and prospective donors and similar community foundations, including the highly successful Pittsburgh Foundation.
NEWS
July 16, 2015 | By Madeline R. Conway, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pedro A. Ramos, a lawyer and former chief of the School Reform Commission, has been named the next president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation, which awards grants and scholarships to nonprofit organizations. Ramos, 50, is a partner at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, and previously chaired the Philadelphia school board in addition to his role at the SRC. He also served in city government as both managing director and city solicitor. The first Latino to hold the position, Ramos will assume the post in August.
NEWS
July 7, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
As part of its push to get all kids reading on grade-level by fourth grade, the Philadelphia School District yesterday announced plans to spend $30 million on literacy, including $10.5 million in donations from the William Penn and Lenfest foundations. The money, which includes about $12.7 million from the district, will go towards teacher training, literacy coaches and in-classroom libraries for all 150 district elementary schools over the next three years, impacting about 48,000 students, officials said.
NEWS
April 24, 2015 | BY VALERIE RUSS, Daily News Staff Writer russv@phillynews.com, 215-854-5987
ROBERT NOTTINGHAM has lived in North Central Philadelphia for more than 25 years. When Nottingham moved from South Philly to the North Philly home that his late uncle had owned, the neighborhood was overcome by troubles. There were blocks of decaying houses - some were drug dens for people who had fallen into the zombie-world of the crack epidemic of the 1980s. "Before the [August 1964 race] riots, things were really good," Nottingham said. "We used to have really nice bars, shoe stores, clothing stores and furniture stores.
NEWS
February 9, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
A new William Penn Foundation-commissioned study paints a portrait of the Philadelphia arts scene as rife with both promise and peril. The report, which examines more than 160 groups, says some are coming up with innovative ways to adjust to changing demographics and ticket-buying patterns, but it also finds that 70 percent are in poor financial health, undercapitalized, and unable to withstand financial stress or to fund new ideas. And while there is a promising new generation of philanthropists in the area, they have not been persuaded by arts groups to loosen their purse strings.
NEWS
December 19, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
To help connect the region's bicycle and pedestrian paths, the William Penn Foundation has given $8.6 million for a planned 750-mile trail network. The money will be funneled to local governments and nonprofit organizations to design, plan, and build trails, with an emphasis on urban corridors, Andrew Johnson, director of the foundation's watershed-protection program, said Wednesday. The foundation gave $7 million to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to award for trail projects over the next three years.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 17, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
In the wake of leadership changes and the loss of funding from a major supporter, the Philadelphia Singers has decided to cease operations. The city's pioneering professional chorus will sing its last notes at a May concert, and then the organization will dissolve. The chorus was founded in 1972. The Philadelphia Singers' board voted to shut down after learning in November that the William Penn Foundation had turned down a request for a three-year grant for general support; after its executive director resigned; and in view of $125,000 in debt, said Michael Martin Mills, board vice president.
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