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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.
BUSINESS
October 27, 2010 | By Christopher K. Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
Feather O. Houstoun is resigning next year as president of the William Penn Foundation, which, under her five- year watch, has been a force of civic engagement in Philadelphia and the region. Houstoun, 64, said she planned to step down by midsummer. She intends to stay long enough to provide a transition for her replacement. David Haas, chairman of the foundation, said a committee had begun searching for a new president. The William Penn Foundation is the charitable arm of the heirs of Otto Haas, a cofounder of Rohm & Haas Co. With a $1.9 billion endowment, it is one of the region's largest foundations.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
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.
NEWS
December 15, 2014 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
December 8, 2014 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Staff Writer
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)
NEWS
September 12, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
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.
NEWS
September 8, 2014 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
September 7, 2014 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
September 6, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
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