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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
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 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.
NEWS
September 5, 2014 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
August 21, 2014 | By Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
July 30, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
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.
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
July 16, 2014
ISSUE | GOV. CHRISTIE Homework to do How commendable of Gov. Christie to raise record amounts for the Republican Party ("Christie hits record in fund-raising effort," June 11). Meanwhile, in New Jersey - if he remembers the state that rocketed him into the national spotlight - we have a low credit rating amid no increase in jobs. The announced closing of the Showboat and Trump Plaza casinos will send thousands onto the unemployment line soon. And Revel? Remember all the tax incentives the governor gave to open that casino?
NEWS
July 11, 2014 | By Samantha Melamed, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last winter, a caravan of canoeists headed up the Schuylkill, paddling against the current and the chill to discuss plans for Invisible River , an arts event planned for this weekend. "Everyone was getting really excited, saying how we should put lights on the bridge, or imagining dancers in the shallows of the water and a flotilla of boats, with a music barge floating along. We were all letting our imaginations run wild," recalled choreographer Olivia Jorgensen, who was visited by a vision of dancers performing summer-solstice rituals on the banks.
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