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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.
BUSINESS
September 11, 2013 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
The $1.9 billion William Penn Foundation, which abruptly parted ways with president Jeremy Nowak in November 2012 over "style" issues, says it has retained a head-hunting firm and is searching for a new leader. The search comes after months of board discussions over a new management structure and needs of the foundation, board chair David Haas said Monday. Natalie Brooks, managing partner with ZRG Partners in Philadelphia, has been hired to help find a new leader. She expects to identify one by the end of the year.
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
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.
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.
NEWS
July 7, 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.
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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.
NEWS
January 31, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Time has almost run out for CAPA students' hopes of putting on a musical, the centerpiece of their school year. With just a few days left until the deadline to raise enough money to produce a show, the High School for Creative and Performing Arts' parents group is about $6,000 short. That the city's premier arts school will go a second year without its signature performance breaks senior Maya Bjornson's heart. "When we can't do the biggest performance of the year, what does that say?
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | BY SEAN COLLINS WALSH, Daily News Staff Writer walshSE@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
AFTER investigating a complaint from public-education activists, the city Ethics Board ruled earlier this month that an arrangement among the Philadelphia School District, the William Penn Foundation and a consulting firm did not violate the city's lobbying-disclosure requirements - but came close. At issue were contracts with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for financial analyses and operational recommendations for the district that were paid for by the foundation. The complainants, who are wary of private influence over district decisions to close traditional public schools and expand charter schools, said the consulting firm was in effect working as a lobbyist on behalf of the foundation.
NEWS
November 9, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia and its suburbs are slowly making good on an ambitious plan to build a 750-mile network of biking and walking paths throughout the region. Mayor Nutter last week opened a 12-foot-wide, 1.6-mile-long asphalt sidewalk along North Delaware Avenue through the industrial heartland of Port Richmond, and this month, Chester County will open a seven-mile segment of the Chester Valley Trail along Route 202 near Chesterbrook. A $10 million, 2,000-foot-long concrete "boardwalk" being built out into the Schuylkill will extend the Schuylkill River Trail from Locust Street to the South Street Bridge in 2014.
NEWS
October 31, 2013 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
Ed Rendell didn't ask the hundreds gathered Tuesday evening at the Masonic Temple for the Avenue of the Arts Inc.'s 20th anniversary celebration to close their eyes and dream of a vibrant city in the future. That future is now. But he did recall the early days of his mayoralty, and asked those in attendance to remember 1992, when "businesses were trying to get out as fast as they could. " The city faced bankruptcy. Residents were leaving, companies were not moving in. So Rendell grabbed hold of an idea that was percolating at the time and made it a key piece of his economic development plans: transform South Broad Street into an Avenue of the Arts.
NEWS
October 4, 2013 | BY JAD SLEIMAN, Daily News Staff Writer sleimaj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5938
TO GET TO what those in the know called Wal-Mart Beach - a picturesque outcropping along the Delaware River - it used to be you'd have to squeeze through a hole in a chain-link fence behind a mega-retailer before trudging down a narrow, overgrown path. "I think it was mostly a hangout for homeless people and drug addicts," said Steve "The Rock" Johnson, a bicycle mechanic who stumbled upon the South Philly locale this summer. While exploring he noticed that someone had left behind stone steps, seats and fire pits.
NEWS
September 30, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
Second of three parts, on successive Sundays. For more than a dozen years, philanthropy in Philadelphia was led by a powerful quartet. In various combinations, the Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, the Annenbergs, and the Lenfests lined up behind arts and culture. They built: Without them, Philadelphia might have no National Constitution Center or new, altered Barnes Foundation on the Parkway. They rescued: Had they not stepped in to cover construction debt, the Kimmel Center would have drowned in red ink. And they preserved: When The Gross Clinic , Thomas Eakins' important canvas, was on the brink of being sold off to the National Gallery of Art in Washington and an Arkansas museum backed by Wal-Mart heirs, calls were made, checks written, a deal was struck, and the painting's continued residency was assured.
BUSINESS
September 19, 2013 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
ZRG Partners headhunter Natalie H. Brooks says she has "total confidence" she can find a new leader for the $1.9 billion William Penn Foundation in the next four months. "The board is ready, the staff is ready, everybody externally is ready," Brooks said Monday over coffee in Center City a few blocks from the foundation's headquarters. Brooks said she had interviewed candidates but would not name them. The previous president, Jeremy Nowak, resigned in a disagreement with the board in November 2012 after being hired in April 2011 and developing a 10-year plan for the organization.
BUSINESS
September 11, 2013 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
The $1.9 billion William Penn Foundation, which abruptly parted ways with president Jeremy Nowak in November 2012 over "style" issues, says it has retained a head-hunting firm and is searching for a new leader. The search comes after months of board discussions over a new management structure and needs of the foundation, board chair David Haas said Monday. Natalie Brooks, managing partner with ZRG Partners in Philadelphia, has been hired to help find a new leader. She expects to identify one by the end of the year.
NEWS
July 13, 2013 | By Theodore Schleifer, Inquirer Staff Writer
The founder of a Philadelphia nonprofit journalism start-up has resigned because the cash-strapped organization could no longer afford to retain him as CEO, he announced Thursday. AxisPhilly, founded in January 2012 by Neil Budde, 57, is facing dim financial prospects and plans to reduce its yearly budget by half. The reduction includes savings from the departure of Budde, a former Wall Street Journal editor who said only that his compensation was aligned with an organization with a $1 million yearly budget.
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