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.
July 17, 2014 |
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.
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?
July 11, 2014 |
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.