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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
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 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
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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NEWS
April 21, 2016
By Carl Dranoff Philadelphia has gained its rightful place as a national model of urban renewal, and the proof is all around us. It is in our skyline punctuated by Liberty Place and the Comcast Center. It's along corridors such as the Avenue of the Arts, one of the most successful catalysts for economic growth in the United States. It winds through the Schuylkill River Trail, voted the best urban trail in America. And it's in the $6.7 billion of new development underway throughout the city.
NEWS
March 24, 2016
By Beth Miller and Sharon Easterling In his first budget address, Mayor Kenney called for a $256 million investment in universal pre-K and a $300 million bond initiative to improve parks, recreation centers, and libraries in neighborhoods across Philadelphia. While this combination may seem ambitious to some, we believe it's an absolute necessity if we are to move forward as a city. As the mayor mentioned in his speech, nearly 80 percent of Philadelphia schools are in Pennsylvania's lowest performance tiers.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2016 | By Harold Brubaker, Staff Writer
Deep pockets will be in Philadelphia next week. Representatives of more than 100 foundations with assets approaching $150 billion are gathering for the Funders' Network annual conference in Center City for three days. The group focuses on environmental, social, and economic issues, and counts some of the nation's biggest foundations, such as the Ford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, among its members. The meeting, which on Friday had 301 people registered to attend, puts Philadelphia in the spotlight at a time when there is a growing "national curiosity about what is happening in Philadelphia," said Shawn McCaney, director of creative communities and national initiatives at Philadelphia's William Penn Foundation.
NEWS
March 9, 2016 | By Julia Terruso, Staff Writer
The William Penn Foundation will commit a one-time, $15 million grant to improve and expand quality pre-K facilities in Philadelphia. The announcement marks the first major philanthropic investment in pre-K since Mayor Kenney announced his goal to make such care accessible to all city 3- and 4-year-olds. "This means an organization like William Penn is confident that this is the right initiative and we're the right people to do it," Kenney said. The grant is projected to create space for 1,500 preschoolers in quality centers by 2021.
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.
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