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.
May 24, 2014
With a comprehensive new study setting out the challenges facing the beautiful but balkanized 2,000-acre heart of Fairmount Park on both banks of the Schuylkill, city leaders and park lovers alike have a to-do list for years to come. If the core of Philadelphia's sprawling park system is to be an even greater asset, the city must take steps to tame speeding traffic along its drives, substantially improve transit links, and bridge natural barriers (a broad river and steep slopes) and man-made impediments (freight lines and an expressway)
February 8, 2014 |
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.
January 31, 2014 |
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?
December 19, 2013 |
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.
November 9, 2013 |
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.