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August 23, 2014, 1:49 pm

William Penn Foundation gives $32M in grants

Philadelphia Schools Project's Great Schools Fund receives $15M


Precious art will hang in climate-controlled rooms, several acres of land will receive further environmental protections, and residents will be able to eat healthier, locally-farmed produce, all thanks to this round of grants bestowed by the William Penn Foundation.

In all, the philanthropic organization has donated 36 grants, totaling $32 million, to a wide range of local and regional interests, including the Franklin Institute, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Kimmel Center and the Philadelphia Schools Project — all big winners in this round of the foundation’s annual grant-giving.

In fact, the biggest grant — $15 million — will go to PSP’s Great Schools Fund, which will help the School District of Philadelphia maintain and update several of its buildings. According to the foundation, this grant will allow for the creation of more than 50,000 new seats — more than 18,000 per year over the next three years — in high-performing schools and allow them to better educate its students.

“This investment is about making the highest quality K–12 education accessible to the greatest number of children,” said William Penn Foundation Board Chair Janet Haas, M.D. “We are optimistic that our strong support will inspire other funders to step forward with additional commitments to the fund.”

Ten grants, totaling $4.2 million, went to several environmental and watershed protection initiatives, including $495,000 to Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, which will use the funds to implement policies and practices that protect clean water and also provide for storm water management. “These grants build on the foundation’s long-standing commitment,” Haas said, “to the region’s water quality and environmental sustainability.”

The Kimmel Center will receive $2.5 million to assist in servicing resident companies through the end of next year, while The Franklin Institute will be able to add climate controls to its third-floor exhibit gallery in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion with the $2 million it will get from the foundation. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance will get a little over $1 million to launch its Creating Change Initiative.

The other grants will go to other unique causes. BalletX will receive $300,000, which will fund its operations through 2015, and Christ Church Preservation Trust, with its $331,197, will completely renovate the third-floor performance venue at Christ Church Neighborhood House.

Other awardees include 1812 Productions, Inc., Arden Theatre Company, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Regional Foundation, The Heritage Conservatory, National Resources Defense Council, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Inc. and Pew Charitable Trusts.

The William Penn Foundation will announce its next round of grants in November 2012.


Contact staff writer Damon C. Williams at (215) 893-5745 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .