The William Penn Foundation, which received a windfall three years ago with the sale of the chemical company that supported it, said Thursday that it will remain focused on its Philadelphia base rather than dispensing grants nationally, The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
Jeremy Nowak, president of the William Penn fund, said the board of the $2-billion foundation approved a new 10-year plan that envisions spending $80-million to $90-million a year on cultural, educational, and environmental projects within its home region.
The 2009 sale of the Philadelphia firm Rohm & Haas to Dow Chemical and the death two years later of John C. Haas, founder of the company and of the William Penn Foundation, raised local concerns that the charity might expand its activities nationally or globally, like another major Philadelphia philanthropy, the Pew Charitable Trusts, has done.
The foundation also announced a $15-million commitment to finance innovative changes in the city’s schools, The Inquirer reports. The three-year pledge represents a major step toward meeting a $100-million fundraising target set by the Philadelphia School Partnership, a new group aiming to speed the pace of education reform in the district.
Grants from the William Penn gift will go to public, private, and charter institutions. It marks a shift in the foundation’s youth and education spending to focus more narrowly on “closing the achievement gap” for disadvantaged students, Mr. Nowak said.