An Evolving Philanthropic Vision

As a foundation, our passion for improving the quality of life in the Philadelphia region dates back nearly 70 years. Throughout that time our philanthropy has evolved to address some of the region’s most pressing issues and to preserve its most treasured assets.

In 2013, after listening to the needs of the community and our grantees, we redefined the Foundation’s grantmaking strategies and put a sharper focus on education from early childhood through high school; the protection of the Delaware River watershed, a precious resource of clean water; and sustaining the vibrancy of Philadelphia by supporting the arts, culture, and development of public spaces.

2014 proved to be an exciting year as we saw early successes from these strategic refinements take shape. By collaborating with local and national partners, we made significant progress toward advancing and growing opportunity, sustainability, and effective solutions.

The year also marked two milestone initiatives at the William Penn Foundation. A landmark $25 million grant to the Free Library of Philadelphia launched the Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative. The largest single grant in our history, this initiative advances both Great Learning and Creative Communities, and affords Philadelphia’s 61 libraries and neighborhood spaces the opportunity to place themselves at the very center of the communities they serve. In Watershed Protection, we helped launch the Delaware River Watershed Initiative with $35 million. This will fund nearly 50 grantees and change the way conservation organizations, communities, and scientists work together to positively impact the water supply for more than 15 million people. The initiative is quickly gaining momentum and has already attracted additional outside resources to support the effort.

This past year has been one filled with work we are proud of and eager to share in this annual report.

sparksLaura Sparks
Executive Director

jhassJanet Haas, M.D.
Chair of the Board


Thomas Haas
Chair of the Corporation