Reimagining Our Work

Applying our vision and cross-cutting strategies to our daily work provides urgency and focus, while allowing for the flexibility that will be necessary to pursue our purpose. We already can see ways in which our new direction will start to change and enhance, internally and externally, how we conduct and coordinate TPF’s four principal activities.

Civic and Philanthropic Leadership

You told us that you expect TPF to exhibit greater leadership in the civic and philanthropic arena, and it is a responsibility we are eager to embrace. TPF offers a unique and versatile platform to our community. Our multidimensional roles as fund holder, investor and aggregator, public educator, convenor, connector and communicator can be brought to bear in new ways in service to the mission of strengthening our region.

One year ago, thanks to the forward thinking of local philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, the Institute for Journalism in New Media was established under the auspices of the TPF Special Assets Fund, to help secure the future of independent journalism in this region and elsewhere. Energy executive Harry R. Halloran Jr. has likewise selected TPF as the philanthropic partner for a Trust to support sustainable social interventions that promote human well-being. These collaborations underscore confidence by community leaders in TPF’s integrity and ability to advance innovation and demonstrate some of what is possible when we marshal resources creatively for important civic and philanthropic purposes.

“Our multidimensional roles... can be brought to bear in new ways in service to the mission of strengthening our region.”

There will be no shortage of issues and activities from which to select our future involvements so we will need to choose wisely to be sure they align with our mission and we can deliver on our promise. Our aim at any one time will be to have a small slate of leadership initiatives, including signature projects, under way that we can advance and assess, beginning in 2017. Options and opportunities will be considered in light of criteria including whether they:

  • Address a compelling regional need, especially related to economic mobility and strengthening the social safety net
  • Have the potential to build, broaden and engage communities in the process of mobilizing action, solving problems and seizing opportunities
  • Tap TPF’s ability and capacity to make a significant and specific contribution
  • Include the availability of willing and able partners and collaborators who value TPF’s participation and possess complementary attributes
  • Generate donor interest, current and prospective.

Grantmaking and Scholarships

Festival de Bambulae: J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia®

TPF’s grantmaking, a mix of discretionary and donor-driven giving, is one of multiple tools to achieve community impact. Deep knowledge of our region’s nonprofits and rigorous due diligence have been a hallmark of TPF. In the years ahead, we intend to build on our record as a thoughtful and innovative funder. TPF has done groundbreaking work in initiatives including the Fund for Children, support for immigrant and LGBTQ populations and capacity building for nonprofits. Providing grantees with general operating support has been especially responsive to the needs of nonprofit organizations, and that practice will continue.

"What we learn from our grantmaking will inform advocacy, educational programming, fundraising and collaborations in the civic arena — and vice versa."

Addressing the needs of high poverty and other vulnerable populations will continue to be a priority in our discretionary grantmaking, though we also will explore new focus areas that address broad community concerns and opportunities for important civic investments. We will look at ways to deepen impact in existing efforts, for example by helping to strengthen nonprofits with support for attracting vital talent for board and executive pipelines. Practices that foster responsiveness and efficiency, including multi-year funding, will be adopted.

Scholarships are another longstanding way for individuals, groups and organizations to invest directly in people, often as an entry point to engaging in broader philanthropy. TPF administers over 100 scholarship funds and is committed to continuing this work, including setting parameters for the size and terms of future scholarship funds and improving the technology we use so that the work can be done cost-effectively. We will look at grantmaking as a driver that can help integrate and align activities across TPF.

“Practices that foster responsiveness and efficiency, including multi-year funding, will be adopted.”

Greater interaction and coordination between our grantmaking and donor staffs — like steps taken this year to advance early childhood literacy — will improve both discretionary and advised giving and foster knowledge-sharing among TPF partners. What we learn from our grantmaking will inform advocacy, educational programming, fundraising and collaborations in the civic arena — and vice versa.

Fundraising and Donor Services

“...change-making requires change capital.”

As a community foundation rather than a private foundation, fundraising is at the core of everything TPF does: our grantmaking, leadership activities and business operations are all supported through bequests, donor contributions and earned fees. To do more and better we must grow our assets and attract funding in new forms, including for discretionary and targeted issues. We must secure support from new sources, including younger contributors who have high stakes in the future of Greater Philadelphia. In short, change-making requires change capital.

Current donors give TPF high marks for the support and services provided, as well as for investment returns. This is a strong record on which to build. We know there is a lot of competition for your philanthropic dollars and we have already begun to professionalize our development team. Clear and compelling communications, streamlined and appealing donor options, technology advances and more dynamic connections to financial, legal and wealth management professionals will define the path to growing TPF’s assets and impact.

Business Operations

Realizing our vision for TPF depends on a revitalized and adaptive business model that matches aspirations and strategies with financial resources, and mounts the processes, staffing, culture and image needed to implement effectively. Our updated financial model starts with developing an enhanced value proposition that offers all donors the opportunity to leverage the blend of knowledge, impact and convenience available in our region only through TPF. These services will be supported by the right mix of products, pricing and assets to increase operating revenue. Multi-year projections reflect a path to a balanced and sustainable operating budget with full staffing and resources to execute the strategy. Along the way, we will monitor results, report progress and adjust assumptions and targets as needed.

New systems and processes will foster productivity and customer convenience and use data effectively. Recent improvements to TPF’s donor portal are an early step. Essential to our business model will be establishing an organizational orientation towards high standards, performance and accountability. Led by Pedro, TPF will build a collaborative leadership team with the capacity, reputation and skills to achieve change and execute our strategies. Updated organizational branding will propel, clarify and unify the new paths and directions in which TPF will move into our second century.

The Philadelphia Foundation is grateful to the William Penn Foundation for its generous support of the development of TPF’s Second Century Strategy.

Please contact us to learn more.
Call 215-563-6417 or email us.

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1835 Market Street, Suite 2410 | Philadelphia, PA 19103-2968 | Directions

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1835 Market Street, Suite 2410
Philadelphia, PA 19103


Accredited CF