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The Second Century of Impact

A Letter From Our CEO

To all of our donors, partners, friends, and extended community,

Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for a truly inspirational and empowering 2019. As we celebrated 100 years of service, we continually experienced an unprecedented level of enthusiasm and participation from the entire Greater Philadelphia region, proving that collaboration and partnerships are truly Key to Community.


We commemorated our centennial and celebrated the launch of our second century of civic and philanthropic leadership with a robust year-long community engagement initiative. With special events, programs, and public acts of good – all anchored in an exciting campaign – community philanthropy was brought to life in the public imagination. It was an incredible year that spotlighted the tireless work of our team who manages our more than 1,026 active funds as well as the power of civic engagement.


Our annual report is a glimpse into our world at the Philadelphia Foundation. It allows us to bring to life the highlights of the past year while sharing our vision for the future and the steps we are taking to get there.


As you look back on our incredible centennial year in the following pages, you’ll recall it came as a prelude to a new set of challenges brought on by COVID-19, racial injustice and much uncertainty. Yet in the throes of such a trying time, I am struck by how connected and committed our Greater Philadelphia region is to getting through this together.

To help address the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched the PHL COVID-19 Fund, a collaboration established between the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Foundation and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ). It aids nonprofits responding to the impact the pandemic is having throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region. We awarded $18.4 million in grants to close to 600 community-based organizations that support residents in three primary capacities: food and basic needs, protection of vulnerable groups, and medical care and information.


We’re also doubling down on our efforts as a funder, fundraiser, partner, civil leader, and supporter of justice and equity. Racial injustice and economic disparities among marginalized and minority populations continue to plague our nation. As a community foundation that exists to better the well-being of all of our neighbors, we commit to supporting systemic change.


I am continually grateful that our 2019 year allowed us to lay the groundwork to connect, activate, and accelerate the impact we can make today. 

Thank you all for being Key to Our Community.
Pedro A. Ramos
President & CEO



How To Spend $1 Million? You Decide.

By Peter Crimmins | March 1, 2019

The centenary celebration will also include providing $2 million worth of pro bono consulting to area nonprofits. And it will coordinate a the third season of its On The Table Philly initiative, wherein Philadelphians sign up to host informal dinners in order to spark discussions on various civic topics.


“We really want to demystify philanthropy and make people appreciate really how easy it can be to get involved, in some way, whether it’s by volunteering or giving or getting together with your neighbors and coming up with something to do,” said Pedro A. Ramos Philadelphia Foundation President and CEO.

The Philadelphia Inquirer Logo

Philadelphia Foundation’s Special $1 Million Initiative Benefited From Public Support | Opinion

By Pedro A. Ramos, for the Inquirer | August 1, 2019

The public’s level of engagement reinforced the appeal of funding ideas that can transform lives. Their selections gave us a window into the kind of projects that resonate with those who may — or may not — have the means to provide financial support.


As the region’s oldest and largest community foundation, finding ways to expand philanthropy and generate support from the public for great organizations and programs is who we are.


Connecting with people to change what needs to be fixed now, to support what needs to endure, and to improve conditions for the next generation, is what we do. In short, our work and our partners are “Key to Community.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer Logo

Philadelphia Foundation Awards $1 Million To Community Groups Selected By Online Vote

By Oren Oppenheim | July 31, 2019

Groups that help Philadelphians become homeowners make their home’s energy-efficient, and become leaders through basketball skills each won $200,000 Wednesday evening from Philadelphia Foundation as part of a competition whose winners were selected by online voting.

The foundation awarded $1 million in “Key to Community” grants during a ceremony at the Comcast Technology Center. Second-place winners will each receive $100,000, while third-place winners get $33,000.


When discussing the winners, Diane Melley, who runs initiatives honoring the foundation’s centennial, said HACE and the Energy Coordinating Agency are “clearly demonstrating to residents what is the problem, and what are we [the organizations] doing to solve it.” She also extolled the basketball program’s “long-term solution” for “building integrity in young people.”

ympteachesgrit Happy Centennial Birthday to The Philadelphia Foundation! #PHILAFOUND100. TPF pumps Youth Mentoring Partnership up! Thanks to TPF's support, YMP has been able to embark on {and implement) a comprehensive strategic plan. This allowed us to grow from providing mentors from 300 kids to over 1200 in just three years - serving diverse communities from North Philadelphia to Coatesville! Thank you for helping us help kids .

Gathering Provides Food For Thought.

Why don’t we spend more time listening?

By Jenice Armstrong | October 20, 2019

We don’t spend enough time with people outside our own little silos.


I’m guilty, too.



Unless it’s for work, rarely do I simply sit and get to know people for no other reason than to get to know them. On Thursday, though, I was reminded of just how important it is to do that, thanks to a three-year-old initiative sponsored by the Philadelphia Foundation called On the Table.



The 101-year-old philanthropic foundation arranged for about 6,000 people to gather in small groups around the region with no agenda other than to make new connections and foster civic engagement. And to do it over a meal.


I was asked to host a table, so I invited people from different backgrounds, to join me for lunch on Thursday at P.J. Clarke’s inside the historic Curtis Center. We had a small, but grand, private room, and a preselected menu.



Our two hours together went by very quickly.

Too quickly, really.


As dessert was served, I realized that what had started as another item on my daily to-do list had evolved into so much more.

I felt calmer. And more connected to some folks who had just been names in my social feed.

Cake Cutting Marking Centennial at Launch Party


We take charitable dollars further through our deep relationships in the community, close connections with local nonprofits, sound investment philosophy, and management and a 100-plus-year history of building positive outcomes in the Philadelphia region.

Throughout 2019, a total of $48 million in grants and scholarships were distributed to 1,435 community organizations and students.

“The Philadelphia Foundation has provided us with a flexible, stable, and professional platform to establish our family trust. It allows us to put our donations to work for causes we believe are important for our area and the country. We are especially proud to sponsor the Public Interest Law Center’s Jeffrey Golan & Frances Vilella-Vélez Voting Justice Project, which works to protect every citizen’s right to vote by modernizing Pennsylvania’s election system and challenging discriminatory voting barriers.”


— Jeffrey Golan & Frances Vilella-Vélez,

Philadelphia Foundation donors

“I started a fund at The Philadelphia Foundation exactly 16 years ago. Since recommending my first grant in 2012, I’ve found out how satisfying it is to know what my donations are accomplishing right now. The Philadelphia Foundation has helped me help a wide variety of causes ranging from youth mentorship and homelessness, through art and music and immigration issues, to schools and clinics in Africa and at home, and much more.”

— Christine Blidan,
Philadelphia Foundation donor, The Dapplecroft Fund

The Philadelphia Foundation is like a bespoke tailor: they are with you over a lifetime and know how to advise you to maximize the impact of your funds. As donors, we enjoy being in a continuous conversation with the foundation. Our program manager’s in-depth local, regional, and national knowledge helps us vet and direct our ideas. We also enjoy the investment seminars, where we interact with fellow donors in a valuable idea exchange.

It’s informative and personal, and we leave feeling like a valued member of a community.”

— Oliver Franklin OBE,
founding donor, Jubilee International Education Trust

Dr. Luis J. Montaner, HIV and infectious disease expert

Thanks to research funding support I’ve received through the Philadelphia Foundation’s Robert I. Jacobs Fund when the COVID-19 outbreak started, we realized we had molecules in our hands that could potentially limit the disease by amplifying the interferon antiviral response. We believe our work to identify small molecules to boost the immune response against viral infection could potentially be important to decrease disease severity and reduce mortality in the COVID-19 crisis, and for other diseases.”

— Dr. Luis J. Montaner,
HIV and infectious disease expert at the Wistar Institute whose work has been funded by Philadelphia Foundation since 1997. His research focuses on finding new ways to combat infection or viral-associated disease by harnessing the

immune response.

My life changed 20 years ago when I learned one of my former students, Waldemar Derby, had been killed. He named me the beneficiary of an insurance policy that enabled me to establish The Safe Harbor Fund, a Donor Advised Fund to help organizations that provide direct services to young people in need of emergency assistance. Through this fund, I help make sure other youths have opportunities to overcome adversities. My philanthropic journey with the Philadelphia Foundation has also led me to expand my giving to financially support many organizations devoted to youth, the arts and social justice.” It’s informative and personal, and we leave feeling like a valued member of a community.”


— C. Gloria Akers,
Philadelphia Foundation donor, The Safe Harbor Fund

“The Philadelphia Foundation was a clear choice for our fund. As a recipient of the tri-institutional academic Milton Shy Lecture Fund, I was impressed by the foundation’s diligent yet personal disbursement of funds and clear accounting – and our financial manager reinforced its outstanding reputation for fiduciary responsibility. Now as a donor, I find granting and accounting clean and user-friendly. We’re particularly pleased with our ability to grant to organizations around the country and to provide scholarships to various institutions.


— Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano, the Gonzalez-Turner Charitable Fund

With Community


200,000 VOTES

100,000 in Philadelphia alone

25% OF VOTES came from households making less than $47,000

Voters represented 267 ZIP CODES within Philadelphia Foundation’s SEVEN-COUNTY region

200 nonprofit submissions

9 GRANTS TOTALING $1,000,000 

Centennial Legacy Mural


participated in mural making


at signature Cherry Street Paint Day



(a record for Mural Arts Philadelphia)

A MURAL for Philadelphians to share at 23rd and Market Streets


An unprecedented year of connecting with new audiences in entirely new ways.


social media impressions


impressions of TV, print, and online articles featuring Philadelphia Foundation


108,560,368 views of Philadelphia Foundation advertisements

Key Skills Hub Volunteer Portal

NEARLY $2.1 MILLION in services provided to 176 NONPROFITS

391 PROJECTS completed by volunteers throughout the SEVEN-COUNTY region


40 corporate members throughout

Greater Philadelphia Region

Created To Meet Community Needs

Community foundations were built to meet community needs – today and far into the future. In times of crisis, community foundations are the first responders that help neighbors weather rapidly evolving situations.


All that we did during our Centennial year – expanding awareness of our work and being guided by community voices as we rapidly deployed dollars – prepared us to be ready and strong for the daunting challenges of 2020.


As COVID-19 devastated marginalized and vulnerable populations, we knew how to step forward effectively while adapting to a totally new way of operations. We knew the importance of focusing on frontline organizations serving at-risk populations including seniors, people with disabilities, and those experiencing homelessness or who are economically disadvantaged.


As racial and economic injustice has risen to the forefront of our collective consciousness, we have joined those pushing for meaningful solutions and systemic changes to address the unjust deaths of and brutality toward African-Americans and other communities of color.


Through the trust, we have established over time, through the personal and organizational bridges we have built, we have been, are, and will continue to be the place people turn to.


For over 100 years, this is who we have been. For now and for many tomorrows to come, this is what we will do, thanks to all those who make our work possible.


We’re looking forward – with clear-eyed purpose – to bringing about a more equitable, connected, and compassionate community.

2019 year in review