Helen Cunningham to Step Down as President of Samuel S. Fels Fund - Generocity Philly

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Dec. 22, 2014 12:30 pm

Helen Cunningham to Step Down as President of Samuel S. Fels Fund

The local foundation leader is moving on after 23 years as president.

Helen Cunningham, president of the Samuel S. Fels Fund, will step down in June 2015 after 23 years in the position. A search committee created by the board is now working to identify the next president.

The Fund was founded over 80 years ago by soap manufacturer and civic leader Samuel Fels. His original philanthropic goal — to improve daily life for Philadelphians through greater health, happiness and education — is reflected in the organization’s continued commitment to art, community and education-focused nonprofits (a full list of recent grantees is available here.)

Cunningham will stay on as an adviser and consultant to the new president and board until September 2015. The majority of grantmaking timelines will remain the same through the transition, however, the Fund’s Internships in Community Service program will go on hold for one year.

“The internship program requires a significant amount of administrative time and great attention to detail, and with a small staff and board, we will not be able to conduct a search for our new president as well as manage the internship process,” said Fels Fund Board President Valerie Clayton in a press release. “We believe this is a valuable program and we are committed to continuing the work after the one-year suspension.”

For more insight on the long-time philanthropic leader, read Generocity.org’s Q&A with Cunningham, where she discusses her beliefs about effective philanthropy and provides more background on the foundation she has led for nearly a quarter-century.

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