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Money Moves: A towering $83M has been awarded recently to area organizations

June 6, 2019 Category: ColumnFeaturedLongPurpose

Money Moves is a semi-regular column tracking grants made by local funders, including foundations, giving circles, trusts and corporate entities. Send notices to

1. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association received $55M from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

The Philadelphia Orchestra Association announced June 6 that the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), based in Mountain View, California, has made a $50 million gift to the endowment of The Philadelphia Orchestra Association. The gift came from a donor-advised fund at SVCF and represents an expression of confidence in the artistic and organizational leadership of the Orchestra by individuals who have chosen to remain anonymous.

Additionally, SVCF awarded $5 million from the same donor-advised fund to support current and future Orchestra operations. The total grant of $55 million is the single largest gift in Philadelphia Orchestra history.

“This is an amazing and deeply moving moment for me and for all of us in the Philadelphia Orchestra family,” said Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “In all that we do, the musicians of the Orchestra and I seek to create joy through music. With this tremendous support, we look forward to sharing that joy widely and in new, groundbreaking ways in the communities of Philadelphia, across the country, and around the world.”


2. The William Penn Foundation allocated $11.8 million in grants to 35 arts and culture organizations around the region.

On May 30,  the William Penn Foundation announced $11.8 million in funding for 35 arts and culture organizations, “This unrestricted funding for a range of arts organizations reflects a diversity of artistic disciplines as well as organizational sizes and operating budgets,” said Leonard C. Haas, chair of the foundation’s Art Review Committee. “It is intended to provide flexibility to support mission-related expenses, to experiment with new artistic programming, and to explore approaches to achieving sustainability and organizational health,”

This round of Core Support grants was awarded to the following organizations:

  • Asian Arts Initiative
  • Astral Artists
  • Azuka Theatre
  • Barnes Foundation
  • Bristol Riverside Theater
  • Bucks County Historical Society Mercer Museum
  • Center for Art in Wood
  • Center for Emerging Visual Artists
  • Clay Studio
  • Dolce Suono Ensemble
  • Ego PO
  • Franklin Institute
  • German Society of Pennsylvania
  • Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
  • Inis Nua Theatre Company
  • Interact Theatre Company
  • Intercultural Journeys
  • Kimmel Center
  • Kulu Mele African American Dance Ensemble
  • Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
  • Network for New Music
  • Painted Bride Art Center
  • People’s Light and Theatre Company
  • Philadelphia Chamber Music Society
  • Philadelphia Folklore Project
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Philadelphia Theatre Company
  • Piffaro the Renaissance Band
  • Playpenn
  • PRISM Quartet
  • Rosenbach Museum and Library
  • Tempesta di Mare
  • Theatre Horizon
  • Vox Populi
  • Zoological Society of Philadelphia


From our Partners

3. The William Penn Foundation also funded 23 environmental centers, to the tune of $6.1 million.

Supporting a long-term vision to secure clean water in the Delaware River Watershed, the William Penn Foundation has awarded $6.1 million to a network of environmental centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to fund their ongoing commitment to building greater awareness of and appreciation for our region’s primary source of clean water. The 23 centers participate in the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River, and this new funding supports their continued collaboration.

The $6.1 million grant was awarded to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), which fosters the network and will manage grant funds over the next three years.

“At a time when much of the political discourse is racked with discord, the investment the William Penn Foundation made to help people engage in protecting wildlife and clean water in their communities helps show we all can make a difference,” said Grant La Rouche, director of conservation partnerships at the National Wildlife Federation. “The 23 education centers that comprise the Alliance are uniquely positioned to help their communities act locally to create a better future for the Delaware.”


4. The Franklin Institute received a $6 million gift from the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust to redesign the Institute’s train exhibit.

The Franklin Institute has received a $6 million gift from the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust for an ambitious transformation of its iconic train exhibit which houses the historic Baldwin 60000 Locomotive. The contribution is the largest gift in the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust’s history to date.

“For decades, the Baldwin 60000 has been a piece of our family’s history, a treasure for tens of thousands of visitors to The Franklin Institute, and a symbol of innovation and technological advancement. We look forward to the newly imagined gallery,” said Hamilton Family Charitable Trust’s S. Matthews V. Hamilton, Jr.

The new gallery will feature open casework to hold unique artifacts, many never before on public view. These will surround the historic Baldwin 60000 steam locomotive on a cutaway floor overlooking the Institute’s lower level archival collections. Five distinctive steel and concrete railroad bridge structures that support the 350-ton locomotive will be newly visible to visitors, as initially intended, and serve as an example of 19th-century railroad engineering.

The redesigned space is expected to open to the public in time for the 200th anniversary of The Franklin Institute in 2024. The Institute will also use the funding to implement long-term plans involving the digitization of significant curatorial items.


5. The 2019 Eagles Autism Challenge raised more than $3.5 million for autism research.

The Philadelphia Eagles have announced that the second annual Eagles Autism Challenge raised more than $3.5 million for autism research and care, thanks to 25,301 donors and the 3,645 participants who came out to bike, run, and walk on Saturday, May 18 at Lincoln Financial Field.

One hundred percent of the participant-raised funds will be directed to the groundbreaking research being conducted at three leading Philadelphia institutions: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.


6. Bank of America extended $250,000 in support to Cradles to Crayons.

In early May, Bank of America presented $250,000 to Cradles to Crayons to support the organization as it moves into its new warehouse on Wissahickon Avenue. The new facility is 30 percent larger, conveniently located for product collections and volunteers, and more accessible for partner agencies.

In its 10 years in operation in Philadelphia, Cradles to Crayons has served 450,000 children experiencing homelessness or in ow-income situations by providing the essential items they need to thrive. Network-wide, the organization has supported more than 1,000,000 children and mobilized more than 120,000 volunteers.


7. 120 people rappelled down Two Commerce Square to raise more than $218K for Philadelphia Outward Bound School.

(Photo by Brian Bowman)

On May 17, 120 people rappelled 29-stories down one of Philadelphia’s skyscrapers to raise money for Philadelphia Outward Bound School. Each of the rappel participants had to raise $1,750 in order to secure a spot in the event, and cumulatively they raised $218,373 to help fund outdoor education programs for more than 60 Philadelphia public and charter schools.

Philadelphia Outward Bound School provides scholarship and subsidies for underserved youth from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to participate in outdoor experiential education programming. More than 60% of POBS’ participants are from low-income families and 75% are Philadelphia residents.


8. Independence Seaport Museum received an $160,00 grant from — who else? — the William Penn Foundation.

Independence Seaport Museum was awarded an $160,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation, which will be used to offer eco-tours on the Delaware River, expand the Museum’s River Ambassadors program, and extend the existing Floating Wetlands in the river basin.

The programmatic funding will support increased public access to the Delaware River and expand the on-water programming along the waterfront at Penn’s Landing to help increase environmental awareness, promote a shared sense of responsibility, and support the Seaport Museum’s watershed restoration goals.

“By adding to our programming and extending our wetlands, we will be able to empower our guests and local students with firsthand experiences on the water and strategies to help protect and conserve this vital resource,” asid John Brady, president and CEO of the museum.

Along with National Historic Landmark ships Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna, the museum is home to a boatbuilding workshop, Citizen Science Lab, and a MakerSpace.

The watershed education and preservation work of the museum aligns with the Foundation’s work to empower those living in the area to protect the shared watershed, a strategic vision accomplished through grants toward research, advocacy, communications, conservation, river access, and environmental education.


9. Merakey received $15K from Philly Pretzel Factory in support of its autism programs.

On May 28, students, families, and staff of Merakey’s St. Anne’s Education Center received a check from Philly Pretzel Factory, which raised $15,235 to support Merakey’s Education and Autism services throughout the region.

Throughout the month of April, which is recognized as Autism Awareness Month, Merakey partnered with the Philly Pretzel Factory to sell specialty Merakey bracelets and pretzels in the shape of autism ribbons at eight Delaware County Philly Pretzel Factory franchise locations owned by Gary Nolan Jr.

The Merakey St. Anne’s Education Center serves students with autism and emotional support needs, and offers specialized behavior programs, individualized education planning, and transition programming for students in need.


Delaware River Watershed

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