The William Penn Foundation promotes understanding of and action on important issues facing the Philadelphia region. It funds proposals from nonprofit organizations working in Arts and Culture; Children, Youth, and Families; and Environment and Communities, and it seeks dialogue with organizations and other concerned about our communities.
Advancing a dynamic, diverse region that provides meaningful opportunity.
The mission of the William Penn Foundation is to improve quality of life in the Philadelphia region through efforts that strengthen children’s futures, foster rich cultural expression, and deepen connects to nature and community. In partnership with others, we work to advance a vital, just, and caring community.
The Foundation’s work is integrated within an overarching framework that expresses our core values; articulates a vision for our region; amplifies our longstanding mission by relating it to contemporary times; and lays out grantmaking principles that guide our efforts.
The Foundation’s funds belong to the community at large. Members, directors, and staff act as trustworthy and responsible stewards of these funds, seeking to direct resources with wisdom and compassion. They strive to ensure that our grantmaking is not only relevant, effective, and efficient, but also mindful of the opportunity gap between low-income residents and their more advantaged peers.
Respect for Others:
Members, directors, and staff value and respect all persons, recognizing that persons of disparate gender, race, age, religion, economic level, sexual orientation, and capacity contribute meaningfully to our world. All persons are treated with honesty, integrity, and fairness.
Commitment to Collaboration:
Participation of the public, as well as that of other grantmakers and Foundation directors and staff, is sought to clarify issues of community concern and is facilitated through our role as a convener. Collegial relationships, collaboration, discussion, debate, and exchange of information are encouraged.
Grantees’ accomplishments and the Foundation’s activities, including evaluation and education efforts, provide means to promote learning and convey information to interested others. Foundation members, directors, and staff value learning opportunities that enhance the well-being of the region and its citizens.
Communications advance the Foundation’s mission by enhancing the impact of our grantmaking and the effective use of our resources. Members, directors, and staff value clarity, coherence, and simplicity in communications. They listen and seek to learn from others in order to function with maximum efficacy.
We focus on work that strengthens the region’s viability and sustainability for the long term, rather than confine our efforts to short-term goals.
Whenever possible, we integrate grantmaking throughout rural, suburban, and urban areas of the Philadelphia region and across Foundation grantmaking categories.
We support work that is based on sound objectives and measurement practices, is ambitious but achievable, and is relevant to our grantmaking goals and our capacity to contribute. We understand that success is predicated on the presence of social capital and viable partners and on sharing and applying insights learned from previous work in the field.
We focus on work that has a multiplier effect; we seek points of leverage, including alignment of interests across the private and public sectors.
We regularly and consistently ask our community for information regarding significant challenges faced by our region and for feedback about the value and effectiveness of our work and the relevance of our planned future directions.
(from Grantmaking Priorities and Guidelines for Applicants, August 2001)