John Haas gives $747 million to William Penn Foundation

    The Philadelphia area nonprofit community kicks off the New Year with good news. A regional grant maker got the largest gift of 2009 — $747 million dollars from a former board member.

    John Haas gave the money to the William Penn Foundation, which his parents created more than 60 years ago with stock from the chemical company Rohm and Haas.

    The Philadelphia area nonprofit community kicks off the New Year with good news. A regional grant maker got the largest gift of 2009 — $747 million dollars from a former board member.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091231sppenngift.mp3]

    The gift has the potential to make a large impact across the Delaware Valley. John Haas gave the money to the William Penn Foundation, which his parents created 65 years ago with stock from the chemical company Rohm and Haas.

    In a statement, the 91-year-old philanthropist says he wants to ensure the foundation has financial stability into the future in order to serve the Philadelphia region.

    Nonprofit community leaders say the gift couldn’t have come at a better time. Nancy Moses is a consultant to area nonprofits.

    Moses: The great recession has really cut into the nonprofit community. People are really worried. And to have this generous gift at this moment is such a positive statement about the future of this region.

    The gift brings the Foundation’s market-based holdings to about $1.9 billion dollars.

    The William Penn Foundation paid out about $63 million dollars to area nonprofits, including those focused on arts and culture, youth, the environment and community development.

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