Spending Down, Yet Expanding: Lenfest’s New Education Effort

The Philadelphia-focused Lenfest Foundation may be spending down and mapping out its end, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that grantmaking is stunted. The plan all along has been for Philly entrepreneur Keith Leaphart to complete H.F. Gerry’s term as chairman through June 2015 and wrap up ongoing funding commitments within a couple years.

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But in recent news, the Lenfest Foundation launched a new effort that targets rural and inner-city youth. Although the funder once focused on criminal justice and reentry, education and youth are where it’s at today. Leaphart told the Philadelphia Tribune that the foundation recently spun off the scholarship program, which provides funds for students from select local school districts, in order to make it its own entity so the scholarship program could “go on in perpetuity.”

Going forward, the Lenfest Foundation is offering 24 new scholarships each year. Recipients can get up to $12,000 a year for four years toward private colleges and up to $7,500 a year for four years toward public colleges. But not all of Lenfest’s ongoing support is going towards scholarships.

There’s also a career and technical education (CTE) program that’s geared towards pre-K, middle, and high school students in Philadelphia.

“CTE are training programs that are provided within the context of the school day that lead to some type of certification in an industry they are interested inthat is applied learning so that young person is probably doing work in [that] potential industry during the course of their high school year,” said Stacy Holland, Lenfest’s current executive director.

STEM education is always a hot-button funding issue these days, so not surprisingly, this Lenfest support is STEM-heavy. Lenfest has also expressed an interest in supporting rural youth; however, exactly how it plans to do so is a little less clear. But apparently, Lenfest will be releasing a new set of funding guidelines in July, so stay tuned.

To learn more about where this funder has been, check out IP’s profile of the Lenfest Foundation, and the best way to get in touch with the staff is via online contact form or by phone at 215-239-9003.