Bennett Family Foundation: Philadelphia Grants

OVERVIEW:  This funder’s focus in Philadelphia is much broader than in Boston, its other priority city. Philadelphia funding interests have included primary healthcare, community nutrition, and other local community needs.

FUNDING AREAS: Primary healthcare, community nutrition programs, school nutrition, access to healthcare, mentoring in public schools

IP TAKE: Healthy nutrition in the community and in public schools are big causes for this funder in Philadelphia. Check out the foundation’s 990s for a more complete picture of who it funds locally.

PROFILE: The Bennett Family Foundation was established in 2004 and is also known as the Eleanore Bennett Charitable Trust I. It is one of two charitable trusts established by the bequest of Mabel Eleanore Newbold Bennett. The foundation’s fortune came from the business Continental Felt, which Eleanore and brother William Newbold were partners in. The siblings owned and operated the New York-based company, which has since been dissolved. Bennett passed away in 2004 at the age of 92.

Today, the Bennett Family Foundation supports small, local organizations that address specific needs of underserved populations. The geographic focuses of this funder are Boston and Philadelphia. These are the places where members of the family and foundation live and work.

In Philadelphia, the foundation pursues a broad range of interests in the local community. Past areas of funding in Greater Philadelphia include primary healthcare, community nutrition programs, school nutrition, access to healthcare, mentoring in public schools. Past local grantees have been Bartram’s Garden, Chester County Futures, The Food Trust, Phoenixville Health Care Access, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, and SHARE Food Program. In general, topics of interest to this funder have included education, health, mental health, nutrition, youth development, and economically disadvantaged people.

In a recent year, the foundation had nearly $6 million in assets and gave out around $284,000 in grants. Most of this funder’s grants in Boston range between $2,500 to $25,000. However, larger and multi-year commitments up to three years are occasionally made.

This is not a funder that typically supports national programs. In addition to keeping it local, Bennett also looks for nonprofits that show momentum towards self-sustainability and have staff members who are experts in their fields. Unlike some other small family funders, Bennett doesn’t work through community foundations, but rather awards grants directly to nonprofits.

The first step to get involved with this funder is to complete the online letter of inquiry form. If the foundation is interested, it will get in touch. You’ll receive an automated confirmation of receipt either way, but prospective grantseekers should know that not every inquiry gets a response from an actual person at the foundation.

There are no deadlines to submit this letter of inquiry, so send it in at any time. May and November are typically the months when this foundation distributes grant money. So if you want to be considered in the spring, send in your letter by April 1, and by October 1 for the fall round.

Eleanore Bennett’s grandchildren serve as trustees of the foundation, but there is no full-time staff. Eleanore left it up to her trustees to choose and pursue the direction for the foundation. Thomas M. Chapin and Stewart B. Chapin are the grandsons and current foundation trustees. Their email address is The foundation’s phone number on file is 610-941-7700, and a mailing address listed is P.O. Box 15017, Boston, Massachusetts 02215. However, the foundation’s 990 forms list the following address: Eleanore Bennett Charitable Trust #1, 161 Washington Street, Suite 1500, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania 19428.

On a side note, the Eleanore Bennett Charitable Trust II, the second trust established in 2004, is based at 130 Turner Street, Bldg. 3, Suite 230 in Waltham, Massachusetts 02454. Its fields of interest are education and human services, but unsolicited requests to this particular trust are not accepted.


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