Stoneleigh Foundation: Philadelphia Grants

OVERVIEW: The Stoneleigh Foundation awards fellowship grants to individuals working to improve outcomes for at-risk children and youth, especially in the Philadelphia area. Fellowship budgets fall between $80,000-$130,000 per year and terms range from one to five years. Most fellowships are for full-time salary support for fellows based in academic institutions, but the foundation also partners with City of Philadelphia agencies and leaders.

FUNDING AREAS: Child welfare, juvenile justice, youth violence prevention

IP TAKE: Although Stoneleigh only provides funding to individuals, each individual must be affiliated with a 501(c)3 nonprofit and prove that his/her work will benefit that nonprofit. Stoneleigh’s roots are in Philadelphia, and the foundation is most interested in supporting work on the local level.

PROFILE: A vast majority of philanthropic foundations in the Philadelphia area only fund 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and exclude individuals from grantmaking. By contrast, the Stoneleigh Foundation sends organizations away and only supports individuals. The foundation addresses issues that involve vulnerable children and youth through fellowship awards that support individuals involved in research, policy change, and practice improvement.

As a continuation of lifelong philanthropy, John and Chara Haas established the Stoneleigh Foundation in 2006. After earning a degree in chemical engineering in 1942, John Haas spent his professional career with the Rohm and Haas Company in Philadelphia. In 1960, after the death of his father, John was named chairman of the charitable foundation established by his parents (Otto Haas and Phoebe Waterman Haas), which is now known as the William Penn Foundation. After the sale of the Rohm and Haas Company to Dow Chemical in 2009, John directed a significant portion of the family’s charitable assets from that sale to the William Penn Foundation. John passed away in 2011 and Chara in 2012.

The Stoneleigh Foundation currently prioritizes three program areas: child welfare, juvenile justice, and youth violence prevention. Stoneleigh looks for fellows working to prevent children from landing in out-of-home care when possible and bridge gaps between child welfare, education, and healthy improvement systems.

The Stoneleigh Foundation also looks for fellows working to prevent and reduce youth involvement with the criminal justice system. To reduce violent crime involving children and youths, Stoneleigh funds individuals working with young black males and Iraq war veterans in Philadelphia.

Each of these program areas is Philadelphia-centered and targeted at individuals who are well established in their fields. Fellowship budgets range between $80,000 to $130,000 per year and terms range from one to five years. This money can be used for salary, fringe benefits and taxes, speaking conference-related travel, and administrative fees to partner organizations. However, the funds cannot be used for staff fees, rental costs, equipment or supplies, or other travel costs. Stoneleigh supports individuals working at the seeding, tipping, and dissemination stages of problem solving. Candidates for a Stoneleigh Fellowship must identify a 501(c)3 partner organization, a contact person at the organization, and the ways in which the organization will support the fellow and the project.

The foundation periodically issues requests for proposals to highlight specific issues it is interested in tackling through the work of a new fellow. Previous RFPs have focused on children of incarcerated parents and well-being in the juvenile justice system. Recently selected Stoneleigh Fellows include Theodore Corbin, MD, MPP, a doctor and a violence prevention practitioner, Jody Greenblatt, JD, a consultant for the Southeast Regional Office of Children, and Richard Greenwald, an expert about workforce development and prisoner reentry in the mayor’s office.

Although Stoneleigh is not open to funding applications from nonprofit organizations, it does partner with government agencies and leaders working for the City of Philadelphia. “Public Policy Fellows” is a subset of the Stoneleigh Fellowship program. “We believed that supporting individuals working inside the system – in addition to our fellows working outside (but alongside) – would help us better address the needs of children and families served by public agencies,” said Julia R. Dutton, Stoneleigh’s founding executive director.

Stoneleigh's current executive director, Ronnie Bloom, was hired in June 2014 to replace the previous executive director, Cathy Weiss, who served for four years. Before joining Stoneleigh, Bloom worked as an early care, education, and youth development program officer for the William Penn Foundation for 13 years. Prior to her nonprofit roles, she worked as a family law attorney. Bloom is joined by a small staff of three at Stoneleigh, including a senior program officer, a program officer, and an office manager.

Before her resignation in 2014, Cathy Weiss described the foundation’s priorities as violence prevention in Philadelphia, Head Start programs in the 22nd police district, and services for at-risk young girls. Stoneleigh has a history of looking to other cities as examples of funder/government collaboration. “In Boston, there are 62 different funders that are aligned in a very simple violence collaborative that is supportive of the mayor’s plan,” Weiss told Generocity. “They’re all doing what their particular foundation might be focused on but there’s a commonality of outcomes that they’re looking for and a commonality of standards that they’re adhering to and there’s a degree of capacity development that they’re making sure that their grantees have.”

To be informed about new RFPs, sign up for the foundation newsletter and contact the staff at info@stoneleighfoundation.org with general questions. There's also a foundation blog you can check out.

PEOPLE:

  • Ronnie L. Bloom, Executive Director
  • Marie N. Williams, Esq., Senior Program Officer 
  • Sarah Zlotnik, MSPH, MSW, Program Officer

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