Wyncote Foundation: Philadelphia Grants

OVERVIEW: The Wyncote Foundation is a huge supporter of the arts in Philadelphia, and it also provides a good deal of funding for local journalism and education causes. The foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals, but it does give out about 200 to 300 grants to local nonprofits each year.

IP TAKE: Even though Wyncote doesn't accept unsolicited proposals or offer an online application, the staff is still accessible. Contact the managing director, Kristin Ross, to introduce your organization and talk about its program goals.

PROFILE: The Wyncote Foundation is an organization with straightforward goals and a pointed focus. Although these types of foundations are a breath of fresh air for most nonprofits, Wyncote doesn't regularly accept unsolicited grant proposals.

The foundation was formed in December 2009 with the funds of the Otto and Phoebe Haas Charitable Trusts. Initially, six trusts were created from the fortune of the Rohm and Haas Company, a Philadelphia-based manufacturer that once reached Fortune 500 status. Once the company had accumulated more than $2.7 billion in assets, it was sold to Dow Chemical Company for $15 billion.

Following that sale, Otto and Phoebe's heirs shifted $1.25 billion to charitable foundations. After sending $747 million to the William Penn Foundation, the remaining $502 million was set aside to create the Wyncote Foundation. Today, the foundation aims to strengthen and enrich community, culture, and the environment in and around Philadelphia.

In a past year, Wyncote awarded $2,322,500 to education organizations, $2,750,535 to public media and journalism organizations, and $5,497,200 to arts and culture organizations. Although the bulk of its funds have always gone to arts and culture nonprofits, this is an important foundation for the journalism industry because there are not many funders in this program area. Then at the end of a past year, the foundation reported over $532 million in assets and over $31.5 million in total giving. Those figures have remained pretty steady over recent years.

Most Wyncote grants range from $2,000 to $1.5 million each, and the foundation gives out 200 to 300 of these each year. Some past local grants included $1.75 million to the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, $375,000 to the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, $325,000 to the Curtis Institute of Music, and $250,000 to the Resources for Human Development. Although the foundation's primary focus remains on Philadelphia, it does occasionally give to organizations in other cities, especially in the arts.

Wyncote believes in using technology and media to find solutions to social problems. The foundation awarded a $200,000 grant for a documentary film project about sexual assault on college campuses. Wyncote has also been a supporter of the Philadelphia Film Festival, making the festival more accessible and affordable for residents.

Unfortunately, this foundation has a very small staff and doesn't like to receive unsolicited grant proposals in the mail or online. However, the staff does make itself accessible to grantseekers, so you can reach out to them to learn more about the grant programs and how you can get your foot in the door. Reach Wyncote's staff directly at 215-557-9577 or via email at info@wyncotefoundation.org.


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