We are committed to continually setting and raising the standards of philanthropic performance and integrity for ourselves and our partners. As an impact multiplier, we remain committed to driving social and financial returns that you can see, feel and measure.

Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest accept the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Gerry Lenfest’s Institute for Journalism: In Honor of a Legend

Cable television entrepreneur Gerry Lenfest understood the importance of the truth.

In 2016, he worked with the Philadelphia Foundation to gift an initial endowment of $20 million for The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to build sustainable business models for local journalism. In May 2017, he doubled down on this commitment, literally, by committing an additional $40 million matching gift, which has since generated $27.3 million from a broad array of national and regional funders.

While Gerry may no longer be physically with us, his legacy will live on through the many gifts he left our great region. To the community, Gerry will be remembered for his generosity, compassion and philanthropic spirit. At the Philadelphia Foundation, he will always be honored as a close friend, supporter and the ultimate accelerator of good.

Philadelphia Foundation President & CEO Pedro Ramos addresses the 2017 YOUTHadelphia celebrations

YOUTHadelphia’s Teen Leaders

Our city’s future will be defined by the youth of today.

This is why it’s critical to nurture civic and philanthropic engagement in the next generation. That’s the mission of YOUTHadelphia, a program supported through the Philadelphia Foundation’s Fund for Children. It gives local teens the opportunity to examine the city’s needs and work together to distribute $50,000 in grants to Philadelphia-area nonprofits. The 2017 grants were awarded to organizations addressing racism and minority empowerment, mental health, immigration, youth violence, and teen incarceration. This marked the 13th year YOUTHadelphia grants have been distributed to worthy causes around the city.


Too many young members of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community end up homeless.

In fact, homelessness among young adults is on the rise, and over 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. The Philadelphia Foundation committed $100,000 in partnership with Project HOME to catalyze support for LGBTQ-friendly specialized housing services for young adults between the ages of 18 and 23. In addition to providing these individuals a place to live, the Gloria Casarez residence will offer supportive programs emphasizing education, employment, and life skills.


Mel Heifetz abides by the mantra that “life is not a dress rehearsal.”
To Mel, these words mean not hesitating to take action and help others.

In 2017, Mel made one of his largest gestures to deliver on this promise with a $16+ million endowed gift to the Philadelphia Foundation to support LGBTQ- serving organizations.

Mel is far from new to the charitable landscape in Philadelphia. As a 20-year-old growing up in South Philadelphia, he made a promise to himself to give back to the community that helped raise him. Today, he’s known across the country for his support of gay and civil rights and was instrumental in providing early philanthropic support to address the problem of LGBTQ youth homelessness in Philadelphia.

Now a successful entrepreneur and real estate investor, Mel funded the $16+ million donation through the liquidation of a number of his investment properties across the city. The donation expanded the GLBT Fund of America, an endowed Donor Advised Fund established by Mel at the Philadelphia Foundation in 2007 to be used to support LGBT-related issues.

Mel isn’t done advocating for those in need and continues pounding the pavement for positive change throughout our great city. Instead of thanks, Mel encourages everyone with the means to do so to donate their time, money and efforts toward a good cause.

Mel’s relentless charitability aligns him so closely with the Philadelphia Foundation’s dedication to enacting positive change in our local communities. We’re proud to have worked with Mel for over a decade and we are excited to see what we can do together in years to come.

“Mel encourages anyone with the means to do so to donate their time, money and efforts.”