We bring together the donors and the doers, the innovators and influencers across the entire social-scape in an environment of positive energy and personal trust.

Brody Fellowship Awardees Dr. Shaili Aggarwal, Ph.D. and Dr. Shaun Sanders, Ph.D.


When Sara Brody passed away, she left behind a legacy of generosity, curiosity, and a determination to shine a light on the unknown causes and potential treatment for so-called “incurable” diseases and conditions.

These ideals are exemplified in the Brody Family Medical Trust Fund, which Sara set up at the Philadelphia Foundation to provide annual fellowships to local scientists studying diseases that have a substantial societal impact and for which no consistently effective cure presently exists. In 2017, we connected Dr. Shaili Aggarwal, Ph.D. and Dr. Shaun Sanders, Ph.D. with funding to explore new treatments for cocaine addiction and neurodevelopmental disorders. Their research has brought us closer than ever to understanding and treating these powerful afflictions.

PA is Ready! gathers in October 2017 in our community room

Opening our Doors to Community

When it comes to advocating for social good, there’s no replacement for face-to-face interaction and information sharing.

That’s why our new location was designed with convening and collaboration in mind and why it has already become an asset to dozens of organizations and groups across sector, geography and causes in our community.


Some say the state of public discourse is at an all-time low. Not in Philadelphia.

Our On the Table Philly program challenged that notion in 2017 by bringing together over 2,000 people across the Greater Philadelphia region. They met at over 300 tables to engage in an open dialogue and inspire new solutions to strengthen communities. These engaged residents met in libraries, coffee shops, and public parks to share a meal and inspire new hyper-local solutions to community-specific issues. This gathering of minds resulted in new relationships, ideas, and initiatives to spark positive change.

Catchafire Partnership

Building and sustaining a strong and effective organization remains an ongoing challenge for so many of our region’s nonprofits. But through partnership and collaboration, nonprofits can be matched with the resources they need.

In 2017, the Philadelphia Foundation launched its pilot program with Catchafire, an organization that connects skills-based volunteers with nonprofits to improve their operational effectiveness. Through our support of this pilot program, Greater Philadelphia nonprofits received — for free — over 5,100 hours from Catchafire’s pool of expert volunteers from the marketing, web development, operations, and strategy fields. In total, 387 organizations were served, 258 project matches were made and the results have been tremendous.


In today’s hyper-connected, technology-driven world, face-to-face conversations are happening less frequently. But when we come out from behind the message boards and social media accounts to share an in-person conversation, powerful connections are formed, ideas are inspired, and action is taken.

This is the spirit behind the On the Table initiative. On the Table Philly brought together over 2,000 people across the region at 300 tables in May of 2017. Residents met and broke bread in small groups to discuss how to make their communities better places to live, work and play. It was the first time the national initiative was piloted in Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Foundation and the Knight Foundation were proud to serve as the event’s sponsors and organizers.

One goal for the day was to expand residents’ individual networks by connecting them with other leaders in their communities. Roughly 85% said the other people at their conversation were either mostly people they did not yet know, or an equal mix of people they did and didn’t know. On the Table Philly coordinator Phoebe Coles described a session she attended at Reading Terminal Market in Center City Philadelphia to the Philadelphia Tribune in terms of the importance of generating community discourse, and the powerful solutions that can result from it.

“There is a need for cultures to come talk more and understand each other more,” she said. “It is very difficult for us to understand what the similarities are because we are not really having those conversations.”

The voices of our community members are too often underappreciated or unheard. Through On the Table Philly, the power of conversation can build a bridge to new understanding. When people come together with the shared motivation of enacting positive change, good things happen.

“There is a need for cultures to come talk more and understand each other more.”