Charity to provide $100M for city parks, libraries
PHILADELPHIA >> A Philadelphia charity said Sunday it will contribute $100 million to help Mayor Jim Kenney renovate city parks, libraries, recreation centers and playgrounds.
The William Penn Foundation the money committed to the mayor’s “Rebuilding Community Infrastructure Initiative” is the largest single grant in the foundation’s history.
Janet Haas, chairwoman of the board of directors, said the grant underscores the foundation’s focus on “generating new approaches for investing in under-resourced communities” and allows it to participate in bringing communities together “through the creative use of public space.”
“In our current climate, public spaces are now more important than ever,” Haas said in a statement. “These are the places where we come to know our neighbors and the city around us, where we learn from each other, talk and engage with one another, and build trust and a sense of community.”
The Rebuild program announced earlier this year envisions the city selling $300 million in bonds, and securing hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding from the state and federal governments and philanthropic foundations for improvements in neighborhoods around the city.
The William Penn Foundation in July approved an initial grant of $4.8 million for startup costs and initial implementation.