The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia, a city-operated nonprofit that became the center of a corruption scandal during former Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration, has named former school district official Jody Greenblatt its new executive director.
Greenblatt is the first permanent leader of the fund since Desiree Peterkin Bell, who was city representative under Nutter and pleaded guilty this year to misusing tens of thousands of dollars from the fund.
Greenblatt, who started work Monday, was most recently the Philadelphia School District’s deputy chief for climate and safety and has also held jobs with the Court of Common Pleas and the city’s Law Department. She said Monday that she wanted to learn more about the office before announcing any plans or initiatives.
“I want to understand the systems and structures in place, how they work, how they don’t work. I want to hear from the board about priorities,” Greenblatt, 43, said.
As for safeguarding against corruption scandals in the future, Greenblatt said reforms initiated two years ago by Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, including a board restructuring, have set the office in the right direction.
“The board already took a lot of steps to do that,” she said. “There were major transformational changes over the last couple of years.”
The Mayor’s Fund is intended to advance the administration’s policy goals and controls more than $10 million in revenue from the Philadelphia Marathon. The fund also helps city agencies apply for grants that require nonprofit involvement.
The fund in 2016 came under scrutiny from both former City Controller Alan Butkovitz — who contended that Peterkin Bell treated the nonprofit like a “slush fund” — and The Inquirer, which published stories raising questions about fund spending and oversight.
As part of a May plea deal in which she agreed to repay the fund $20,000 in restitution, Peterkin Bell was sentenced to 90 days on house arrest.