William Penn Foundation has received $747 million from the Haas charitable trusts, a 67 percent boost in the endowment of the regionally targeted charity.
The money was directed to the foundation by John C. Haas, the senior member of the Haas family. It is part of a fortune that was derived from the Rohm & Haas Co., which was co-founded by the family patriarch, Otto Haas.
The additional funding brings the foundation's endowment to about $1.9 billion, according to Brent Thompson, director of communications for William Penn.
The increased endowment will not mean a corresponding jump in annual giving by William Penn, which last year distributed $63 million locally.
Feather Houstoun, president of the William Penn Foundation, said her organization has annually received about $25 million from the Haas trusts to be used as grants. The $747 million from the trusts is meant to ensure that the foundation now can generate those annual grants itself, without further largesse from the trust.
Houstoun said it was unclear how much additional funding the foundation would receive from the Haas trusts going forward.
Even without additional funding from the trusts, she estimated, grant making by William Penn would rise at least $15 million or more a year as a result of the increased endowment.
"Over time, we will be able to increase the size of the grant making of the organization," she said. "That will be worked out over the next year or two. We are going to be very careful about what happens next."
The William Penn Foundation was founded by Otto and Phoebe Haas in 1945. Its board is chaired by David Haas, son of John Haas and grandson of Otto Haas. David Haas is part of a local investors group that is seeking to acquire Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C., which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and Phillynews.com.
The foundation focuses its grant making exclusively on the Philadelphia region.