She has long been a quiet but steadfast supporter of Philadelphia organizations and institutions, championing and funding causes that range from the arts to education to health care.
But it may have been philanthropist Leonore Annenberg's dedication last year to keeping Thomas Eakins' venerated painting The Gross Clinic in the city that garnered her the 2006 Philadelphia Award.
As president of the philanthropic Annenberg Foundation, she led a number of civic initiatives in 2006 that greatly enhanced the vitality of Philadelphia's rich cultural and educational assets, according to Happy Craven Fernandez, chair of the Philadelphia Award and president of the Moore College of Art and Design.
Annenberg was a lead supporter of the Academy of Music's 150th anniversary celebration, and at her invitation, Prince Charles visited Philadelphia for the event.
Her foundation has provided grants to a number of cultural and civic enterprises, including the Barnes Foundation and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
She has also provided substantial funding to the National Constitution Center's new education and outreach programs; the School District of Philadelphia's "Teach for America" initiative; and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's endowed professorship of democracy and citizenship.
Over the years, she was a partner with her late husband, Walter H. Annenberg, a former owner of The Inquirer, in supporting a number of philanthropic and civic causes. In one of her more recent high-profile endeavors, Annenberg was instrumental in helping to raise funds to keep The Gross Clinic from being sold last year.
Annenberg will receive the award on June 18 at the Academy of Music. Gov. Rendell will give the keynote address.
"Leonore Annenberg has a passion for the City of Philadelphia and is an exemplary civic leader whose work and vision embody the spirit of the Philadelphia Award," Fernandez said in a prepared statement.
In the same statement, Annenberg said she was "honored" to receive the distinguished award, a $25,000 honorarium, created in 1921 by Edward W. Bok to honor visionaries who have enhanced the city through civic and philanthropic endeavors.
Bok, who is best known as the former editor of the Ladies' Home Journal, was a pioneer in the mass-market publishing business and a champion of social causes.
"Civic opportunity and responsibility are the core of a successful democracy," Annenberg said in the same statement. "It is a delight to see this great city flourish as a world-class center for the arts, education and medicine."
Last year, the Philadelphia Award was presented to Paul Levy, president of the Center City District.