IT SEEMS ODD at first glance - a fluff piece touting educational tax credits in a trade magazine produced by fracking companies called Marcellus Quarterly.
The essay was penned by Shari Williams, the wife of state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and an outreach coordinator for oil and gas advocacy group Marcellus Shale Coalition.
And it came with a kicker.
"Sky Community Partners Inc. is a Philadelphia-based 501c3 organization and one of the program's first state-approved scholarship organizations," she wrote below the column in the publication's spring 2013 edition.
But Sky Community Partners isn't just any scholarship organization. It's run by Dawn Chavous, one of Williams' most trusted political advisers and his mayoral campaign manager, and nearly all its funding has come from Williams' political backers. Chavous is also married to Williams' protege, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.
After running Williams' failed gubernatorial campaign in 2010, Chavous did consulting work for Students First PAC, funded by Greenberg, Yass and Dantchik - the three partners at Susquehanna International Group. She then took a 20-hour-a-week, $125,000-a-year job at a school-choice advocacy group also called Students First Corp., according their 2013 tax return. Both are based in Wynnewood and shared a treasurer.
As for her educational nonprofit, Chavous incorporated Sky (and an education consulting firm called Greentree Education) in 2008, but it didn't start to report major assets until 2012.
Based out of a West Philadelphia rowhouse that Chavous owns and doubles as a mailing address for her political consulting company, Sky has received donations from the SIG affiliates through the state's educational tax-credit programs totaling more than $1.3 million, according to state records in 2012.
Nearly all the money Sky reported came from SIG. In its last tax return available, also from 2012, the nonprofit reported nearly $1.5 million in income, including $1.3 million from an SIG affiliate.
How the money was used is hard to say. That year, the nonprofit reported $20,000 in administrative and office expenses. Groups like Sky are entitled by law to keep up to 20 percent of donations for overhead, but the return didn't specify exactly how the money was spent.
Sky distributes educational scholarships. In 2013, it appears to have simply passed along $500,000 to the more-established Children's Scholarship Fund Philadelphia, according to that nonprofit's tax filing.
Chavous, when reached by phone, refused to answer questions about her organization, which has not filed a tax return since the 2012 filing according to the IRS' database.
"Call Al Butler," she said when asked about Sky Community Partners. Butler is a campaign spokesman for Williams. Butler did not respond to emailed questions about Sky Community Partners or Chavous. Sky's Facebook page was taken down last month.
Philly.com obtained copies of the monitoring report for Sky Community Partners, and a few others. The two-page reports listed only basic information - the money Sky received and the number of scholarships, 505, the charity said it awarded that year. Sky did not provide its tax returns when requested by Philly.com.