THE BIG GUNS of Philadelphia philanthropy are primarily known not just as people, but as buildings: the Annenberg Center, the Perelman Center, the Kimmel Center.
The civic contributions of these big givers are not limited to these buildings, but they are far more public because of them: Concert halls, theaters, and medical centers give their donors big presence on the landscape. By their buildings, you shall know their names.
This makes the legacy of another of the city's big philanthropists all the more unusual. Former Rohm & Haas chief John Haas, who died last month at 92, devoted much of his life and fortune to making the city a better place - quietly, without bricks and mortar. His family's foundation, the William Penn Foundation, has had a far-reaching impact in many areas of the city (including this newspaper, which has received money from the foundation). Haas helped direct the foundation's work in its primary areas, but he had a particularly big hand in the region's environment - parks and public spaces, and conservation.