A tip of a feathered Mummers cap to cable magnate and philanthropist extraordinaire H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, who put up a half-million dollars this week to support festivals and parades in the region.
Lenfest's generous donation is sizable seed money for a newly created nonprofit, the Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund, that will help the Mummers and other groups defray police, cleanup, and other costs. Organizers expect to up Lenfest's ante by seeking support from businesses.
The nonprofit comes in response to budget problems that forced Mayor Nutter to begin charging festival and parade organizers for their events. Nutter vetoed a City Council bill on Thursday that would have left the city on the hook for the parades. Some feared the lack of city support might force some events to end.
Fortunately Lenfest, and Congressman and fix-it-guy-about-town Bob Brady weren't about to let that happen. How appropriate that the new group is dubbed the Traditions Fund. Because one tradition the region has come to rely on is the generosity of Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest.
In 2000, after Lenfest sold his cable business, the couple was worth $1.2 billion. Ever since, as institutions large and small, and countless scholarship recipients can attest, they've done their best to give away the fortune.
By last year it was estimated the Lenfests had donated or committed nearly $800 million. That's a legacy worth honoring. So let's make sure this new nonprofit has all the right financial safeguards.