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November 29, 2012

Head of Philadelphia's William Penn Foundation Steps Down

After only 17 months on the job, Jeremy Nowak has resigned as president of the William Penn Foundation in what the Philadelphia Daily News described as a culture clash between the forceful, publicly prominent executive and low-key board. Penn officials said the foundation remains committed to the strategic plan developed on Mr. Nowak's watch and unveiled in July, which has seen the organization take a leading role in local school-reform efforts.

In a statement, the foundation attributed Mr. Nowak's departure to "differences in approach" in implementing the plan, under which the $2-billion fund will spend $80-million a year supporting educational, environmental, and cultural causes in the Philadelphia area.

Brent Thompson, the foundation's communications director, said the change is "about style, not substance" and that a presidential search is under way. Helen Davis Picher, a veteran Penn official currently serving as director of evaluation and planning, will act as interim president.