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August 24, 2015

Philadelphia Foundation Looks to Retool Under New Leader

With a new president in place and several years of stagnant fundraising behind it, the Philadelphia Foundation is rethinking its strategy and mission, with a close eye on what other big-city grant makers are doing, writes The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Pedro Ramos took office last month at one of the nation's oldest community foundations, replacing Andrew Swinney, who had been the head for 16 years. [Editor's note: The previous sentence has been corrected; Mr. Swinney had not served for 26 years as the Inquirer reported.]

The foundation, which was established in 1918 and manages the estate of Benjamin Franklin, among other assets in a $367 million portfolio. Despite the surging stock market of recent years, the foundation's assets have grown just 5 percent since 2007, and annual fundraising dropped from $21 million to $17 million from 2007 to 2013.

Mr. Ramos, a lawyer who chaired a Philadelphia commission on school reform, said he is remaking the foundation's development team and going on a "listening tour" of current and prospective donors and similar grant-making groups that have a larger footprint in their communities, including the Pittsburgh Foundation.