Letters Extra: Philanthropy in the local interest

Keith Leaphart (right) will take over at Gerry Lenfest's foundation

The Lenfest Foundation’s plans to spend down its endowment helping disadvantaged youth in Philadelphia is only the latest chapter in Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest’s extraordinary record of philanthropy (“Lenfest Foundation shifts gears,” March 25). The city is a better place to live and visit, thanks to their generosity on countless civic and cultural projects — from supporting the Kimmel Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to helping the Barnes Foundation relocate, to aiding organizations working to improve the welfare of city neighborhoods. The Lenfests have been friends and partners to The Pew Charitable Trusts, our board of directors, and me.

The recent Inquirer report described other shifts in the local philanthropic landscape, including at Pew. While our national and international focus and the strategies for achieving our goals have evolved, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to Philadelphia. Thanks to visionary partners, including the Lenfests, we have achieved many successes locally — and we are seeking to join with new collaborators and long-standing friends in carrying out innovative ideas for the region.

With the Lenfest legacy setting an inspiring example of the power of philanthropy to serve the public interest, we will continue to do our best to improve our hometown’s prospects for a promising future.

Rebecca Rimel, president, The Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia


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