Philadelphia Philanthropies Announce Funding Collaborative for 250th Anniversary of the Founding of the United States


PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Connelly Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Neubauer Family Foundation today announced the launch of a philanthropic initiative: the Philadelphia Funder Collaborative for the Semiquincentennial. The four grantmakers have committed $9 million to the Funder Collaborative, which is intended to provide financial support to Philadelphia-region nonprofits as they prepare and implement programs commemorating the 250th birthday of the United States on July 4, 2026.

The commemoration will carry special significance for Philadelphia. As host to the Continental Congress and first witness to the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia is widely regarded as the birthplace of the nation. The Funder Collaborative believes that Philadelphians should enjoy every opportunity to participate in the upcoming Semiquincentennial, both to reflect on our history and to prepare for our future.

“In 1776, Philadelphia was the scene of globally consequential events, events that changed the course of world history,” said Tom Riley, Chairman and President of the Connelly Foundation. “Ever since then, Philadelphia has enjoyed pride of place for the observation of major national milestones. We hope the Funder Collaborative will empower local nonprofits to help make the 2026 celebrations a resounding success.” Riley further noted that the “Funder Collaborative has adopted a posture of ‘reflective patriotism,’ celebrating the nation’s Founding ideals, acknowledging its failures to live up to those ideals, and recognizing the many individuals who have helped moved the country towards the realization of its Founding ideals.”

The Funder Collaborative intends to facilitate collaboration within the nonprofit sector, encouraging stakeholders to collaborate on programs that celebrate the country’s 250th. Grant applications will be reviewed through an open-submission process, and will be decided jointly by representatives from the philanthropic organizations. To be eligible for funding, applicants must be 501(c)3 public charities located in Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, or Montgomery County.

“The Funder Collaborative aims to support nonprofit programs that honor Philadelphia’s historical importance, encourage widespread community participation, celebrate the diversity of the region, and inspire greater civic engagement,” said Shawn McCaney, Executive Director of the William Penn Foundation. “We hope this initiative ignites a sense of civic pride that inspires Philadelphians to imagine their contributions to the next 250 years of American democracy.”

“The Pew Charitable Trusts is excited to be partnering on this initiative, which we hope will inspire local nonprofits, both large and small, to bring residents and communities together from across the Philadelphia area to mark America’s anniversary,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, a Senior Vice President leading Pew’s Philadelphia work. “We want everyone in our region to feel welcome to participate and for groups to use this opportunity to think about events, activities, and exhibitions that are meaningful to them.”

To date, the four philanthropies have committed a total of $9 million to the Funder Collaborative, and are actively seeking additional contributions. The funds will be housed in a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)hosted by the National Philanthropic Trust, a public charity with an impressive track record of managing large collaborative funds.

The Funder Collaborative expects to support a wide range of programs that commemorate the events leading up to the Declaration of Independence, explore its meaning today, promote civic literacy, and build on Philadelphia’s rich history of innovative, voluntary solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

The Funder Collaborative accepts unsolicited proposals in open-submission funding cycles, while also proactively cultivating projects intended to celebrate the Semiquincentennial. Interested nonprofit organizations and prospective donors can learn more at direct media inquiries to Devine + Partners.

About the Connelly Foundation
The Connelly Foundation was founded in 1955 by John and Josephine Connelly. John Connelly achieved remarkable business success as president of Connelly Containers and later Crown Cork and Seal, both manufacturing companies based in Philadelphia. He and his wife Josephine, strongly motivated by their Catholic faith and love for the Philadelphia region, dedicated their good fortune to helping others. Over the past 68 years, the Connelly Foundation has donated more than $480 million to nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area focusing on education, human services, the arts, and civic life.

About the William Penn Foundation
The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region.

About the Pew Charitable Trusts
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. Pew addresses the challenges of a changing world by illuminating issues, creating common ground, and advancing ambitious projects that lead to tangible progress. In our hometown of Philadelphia, Pew is committed to making an impact through research and policy work to help the city navigate challenges, supporting the health and welfare of the region’s most vulnerable populations, encouraging a thriving arts and cultural community, and pursuing civic initiatives to strengthen the area’s appeal to residents and visitors alike.

About the Neubauer Family Foundation
The Neubauer Family Foundation (NFF) invests in people and data-driven, evidence-based initiatives intended to achieve transformational impact. Philanthropic initiatives include strategic investments in Philadelphia’s school system, community safety, innovative leadership of arts & cultural organizations, institutions of higher learning and advancing new opportunities for Israeli-Arabs to participate in Israel’s high prestige scientific revolution.

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