The Fund plays a pivotal role in strengthening public education in Philadelphia by securing and managing private investments that augment public dollars.

The private donations that we contribute to the District do not supplant government monies. Rather, we introduce new funds to start or sustain cutting-edge, evidence-based models that improve student outcomes.   The Fund offers an opportunity to build on current programs, allowing private support to power up the achievement of all of Philadelphia’s children.


We focus our efforts in 3 key areas to support academic and life success for Philadelphia schoolchildren. Specifically, we:

Champion Strategic Priorities

While the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia is an independent foundation, we have a close working relationship with school Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite to ensure our efforts are aligned with his Action Plan for Philadelphia’s public schools.  

In the next three years, we want to generate $15 million to support early literacy, safe schools, and high school redesign as well as other initiatives that put support where it will make the most difference, in the schoolrooms where passionate teachers and committed principals are tirelessly working to meet the needs of bright, talented students.   

When we talk about championing strategic priorities we also have to herald little known success stories. The Chairman of the African American Chamber of Commerce, Steven Bradley, tells this story of a recent presentation made at the Union League of Philadelphia by 3 high school seniors from the School District.

“They talked about how they overcame lack of support at home, and some teachers, but they got accepted into major Ivy League institutions because they were determined and there were some teachers who said you are going to make it and we are going to supplement what’s missing in your background.“

Steven Bradley, African American Chamber of Commerce

Manage Funds

We play a critical role in ensuring privately funded initiatives are managed with the accountability and oversight required to maximize impact on student achievement. 

This year, we set a goal to raise $5 million.  Currently, the Fund has stewardship of $3.6 million through the generosity of a wide variety of philanthropic organizations and individuals including two gifts of more than $1 million.  We know your gifts are investments in our children’s future and, like any investment, must be nurtured and managed carefully.  Check out the list of 2015 Fund investors.

We are tasked to generate funds as well as to be the fiscal agent for designated funding which originates from donors and/or the school system itself. Beyond our fiscal responsibilities, we also:

  • Facilitate a process for selecting strategic priorities
  • Assess private funding fit for priorities
  • Match partners’ expertise and interests with strategic priorities
  • Serve as a thought-partner in program design and resource allocation
  • Establish reporting schedules with donors
  • Facilitate communication between donors, partners, and District staff
  • Hold School District of Philadelphia accountable for implementing programs with fidelity

 ”[The Fund] has this very interesting opportunity to be a highly credible convener and collaborative entity that aggregates resources in a shared environment to improve an outcome” 

Rob Wonderling, Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

Facilitate Partnerships

Leveraging public-private partnerships opens pathways to innovative and effective ways to support the priorities that will propel our children to success.

 The Fund is taking action to work with all stakeholders— the business community, non-profit sector, parents groups, school “Friends” and foundations—to sustain partnerships that work well for everyone.   The gifts of time, attention and in-kind resources are sometimes as meaningful as badly needed cash and are critical to “getting a good return” on public education investments.

We've spoken and listened to a cross section of Philadelphians to get a wide view of the value of a good public education and to refine our mission.  One of our leading business advocates told us: “If education is a public good, then we all should have skin in the game”. 

“We are really lucky where we are as a city.  Businesses want to be here and young people want to live here, people are building houses and office buildings.  These trends can’t be sustained without good education options for families and if we don’t have a future workforce.“

Parent , Chester Arthur Elementary School  

Our Investors

Like the District, we depend on a robust corps of partner organizations, companies and community input for advocacy and program support.

We're grateful for our special partners, who are helping us improve educational outcomes for Philadelphia's students. Thank you to our investors, sponsors, and supporters for your generous contributions to help realize Dr. William R. Hite’s goal to give every child, no matter their zip code, a great school close to where they live.

The Rothman Family Foundation

Parkway Corporation

Robert H. and Janet S. Fleisher Foundation

Robert Wasserman

Sheldon and Jill Bonovitz

Duane Morris LLP

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