$10 Million Gift for Community Partnerships

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Penn’s Center for Community Partnerships has been channeling the University’s expertise and manpower toward West Philadelphia’s urban challenges since 1992. 

In October, it got a big funding infusion and a new name.  In honor of commitments totaling more than $10 million, the University named the Center after Edward Netter C’53, and his wife, Barbara.

Part of the Netters’ gift will go toward the national replication of the center’s widely praised university-assisted community-school programs, which currently serve 6,000 children at six locations in West Philadelphia. “The Netters had asked us to do a study of the impact” of these programs, says center director Ira Harkavy C’70 Gr’79, and the results “illustrated quite positive impacts with relatively low expenditure.”  

“It’s really an extraordinary gift,” Harkavy adds, “because it both builds the capacity of the center, but also is a gift designed to bring about change—not just to Philadelphia and Penn, but around the country.”

Edward Netter is chairman and CEO of Geneve Corporation, a private holding company in Stamford, Connecticut.  Barbara is a psychotherapist with a longstanding involvement in education. 

The Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships focuses on academically based community service, direct traditional service, and community development.  It connects Penn students to community-based work and research through approximately 150 courses across a wide range of disciplines.

“What Penn has achieved in West Philadelphia with university-assisted community schools is dramatic,” Edward Netter says.  “If it could be duplicated on a national scale, it could go a long way towards significantly improving the education system.”


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