Annenberg Foundation Shifts its Base
Rebecca W. Rimel, president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, said Mrs. Annenberg's death meant the end of the powerhouse philanthropic trio of Pew, Lenfest, and Annenberg that helped push forward the Barnes Foundation's move to the Parkway and rescued a financially strapped Kimmel Center.
"One important leg of that stool is not available to us any longer," Rimel said yesterday.
Still, she said, Mrs. Annenberg had ensured that funding for the Barnes move would be locked in: "She was a superb businesswoman."
(In addition to Lenfest and the Pew, the best-funded Philadelphia-focused philanthropy is the William Penn Foundation, supported by the Haas Family Trusts.)
More than a year ago, the Annenberg Foundation - with assets of $2.7 billion as of 2007 - began to telegraph on its Web site that a transition was in process, featuring biographies of Wallis and the Annenberg grandchildren in Los Angeles and Paris and describing their involvements in projects internationally.
After her husband's death, Mrs. Annenberg, with longtime residences in Wynnewood and California, took control of the foundation, but from the beginning she had played an equal role in deciding how and where to spread their wealth.
"I don't think anybody has been more generous to Philadelphia than Lee Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation," Lenfest said, "to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Kimmel, Lankenau, Jefferson Hospital. In Philadelphia there's hardly any major organization in the city that she didn't benefit."
One of her last passions is still taking form at the Academy of Music, where she was lead funder for an $8.5 million renovation of the ballroom. It is expected to reopen in July.
That project, for which she gave $5.3 million, was just the tip of the iceberg on the Avenue of the Arts. She gave $15 million to the Academy's endowment, $50 million to the orchestra's endowment, and tens of millions more to the renovation of the Academy.
- Academy of Music
- Annenberg Foundation
- Annenberg Public Policy Center
- Annenberg School for Communication
- Barnes Foundation
- Jefferson Hospital
- Kimmel Center
- Metropolitan Museum Of Art
- Peddie School
- Pew Charitable Trusts
- Philadelphia Inquirer
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- University of Pennsylvania
- William Penn Foundation