Drexel Receives 15 Million Gift in Support of Civic Engagement and Community Initiatives

Drexel University President John A. Fry will announce during his inauguration address today that philanthropist Philip B. Lindy has pledged a $15 million gift in support of Drexel’s Center for Civic Engagement and its initiatives. In recognition of Lindy’s generous support, Drexel will name the Center for Lindy.

“Phil Lindy shares Drexel’s commitment to effecting positive change in this City that offers so much to our students, faculty and professional staff,” Fry said. “We have set a goal to become the most civically engaged university in the nation, and Phil’s gift will move us closer to achieving that.”

The Lindy Center for Civic Engagement will continue to serve the community and provide students with the high standard of programming established over the past seven years. The Lindy Center will expand on community partnerships, develop a civic engagement curriculum, create an innovative research component, and expand Lindy’s previous partnership with Drexel, the Lindy Scholars Program. Another aspect of the Center’s expanded programming will be national and international civic engagement projects for students and faculty to undertake in courses during term breaks or as a co-op placement.  The Center will facilitate national and international immersion programs that provide intense short-term impact for the host communities and unique, service-oriented educational opportunities for participants.

Currently, the Center has 75 community partnerships and works on more than 200 civic engagement projects annually. With the Lindy funding, Drexel will be able to build on the success of these projects in Philadelphia and raise the Lindy Center to the ranks of the nation’s leading university centers for civic engagement. The Lindy Center will also establish an Implementation Fund to help Drexel students implement innovative solutions to community problems.

“Because of the Lindy Center, hundreds – even thousands – of Philadelphians' lives will be made better," Lindy said. "I'm just thrilled that my own success is enabling me to provide the resources for a Center that will become a model across the nation for universities and communities wanting to work together to improve their neighborhoods, their cities and our world."

The Lindy Center will play a pivotal role in meeting Fry’s commitment to make Drexel the most civically engaged university in the country and to improve the lives of those living in its surrounding neighborhoods.

Lindy’s gift will also establish the Lindy Neighbors Program. Under the auspices of this program, the University is developing a number of initiatives to partner with the West Philadelphia community to optimize access to health and wellness education, to green and renovate City playgrounds, and to support better access to healthy foods, including the City’s Healthy Corner Store initiative.

Additionally, the Lindy Neighbors Program will provide student “community interns” to work with individual non-profits and businesses to help build capacity and provide support. The first intern will work along Lancaster Avenue’s commercial corridor to support business development, working closely with two community partners.

Lindy and Drexel established the Philip B. Lindy Inner-City Public School Program—known as the Lindy Scholars Program—in 2008 to broaden educational opportunities for inner-city students. Each year, the Lindy Scholars Program matches 25 Drexel students with 75 middle school students for after-school tutoring and mentoring sessions. The Program will follow each cohort as they progress through middle and high school.  Drexel’s Center for Civic Engagement and School of Education collaborate on this program with the Charles Drew, Alain Locke and Martha Washington middle schools in West Philadelphia. The program also engages parents and guardians and offers monthly professional development sessions to teachers at the three schools.

"Phil's extraordinary philanthropy to Drexel is truly transformational for the university and our ability to work with the community to address their greatest needs," said Elizabeth Dale, Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement for the university. "The Lindy Center will be at the core of Drexel's mission to serve our students and society for generations to come."

Lindy has had a long career as property manager, investor and contractor in the local construction industry. He is a partner with Lindy Property Management, a third-generation family-run firm that has managed residential properties since the 1930s. Lindy and his late wife, Annabel, expanded the company throughout the Philadelphia area; his sons, Frank and Alan, currently operate the company, which is involved with new construction, student housing, condominiums and full-service senior lifestyle housing. They manage more than 25 communities and 3,500 apartment homes throughout Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Atlantic counties.
Lindy is a 1952 graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lindy’s commitment to his community includes serving as a member of the Board of the Federation of Jewish Agencies, the Gershman Board of Jewish Community Centers, the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Philadelphia and the American Jewish Committee. He has served on the Board of Overseers for the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, where he founded the Philip and Annabel Lindy Research Fund. At the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pa., the Lindy Study Area in the college’s library is named in his honor. In 1992, Lindy received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American Jewish Committee.

Housed in Drexel’s Pennoni Honors College, the Center for Civic Engagement was established in 2003 to secure and supervise service-learning opportunities for Drexel’s incoming students. The Center promotes social responsibility and public service by facilitating community-based experiential learning for students, faculty and professional staff. Through collaborations with the community, and in support of the University’s strategic plan, the Center furthers the public good on the local and national levels while enriching the scholarship and character of Drexel students through enhanced education.

Drexel’s commitment to helping the underserved can be traced to its founding in 1891, when Anthony J. Drexel created the Drexel Institute to provide working-class men and women with access to an education that would improve their lives and economic prospects in the Industrial Age. Last year at Drexel University more than 10,500 students, as well as numerous faculty and professional staff, participated in a wide variety of community service activities. In 2009, the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities named Drexel one of the top 10 institutions for community service in its report, “Saviors of Our Cities: Survey of Best College and University Civic Partnerships.”