Rumor Mill: Why Are Area Non-Profit Folks Doing A Goddamn Jig Over Jeremy Nowak Leaving William Penn Foundation?
As news broke late yesterday that the controversial Jeremy Nowak was stepping down from his post as president of the William Penn Foundation just a year and a half into his tenure, cries of “Hallelujiah!” and “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass!” were issued, quietly, and into NPR coffee mugs, at many non-profit agencies in the Philadelphia area.
To be sure, in the relatively muted world of foundation/non-profit funding, Nowak’s departure announcement was as explicitly “Yeah, we fired this guy” as it gets, billed as a mutual decision that read with the same level of eye-roll as “artistic differences.” Though it might have been just that, after all: The William Penn Foundation, which gives $85 million in grants each year locally, just issued a new three-year plan, and all indications were that Nowak was not a part of the new vision. Could it have been the conflict of interest described in that Newsworks story above? Or was it something else?
In any case, the jubilation is in the air. One non-profit wonk told us “how crazy happy local non-profits are that the board fired him”; another told us, “Er, he was not what you would call a do-er.” In any case, it’s nice to see some excitement in this part of the world. We worry about these folks sometimes.