The Philadelphia-based has announced the appointment of Peter J. Degnan as its new managing director, effective March 3.
Degnan, currently vice dean of finance and administration at the , will oversee the foundation's programs and operations, including its research-based evaluation, community engagement, and financial management. Prior to becoming a vice dean at Wharton, Degnan served as executive director of the school's Aresty Institute of Executive Education (2005-07) and as director of its (2002-05).
"We are excited about Peter coming on board. He will not only bring his strong management skills and experience, but will be the ideal leader to work with the board and the family to sharpen the foundation's vision and carry [out] our mission with greater impact," said David Haas, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors.
According to the , Jeremy Nowak, who served as president of the foundation from June 2011 to November 2012, was seen as a change agent when he was hired. After leading the development of a ten-year strategic plan for the foundation, Nowak clashed with the board over the plan's implementation and eventually resigned. Helen Picher, formerly the foundation's director of evaluation and planning, served as interim president during the search for Nowak's successor.
"I knew when I first spoke with William Penn leadership that the needs of the foundation dovetailed with my experience and skill set and desire to have real impact," said Degnan. "As the array of organizational and philanthropic possibilities afford new horizons of opportunity, they also become more complex and difficult to synchronize effectively. The role of leadership increasingly is to help foster disparate ideas and initiatives and then to bring them in concert with one another. I have had the privilege throughout much of my career to lead teams developing systems that integrate multiple areas of an organization; I look forward to joining the stellar staff at the William Penn Foundation in confronting some of the most difficult issues in the region."