Samuel S. Fels Fund


Our Beliefs


The Fels Fund envisions a day when all Philadelphians can live full, meaningful and dignified lives as valued and contributing members of our diverse and vibrant city.


The Fels Fund’s mission is to improve conditions and opportunities for communities that are marginalized and/or historically excluded in Philadelphia, and move us towards a more socially, racially and economically just society.


The Samuel S. Fels Fund is a social justice funder that aligns its operations, grantmaking, programming, and endowment with the mission and core values of:

  • Trust: A framework of understanding and faith established between a group of people through behavior, words, and actions.
  • Justice: Action-oriented and not a fixed state of being. Justice honors the dignity and wholeness of all people, across all systems, leading to full, fair, and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs.
  • Accountability: The practice of naming, tracking and showing progress on work. Fels embodies accountability by listening and responding to feedback from our partners.
  • Responsiveness: The practice of active listening, learning, and evolving in connection with community.

Here is the full values statement.

investment portfolio

To help build a more socially, racially and economically just society, Fels needs to go beyond its grantmaking. Grantmaking utilizes 5-8% of Fels’ financial assets. The other 92-95% is invested. Fels is committed to better aligning its investment portfolio with its mission and core values. Fels Fund’s investment approach is a combination of avoiding harm, influencing markets and funds to behave in ways that are better for people and the environment and/or contributing to solutions that advance Fels Fund’s social justice mission. This includes:

  • investing in companies that align with Fels’ funding focus,
  • divesting from companies that actively work against mission, including companies that profit directly from incarceration of people, weapons manufacturing and selling, predatory lending and check-cashing, unjust and abusive labor practices, tobacco and alcohol, and fossil fuels,
  • utilizing screens for governance, diversity/inclusion practices when selecting investments, and
  • considering opportunities to invest locally in funds, companies and equitable development that is designed with – not just for – local communities

Currently the Fels Fund has invested 80% of its assets in a combination of mission-aligned and socially responsible funds. Ultimately, the Fels Fund aims to have 100% of its assets aligned with its mission and/or invested in socially responsible funds.

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