Shawn brings more than 10 years of leadership experience at the Foundation to his role as Executive Director. Prior to his appointment as Executive Director, he was the founding program director for the Creative Communities program and also managed National Initiatives for the Foundation, seeking to expand philanthropy in the region and share the Foundation’s learnings with others focused on similar issues nationwide.
As part of the Foundation’s 2012 strategic planning process, Shawn led the creation of the Great Public Spaces grantmaking strategy. Through this work, the Foundation is seeking to expand access to high-quality public spaces that engage, connect, and serve communities in Philadelphia and Camden. As part of this work Shawn led the formation of a partnership with the Knight Foundation to pilot a new national initiative – Reimagining the Civic Commons – in Philadelphia, which has now been replicated in Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, and Akron. He also developed the Foundation’s two largest grants in its history, a $25 million grant in support of the Free Library’s 21 Century Libraries Initiative and a $100 million commitment to support the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuilding Community Infrastructure initiative, which will transform the city’s libraries, parks, and recreation centers.
Previously, Shawn initiated and oversaw the Foundation’s Central Delaware Riverfront Initiative, which engaged over 4,000 Philadelphians in 150 meetings and led to the creation of a new waterfront management organization, a new master plan, updated zoning ordinances, and the construction of a series of early-action capital projects, including Race Street Pier Park, Washington Avenue Pier Park, Pier 68 Recreation Pier, and the new Central Delaware Riverfront Trail — all intended to model the central tenet of the Central Delaware Civic Vision, which is to promote waterfront public access as an organizing principle for riverfront redevelopment. As part of this work, the Foundation is also supporting the construction of a new, $250 million, 11-acre park lid over I-95 that will reconnect the city’s historic district to the riverfront.
Shawn received his graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his undergraduate degree from Temple University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Society of Landscape Architects and is a licensed Professional Planner in the State of New Jersey.