The William Penn Foundation has announced that John C. Haas — the last surviving son of its founders, Otto and Phoebe Haas — has died at the age of 92.
Haas served as chair of the foundation's board for thirty-two years before stepping down in 1992. During that time, he also helped lead the Rohm and Haas Company in various managerial, executive, and board positions until his retirement from daily operations in 1978; he served on the company's board until 1988.
Haas was passionate about improving the quality of life in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas. Together with his brother F. Otto, who died in 1994, he helped the foundation grow into a $2 billion grantmaking institution, one of the nation's largest. During his final years, he directed $747 million in charitable assets to the foundation, ensuring that it would continue his family's legacy, with instructions that the funding be used in perpetuity for the advancement of the Greater Philadelphia region.
"Knowing Mr. Haas for the past seven years has been an extraordinary privilege for me," said William Penn Foundation president Feather Houstoun. "He was the epitome of humility and kindness, setting an example for everyone associated with the foundation. His special brand of quiet leadership has been deeply ingrained in our organization's mission, values, and work and remains the standard to which we hold ourselves. He will be greatly missed."