William Penn Foundation Presents PEC with $1.5 Million Grant

Contact: Alex Oltmanns
Date: June 29, 2015
Phone: (412) 481-9400
Email: [email protected]

Pittsburgh – The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) is proud to announce receipt of a $1.5 million grant from the William Penn Foundation for support of development of the Circuit trail network in Bucks, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties. The funding, spread over two years, will enable PEC to focus on portions of the East Coast Greenway, a trail stretching from Florida to Maine that is also a critical link in completing the 750-mile Circuit.

“The William Penn Foundation’s commitment to completion of the Circuit is doubly significant because of the trail work itself, and the importance that this network has to the Philadelphia region,” PEC Executive Vice President Patrick Starr said. “The Foundation’s most recent grant continues its commitment to ensuring alternative transportation for Philadelphians.”

Currently, 300 miles of the Circuit are open for use, while 400 remain to be built. Working with a variety of partners, PEC has been a key factor in the creation of the Circuit as a policy leader and as an implementer of trails. In particular, PEC has been involved with the planning and implementation of one of the Circuit’s trunk lines—the East Coast Greenway (ECG)—for more than a decade. The Circuit itself was formally announced in May 2012. The grant period runs from July 1, 2015-June 30, 2017.

The grant also enables PEC to start the process of linking the Circuit with trail development that has occurred and continues to grow in the northeastern part of the state.

The ability to engage in additional endorsement of trail development and further advocacy and leadership in statewide trail initiatives throughout Pennsylvania is a principal goal of PEC’s 2015 Strategic Program Plan. It is PEC’s aim to connect the people of the Commonwealth to the outdoors and educate them about the state’s rich natural resources while engaging them in environmental stewardship and advocacy. The continuation of the Circuit is a practical way for Pennsylvanians to explore, experience, and enjoy Pennsylvania’s diverse outdoor resources.

“PEC is a leader in trail planning and promotion statewide, and this grant further solidifies that fact,” PEC President and CEO David Woodwell said. “It is PEC’s goal to get Pennsylvanians outdoors and in touch with the Commonwealth’s astounding natural resources to engage citizens in the protection and restoration of the environment.”

As part of its statewide trail initiative, PEC is also a member of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, a group of 20 organizations in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia, Western Maryland, and Southwestern New York working to complete and connect a system of 1,600 miles of share use trails. Now 53 percent complete, the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition includes the Great Allegheny Passage, a trail that hosts over 800,000 trips annually and generates over $40 million in direct annual spending from its trail users. PEC’s vision is that by 2033, the 53-county region will be positioned as the epicenter of a multi-use trail system in the region.


About the Pennsylvania Environmental Council

Founded in 1970, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council is the leading environmental organization in the state, and was instrumental in the passage of nearly every major piece of legislation and regulatory initiative affecting clean air, clean water, land use and conservation, hazardous materials, and other major public policy actions since that time. Today, the organization is heavily engaged in a number of critical initiatives surrounding the development of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, trail and green space development, green energy and climate change programs, water quality, and watershed protection projects.

PEC serves the entire state with programs and staff spanning the Commonwealth. For more information, visit www.pecpa.org.


About the William Penn Foundation

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance opportunity, ensure sustainability, and enable effective solutions. Since inception, the Foundation has made nearly 10,000 grants totaling over $1.6 billion. The Foundation’s assets exceed $2.3 billion as of Nov. 30, 2014.