PHILADELPHIA – John and Leigh Middleton, philanthropists committed to improving the lives of the City of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents, have been named the recipients of the 2013 Philadelphia Award.
The Philadelphia Award, one of the city’s most prestigious honors, is presented annually to area residents who act and serve in the best interests of the community. The award was created in 1921 by businessman Edward Bok, who said "the idea of service as a test of good citizenship should be kept constantly before the minds of the people of Philadelphia."
With a focus on the less fortunate in the region, the Middletons have contributed millions of dollars to a wide variety of charities. They are supporters of education, ending homelessness and workforce development, with philanthropy ranging from supporting youth in North Philadelphia to backing research on neurological disorders. Among the organizations they have aided are Project HOME, the Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia Academies, the Philadelphia Youth Network, Teach for America, Drexel University, Penn Medicine's Neuroscience of Behavior Initiative, the Salvation Army's Kroc Community Center and Dream Camp.
“We invest in organizations where we think we can help make transformative and sustainable changes that will benefit the Philadelphia region,” said John Middleton.
Natalye Paquin, Esq., the chairperson of the Philadelphia Award Board of Trustees, said the Middleton’s giving is indeed changing lives.
“The Middleton’s generosity is helping remake Philadelphia,” said Paquin “Years from now, we will look back at their investment in our community and marvel.”
The Middleton’s gift to Project HOME, which tackles poverty and homelessness, has led to the funding of $150 million in projects in North Philadelphia with more on the way.
"Leigh and John's bold vision and leadership have created an unprecedented public private partnership which has given hope and opportunity to thousands of people and families experiencing homelessness," said Project Home co-founder Sister Mary Scullion
The Middleton’s contribution to the School District, Philadelphia Academies and Philadelphia Youth Network is funding workforce and professional development. The School District will use the money for a Career and Technical Education program with a goal of adding 6,800 more students to the program in the next five years. The gift to Philadelphia Academies will support career training for inner city youth.
The support for Teach for America will result in additional corps members in the city’s highest-need schools. For Penn Medicine, John and Leigh have underwritten comprehensive research in addictive disorders, depressive disorders, and neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The goal of this interdisciplinary effort is to develop new science and to translate existing science into improved clinical care for patients.
The Middletons will receive an honorarium of $25,000, which they have committed to Project HOME. The Middleton family formerly owned the John Middleton Co., a maker of pipe tobacco and pipe-tobacco cigars.