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Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

OVERVIEW: The Greenfield Foundation is dedicated solely to the needs of Philadelphia, and it gravitates toward local organizations that have a track record of success. The foundation spreads its grantmaking budget among basic community and cultural needs, with an emphasis on youth causes and the needs of residents with disabilities.

IP TAKE: Greenfield grants aren't always huge, but local organizations have a great chance at small grants here because there is no outside competition. Pitch a proposal for a specific program rather than general operating support. Proposals that revolve around the city's youth or make the city more "green" and "cultured" are doing very well these days.

PROFILE: During his lifetime, Albert M. Greenfield was so influential in the city of Philadelphia that he actually became known as "Mr. Philadelphia." So it should come as no surprise that the Greenfield Foundation only supports charitable causes in and around the city. As an immigrant from the Ukraine, Greenfield made a name for himself in the real estate business. After his commercial banking company shut down during the Great Depression, he rebuilt his wealth by buying property at bargain prices and made a home for retailers like Lit Brothers, Bonwit Teller, Tiffany & Co., and Philadelphia Yellow Cab Company.

Greenfield established his own foundation in 1953 to give something back to the city that had given him so much opportunity and success. Although the foundation emphasizes grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, human services, and civic initiatives, it more narrowly focuses its attention on the youth of Philadelphia and residents with special needs. While Greenfield was known to be an idealist, he was also very pragmatic and dictated that his foundation be run with clear objectives in mind and measurable results in the foreground. Thanks to a large grant in 1998, Greenfield is honored at the Academy of Natural Sciences with a digital imaging collection that is home to a huge database of scholarly and scientific publications.

The Greenfield Foundation prefers to fund specific programs, although it will occasionally provide grants for endowments, professorships, and scholarship funds. The foundation gives out only a couple of dozen grants each year, and those typically range in size from $5,000 to $125,000. 

For a list of recent Greenfield grants, check out the Grants Highlights page and the Recent Grants page. This funder has a preference for supporting projects in Philadelphia that address significant problems in new ways and that have the potential to be replicated by others, both locally and nationally. 

The grant application procedure is pretty straightforward at this foundation, and only nonprofits in the Philadelphia metropolitan area are considered for grants. There is no official application form, but you will need to submit a standard letter of inquiry and mail it to Susan Hufnagel's attention in the Philadelphia office.

Letters are reviewed on a rolling basis, and the board of directors meets three times a year to make award decisions. General inquiries can be directed to the staff at 215-354-0604 or submitted via online contact form.


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)



Each year the Historical Society of Pennsylvania awards one Albert M. Greenfield Fellowship for research in 20th-century history. The fellowship supports one month of residency in Philadelphia for advanced, postdoctoral, and dissertation research. The stipend is $2,000. The Library Company's Cassatt House fellows' residence offers rooms at reasonable rates, along with a kitchen, common room, and offices with internet access, available to resident and nonresident fellows at all hours.

The Albert M. Greenfield Fellowship program began in 2011–2012 academic year and is endowed by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation.

Current Fellow

  • Angela Stiefbold, PhD Candidate in History, University of Cincinnati, Rural Character and Rural Economy: Bucks County, PA, 1930–1990

Past Fellows


Chris Babits, PhD Candidate in History, University of Texas at Austin, To Cure a Sinful Nation: A Cultural and Intellectual History of Conversion Therapy in the United States from the Second World War to the Present Day


  • Dr. Marc-William Palen, Department of History, University of Exeter, Pax Economica: The Global Struggle for Free Trade and Peace, 1896–1946


  • Victor Yang, PhD Candidate in Philosophy, St. John’s College, University of Oxford: Browning the Rainbow of AIDS Activism: Race and Political Representation in Philadelphia’s AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP)


  • Megan Black, PhD Candidate in American Studies, George Washington University: The Global Interior: Imagining Minerals in the Postwar Expansion of American Capitalism


  • Dr. David Hochfelder, University at Albany, SUNY: Creating the Ownership Society: A Social History of Saving and Investing


  • Vanda Krefft, Independent Scholar: Lone Master of the Movies: A Biography of William Fox, Founder of 20th Century Fox

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