November 2015 Tenant Newsletter

The following message was included in the November 2015 tenant e-newsletter.

Dear Friends,

In case you missed it, Shepard Fairey now has a mural at Friends Center!

One of two murals created by Shepard Fairey for the Open Source PHL public exhibition by the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program is on our wall at the corner of 15th and Race Streets! Its theme is restorative justice, in line with Quaker values and the work of our equity partner American Friends Service Committee, as well as our tenants Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, Prisoner Visitation and Support, The Center for Returning Citizens, and Witness to Innocence. You can read more about the inspiration for this piece and Fairey’s background here.

Michelle Angela Ortiz, Program Manager for our tenant the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, is also a participating artist for Open Source PHL. You can read all about Michelle’s work here. You can also read more on Michelle’s work in the feature article “Public Art in Philadelphia Tells the Stories of the Undocumented.”

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

Rise Again! Tour Comes to Friends Center 11/1/2015

The historic Race Street Quaker Meetinghouse will be the location for a sing-along concert with Annie Patterson & Peter Blood, creators of Rise Up Singing, to celebrate the release of their long-awaited 2nd songbook Rise Again!

They will be joined by a number of artists with songs in the new book.

There will be a matinee show 4-5 pm and an evening show at 7 pm. There will be a potluck meal a little after 5:00 pm in the Fellowship Room of the Meetinghouse for anyone wanting to attend both concerts or come early for the evening. Bring what you can!

This concert is a benefit for Quaker programs addressing racism.

» Learn more.

October 2015 News: Pope, promotions, and in-house events

The following message was included in the October 2015 email newsletter to Friends Center tenants.

First, thank you to all of our Friends Center partners and tenants for their patience and forbearance in adapting to the papal visit to our neighborhood. We’re grateful that Philadelphia succeeded in providing a great welcome to Pope Francis while in the world spotlight.

(Personally, I was also grateful that his speech at Independence Hall acknowledged the Quakers who founded Philadelphia. He said they “were inspired by a profound evangelical sense of the dignity of each individual and the ideal of a community united by brotherly [and sisterly] love.” See the transcript via the LA Times for the full context.)

Second, as you know, Friends Center benefits a great deal from the work of our staff. Effective 10/1/2015, I have two promotions to announce.

  • Erick Emerick is now our Assistant Director of Operations and Vendor Management. In addition to managing many of our vendor and contractor relationships and serving as our safety and security manager, he has taken on responsibility to supervise our custodial and cleaning staff. He is also working to strengthen our preventive maintenance program.
  • Courtney Feild is now our Assistant Director of Marketing and Administration. In addition to managing the office and keeping our books, she has taken on responsibility to supervise our reception and front desk staffing. She will also take lead in booking outside events as of October 1.

Third, as a shift in responsibilities, Shakirah Holloway, our receptionist, has taken on booking internal events for our tenants.

Thank you, Erick, Courtney, and Shakirah, for your continued good efforts and hard work.

—Chris Mohr, Executive Director

Friends Center to close during visit of Pope Francis, 9/25-27/2015

To the residents of Friends Center,

Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia at the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families in late September.

The board of directors of Friends Center has decided to close the facility during the papal visit, on Friday 9/25, Saturday 9/26, and Sunday 9/27.

The board took this action in light of the expected conditions in the neighborhood. Most if not all of Center City will be closed to vehicular traffic. Public and parochial schools will be closed that Friday, which means some of our larger organizations here will be closed, too. Only selected mass transit stops will operate, in order to shuttle as many people to and from Center City as possible.

In addition, the area around the Parkway is likely to be enclosed by a security fence. We anticipate that Friends Center will be inside the security perimeter, meaning there would be long lines and metal detectors just to get here.

You should also expect congestion Thursday 9/24 and Monday 9/28 as the perimeter is put up and taken down.

If you’d like to know more about plans for the pope’s visit, I recommend the following resources:

Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.


Chris Mohr
Executive Director

Key Fob Policy, June 2015

» Download a PDF of the policy here.

June 2015

To encourage stewardship of key fobs, Friends Center has adopted the following policies.


  • Friends Center is responsible for maintaining the system to ensure access is given only to current employees and families.
  • Each organization must designate a point of contact for Friends Center to maintain the access list.
  • The point of contact is responsible for informing Friends Center’s operations manager about additions and deletions to its list of approved individuals who need fobs.
  • The point of contact will be responsible for receiving the fobs from Friends Center and disbursing them to the individuals within the organization.
  • Friends Center is not responsible for providing fobs to individuals.


  • If you add staff and need additional key fobs, simply let our front office know.
  • If you have interns or other regular participants who you believe need consistent access to your floor, please ask. Friends Center may grant an additional temporary fob, but it is solely at our discretion.


  • Organizations will be charged $25 to deprogram a lost fob and provide a new one.
  • All fobs must be approved by the resident organization’s contact person and paid for by the organization.
  • In no circumstance will Friends Center accept payment from an individual nor provide a replacement fob to an individual directly.


  • You must meet your guests in the front lobby and walk them to your space.
  • If your guests need to use the restroom in the 1501 building, you will need to arrange for them to re-enter the office suite.
  • Please do not let people into your floor if you do not know them.
  • If someone you do not know tries to enter the door behind you (“drafting”), please introduce yourself. If they belong on your floor, it will be an opportunity to get to know your neighbors. If they do not seem to belong, consider asking the person to return to the front desk to be redirected.
  • If you are not comfortable saying something, or if you say something and the person enters anyway, please let the front desk know.

Thank you for your assistance in observing these guidelines.

Friends Center is hiring a receptionist

Posted April 13, 2015; updated July 2015

The application period is closed and the position has been filled as of July 6, 2015.

The receptionist is responsible for the front-of-house during regular office hours, Monday to Friday. As such this worker provides coverage for the front desk, maintains building safety by following established security procedures, and serves as the gracious face of Friends Center for all tenants and visitors. The position requires a professional appearance, a warm and friendly demeanor, and flexibility for taking on a variety of tasks.

Read the job description here.

No phone calls, please.

Friends Center is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Qualified persons are encouraged to apply regardless of their religious affiliation, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. Friends Center is a smoke-free workplace.


Working in a Green Building

Friends Center’s place in Philadelphia history began in 1856, when the Race Street Meetinghouse was built jointly by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and what is now known as Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting. In the early 1960s, a group of Friends responded to the long-stated wish to have a physical place where Quakers could gather for thought and action. The site they chose incorporates the Race Street Meetinghouse and its tree-filled courtyard. An adjacent 56,000 square foot office building was constructed in the early 1970s. This campus was dedicated as the Friends Center in 1974.

Recognizing that competition for water and energy resources are increasingly the source of war and conflict, Friends Center made a commitment to becoming a living witness for environmental responsibility. In 2010 Friends Center became a certified LEED Platinum building. LEED stand for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Office and meeting space were designed with thought to how each piece would work with each other to reduce the use of resources while keeping with a contemporary design.

Centuries-old Techniques
How does all of this affect the everyday user of the facility? It doesn’t! Most of the additions to the design are common sense, centuries-old techniques for the preservation of resources. The building is cool in the summer and warm in the winter just like any other building. The office is illuminated like any other office. The complex consumes water like any other complex. The difference lies in how those results are achieved.

Living in a green community does mean you will have to face change, but not in the manner most people think. The open office plan provides sunlight to play a part of illuminating the space. This helps to cut down on lighting costs and uses energy, but also provides natural light, a commodity that humans crave. How does this affect the office worker? The open office design removes walls to allow for light to fill the room. This means there are fewer barriers for sound to be contained. Conversation rooms are designed into the space to compensate.

Most change around this center is hardly noticeable. Friends Center diverts stormwater to be used in the toilet system. Using this water already destined for the sewer is unnoticeable to the user, but unbelievably helpful for a city using a single sewer system. Geothermal heating and cooling replaces an energy-using heat sink and replaces it with the temperature of the earth. The building still heats and cools as any other would.

Start at Work, Continue at Home
Green office living is not a major undertaking that alters every aspect of one’s work life. It often just involves simple design changes that make use of the natural resources that surround us. Many can be adopted into everyone’s everyday life. Simple changes like communal printers or using reusable or compostable cups and plates are not hard to enact. They provide an excellent starting point so that this green office community can begin or enhance your practice of going green.

To hold your next meeting at Friends Center call 215-241-7190. For more information click here.

To learn about leasing office space at Friends Center for your nonprofit organization call 215-241-7191.