Have your eco-friendly wedding at Friends Center

For your once in a lifetime wedding, consider the Race St Quaker Meeting RoomSized 2simple beauty of The Friends Center Meetinghouse. Ideal for couples looking for a unique venue or those seeking a traditional setting for a non-traditional ceremony, our rooms can be transformed into your very own en_0526wedding wonderland. As a LEED Platinum facility, we are also an eco-friendly option. Whether you’re hosting your closest family and friends or accommodating 500, this National Historic Landmark provides the perfect setting.

After your nuptials, guests can proceed to the picturesque Cherry Street Room. Nestled below the historic Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Quaker Library, the room boasts high ceilings and an abundance of natural light. After what we hope is the IMG_20160428_111715 2ceremony of your dreams, we suggest making your way to our captivating tree-lined courtyard to treat your guests to an hour full of delectable delights and mingling. Finally, choose between an intimate sit-down reception for 200 and a buffet for 100 to leave room for dancing. Whichever you decide, remember that our goal is to be a support to you and make this day as special and spectacular as you’ve always dreamed of.

About Friends Centeren03

Since 1856 Friends Center has been a gathering place for community groups.  Our historic Quaker Meetinghouse is the perfect location to bring together family and friends for your special day.

April 2017 Tenant Newsletter

News from the Director

The big news this month is the centennial anniversary of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), one of our three Quaker ownership groups.

AFSC was founded here 100 years ago to provide service options during World War I to young male members of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, who followed the traditional Quaker peace testimony against participating in war. Today AFSC works in local communities as well as at the policy level in 16 countries.

From April 20 to 24, AFSC will have events at the nearby Sheraton Hotel, as well as several events here at Friends Center, so our shared event space is booked for that time. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Waging Peace Summit, April 20-23:
Registration is free for day guests; you’re welcome:
https://www.afsc.org/summit

Waging Peace Exhibition, through April 23
at the African American Museum of Philadelphia
http://exhibit.afsc.org/

Around Friends Center

Masonry Work
Friends Center has hired Wm. Proud Masonry Restoration to rebuild the front wall and to repoint portions of the Meetinghouse and 1520 Race Street buildings. Please be cautious around the active work sites.

New Tai Chi Class
Instructor Chris Luebbe is offering a free Yang Style Tai Chi class at Friends Center. In order to best serve interested participants, Chris has developed a survey to determine the best day and time for the class. Please contact Courtney with any questions, or to express interest in attending.

Pop-Up Lemonade Garden for May Day!!
In honor of nicer weather and the return of our porch furniture, Friends Center is hosting a Pop-Up Lemonade Garden! Meet and mingle with fellow tenants of Friends Center. Join us May 1, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm on the front porch of the Meetinghouse. Alternate in case of rain: Cherry Street Room

Tentatively, we will also host an E-Waste Recycling Drive that day. Last year we did it around Earth Day, but that is during the AFSC Centennial this year, so we don’t have the capacity to schedule it then. Stay tuned for confirmation.

In the News

Covenant House Sleep Out for Youth
On March 24, Covenant House PA held their Sleep Out for Homeless Youth: Young Professionals Edition event here at Friends Center. The event generates sympathy for homeless youth as well as funds for Covenant House’s services to support them.

See the Channel 6 News Coverage.

If you know of a nonprofit organization that needs a venue for their event, please direct them to our website:
Hold Your Meeting at Friends Center
– New: Online Room Reservation Form

Witness to Innocence
Read about Witness to Innocence work with exonerated death row inmates, here.

Ben Franklin Parkway Centennial
Read about the $1M+ ‘dramatic’ art installation to mark Ben Franklin Parkway’s 100th anniversary.

Friends Center is hiring a substitute desk clerk

Friends Center is recruiting 1-2 new on-call, substitute desk clerks to make sure we have the ongoing coverage we need.

The on-call desk clerk fills in when the regular day, evening, or weekend receptionist is not available.

On weekdays, the desk clerk is responsible for all of the functions of the lobby including greeting visitors and staff, answering phones, and fielding requests for service from tenants.

If called in for evening or weekend work, the receptionist provides coverage for the front desk, opens the building in the morning and closes it at night, monitors the physical plant for problems, and serves as the gracious face of Friends Center for all visitors.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Click to download.

Interested people should send a cover letter and resume to Courtney Feild. (No phone calls, please.)

The position will be open until filled. Friends Center is an equal opportunity employer.

Tenant News: March 2017

NEWS FROM THE DIRECTOR

Is spring here or not? The vast fluctuations in our winter weather remind us that climate has already changed. Fortunately, you are already part of the solution by choosing Friends Center! Our geothermal heating and cooling system, clean energy choices, and other green building features are reducing our carbon footprint. Thank you for being mindful to turn off lights, computers, and other equipment when not needed. And do open the windows on a nice day!

In other news, please check out the Uprooted exhibit, which ends March 9. More info is below. Photos of life in Japanese American farm labor camps remind us of our history and serve as a reminder never to repeat that history with any other group today.

Chris Mohr, Executive Director

AROUND FRIENDS CENTER

Masonry Work

REMINDER: Friends Center has hired a masonry contractor to rebuild the front wall and repoint portions of the Meetinghouse and 1520 Race Street buildings. Stay tuned for the latest information from our staff.

Traffic Pattern Changes on Cherry St.

REMINDER: The contractor rebuilding the Love Park Garage has requested temporary changes in traffic patterns for our block of Cherry Street during the morning rush hour through March. The plans keep evolving, but if you have any questions, please contact the office.

Catering Discount: The Living Room Café

During the month of March, one of our approved caterers, The Living Room Café, is offering a special discount on all catering orders. Any orders placed in March are subject a 10% discount.  If you mention Morris Animal Shelter, you will receive a 5% discount on your order, and the animal shelter will receive the other 5%.

Founded in 1874 by Elizabeth Morris, the Morris Animal Refuge is America’s first animal shelter.  Located at 1242 Lombard Street, they are committed to adoption, education and high-quality care. As an open-admission shelter, they have never turned away an animal in need. In 2016 the Refuge cared for 1,300 animals of all sizes and species and helped over 1,000 community pets get spayed or neutered to reduce pet overpopulation in Philadelphia.

The Mobile CPR Project: RESCHEDULED

The Mobile CPR Project is conducting a free, 30-minute, non-certification class on March 22nd at 12:30pm in the Martin Luther King Room. Space is limited, if you are interested in attending this or a future class, please contact Courtney.

Uprooted Exhibit

The Uprooted Exhibit, brought to us by the Japanese American Citizens League, is on display through March 9th in the Cherry Street Room. If you have not seen the exhibit, which focuses on the Japanese American Farm Labor Camps during WWII, we encourage you to do so before it closes.  For more information, or to schedule a guided tour, please contact Teresa Maebori.

I watched an older Japanese woman get out of a taxi, in front of Friends Center. She stood fully erect, staring at the building, before taking a deep sigh and proceeding into Friends Center. It suddenly hit me; the monumental impact of this event, on the people who survived it, and their descendants who grew up in its shadow.

– Joe Kalil, Friends Center staff


NEWS OF OUR PARTNERS AND TENANTS

American Friends Service Committee

AFSC celebrates its centennial this year and invites you to participate with them.

Waging Peace Summit, April 20-23:
Registration is free for day guests:
https://www.afsc.org/summit

Waging Peace Exhibition, through April 23
at the African American Museum of Philadelphia
http://exhibit.afsc.org/

Art-Reach

Executive Director John Orr is the 2017 Designing Leadership Alumni Award recipient for Art + Business Council’s 32nd annual Art + Business Council Awards. Read more here.

Graham Cracker Cabaret a first for the disability community. WHYY/NewsWorks  story here:  http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/101684-martha-graham-cracker

Michelle Angela Ortiz, Stockon Rush Bartol Foundation

Featured in WHYY Commonspace podcast: http://whyy.org/cms/acommonspace/immigrants-home-brave/

Tenant News: February 2017

News from the Director:

Friends Center connects Philadelphians today to the Quaker history of the city founded by William Penn. While that history includes many examples for us Quakers to be proud of, it also includes many things we should rightly be ashamed of. (For example, while Penn approved the Charter of Liberties for Pennsylvania in 1701, which later became a major basis for the Constitutional Bill of Rights, Penn also enslaved other humans.)

While we cannot afford to gloss over the past (whatever your background or affiliations), we also need inspiration from stories of people acting with courage for good.

Two local exhibitions this month provide an incredibly timely look back: The American Friends Service Committee’s “Wage Peace” exhibition for their 100th anniversary is on view now at the African American Museum of Philadelphia; and “Uprooted: Life in Japanese American Farm Labor Camps” is coming to Friends Center later this month. Details for both are below.

I hope you’ll take time to see them and to reflect on a query: What meaning might these stories have for you today?

Finally, I’m grateful to all of you here at Friends Center today for being part of the present story. You are inspiring!

AROUND FRIENDS CENTER

Traffic Pattern Changes on Cherry St. in Jan.-Feb.
The contractor rebuilding the Love Park Garage has requested temporary changes in traffic patterns for our block of Cherry Street during the morning and evening rush hour throughout January and February. You should have received timeline information last week. If you have any questions, please contact Chris.

The Mobile CPR Project
The Mobile CPR Project is conducting a free, 30-minute, non-certification class on March 20th at noon in the Martin Luther King Room. Space is limited.

Uprooted Exhibit
This month, Friends Center will be hosting the exhibition Uprooted: Life in Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II.” The exhibit was brought to us by the Japanese American Citizens League. The exhibit runs from February 18th through March 9th in the Cherry Street Room, and focuses on the Japanese American Farm Labor Camps during WWII. For more information, or to schedule a guided tour, please contact Teresa Maebori.

Net Tuesday
The next Net Tuesday will take place on February 7th. Ali Wilson of Seer Interactive will be on hand to discuss the ins and outs of Google Grants.  This free event begins at 6pm in the Rufus Jones Room. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP here.

TENANT NEWS

American Friends Service Committee
Read AP News’ article on the ‘Waging Peace,’ American Friends Service Committee’s exhibit marking their centennial. Exhibit details:  http://exhibit.afsc.org/.

AFSC and others hosted an event for Syrian refugee families here at Friend Center last Saturday, take a look.

CAIR- Philadelphia
CAIR-Philadelphia participated in the ACLU’s press conference regarding their lawsuit on behalf of the families turned away at Philadelphia International Airport last weekend. Read about it here.

Art-Reach
Read about Art-Reach’s collaboration with FringeArts for a ‘radically accessible’ Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret here.

Uprooted Exhibition at Friends Center

Friends Center, in partnership with the Japanese American Citizenship League, hosted the traveling exhibition “Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps during World War II” during February and March 2017.

Logo for Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War TwoOn February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the instrument that authorized the forced removal and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans. Denied their civil liberties, they were held in camps operated by the War Relocation Authority. Between 1942 and 1944, some 33,000 individual contracts were issued for seasonal farm labor, with many working in the sugar beet industry.

This exhibit introduces their story.

January 2017 Tenant News

NEWS FROM THE DIRECTOR

AFSC’s Waging Peace Exhibit Marks Its Centennial

This is a special year at Friends Center: The American Friends Service Committee, one of the three equity partners who formed Friends Center, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. AFSC was founded in 1917, as a means for peaceful Quakers to participate in war relief efforts. (Our Rufus Jones Room was named for one of the principal founders of AFSC, and his portrait hangs near the door.)

As one of several special events marking the centennial, AFSC’s “Waging Peace” exhibition (see the “upcoming exhibits” tab on this page) opens at the African American Museum in Philadelphia on January 17, and runs through April 30. I encourage you to travel down to 7th and Arch Streets to see it.

You can also learn more about AFSC’s history in peace- and justice-building at www.afsc.org/centennial.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

AROUND FRIENDS CENTER

Traffic Pattern Changes on Cherry St. in Jan.-Feb.

The contractor rebuilding the Love Park Garage has requested temporary changes in traffic patterns for our block of Cherry Street during the morning and evening rush hour throughout January and February. We will email all tenants once the plan and timline have been confirmed with the contractor and the city.

NEWS OF OUR TENANTS

The Trust for Public Land

Read more about Trust for Public Land’s work on the Conestoga Community Playground, and future playgrounds in Philadelphia, here.

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity

Learn about Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity’s recent legal clinic, which focused on helping veterans with a criminal history in the following articles and video clips: Newsworks, CBS 3, and NBC 10.

Tenant Newsletter: December 2016

Celebrate together on Dec. 16!
The Friends Center community is a special one. The organizations who have space here, and the community groups that hold events here, are doing an amazing array of work to improve our city, state, nation, and world.

Join us in the Cherry Street Room for a tenant reception on Friday, December 16, 1 pm, to celebrate your collective good work. Friends Center will provide light snacks and beverages from The Living Room Café, our new addition to the approved caterers list. We’ll have a brief program to circle up and introduce ourselves. One person from each organization should come ready to recite your organization’s mission statement. Then we’ll have time for you to network and connect.

Let’s see what seeds may be planted as we head into winter!

Reminder: Christmas & New Year’s Building Closures
In observance of Christmas, Friends Center will be closed on the following days:

  • Friday, December 23
  • Saturday, December 24
  • Monday, December 26

On Sunday, December 25, Friends Center will open as usual at 9 am, for Quaker Meeting for Worship at 11 am, and will close early at 2 pm.

Regular hours resume Tuesday, December 27, through Saturday, December 31.

In observance of New Year’s Day, Friends Center will be:

  • open Sunday, January 1, at 9 am, for Quaker Meeting for Worship at 11 am, and will close early at 2 pm; and
  • closed Monday, January 2nd.

Regular hours resume Tuesday, January 3rd.

NEWS OF OUR TENANTS
The Trust for Public Land
On Thursday, December 8 The Trust for Public Land celebrated the opening of Conestoga Community Playground, at 53rd St. & Media St. Read about TPL’s work to transform William Cramp Community School’s Schoolyard.

GreenLight Philadelphia
On Saturday, December 3rd, Moore College of Art hosted Philadelphia in Flux. GreenLight Philadelphia Executive Director Omar Woodard was keynote speaker.

Tenant Newsletter: November 2016

 

NEWS FROM THE DIRECTOR

For the first couple hundred years of the Religious Society of Friends, Quakers did not celebrate holidays. Quaker businesses in Philadelphia and elsewhere stayed open for “the day the world calls Christmas.” Quakers believed that every day is a holy day, and so there was no need to set aside “holi-days” for special observances.

While Friends today follow a variety of practices, they certainly have no uniform witness against observing holidays any longer.

Of course, as an organization with mostly non-Quaker tenants and people who work here, Friends Center does observe holidays. So, please check the schedule of Thanksgiving closures below, the Christmastime closures on the 2016 calendar, and print a copy of the new 2017 holiday calendar, which was just approved by our board of directors.

Whatever your tradition or observance, may your holidays—as well as your ordinary everydays—be filled with meaning and a sense of wonder for you.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

AROUND FRIENDS CENTER

Reminder: Thanksgiving Building Closures

In observance of Thanksgiving, Friends Center will close at 6pm on Wednesday, November 23rd, and be closed Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th. Our regular hours will resume Saturday, November 26th.

Conference & Event Space Rates Increasing in 2017

Rates are going up in 2017, so tell your friends in outside groups to book now to lock in current rates. View 2017 rates here.

NEWS OF OUR TENANTS

4th Annual Fair and Sustainable Gift Fair

On Friday, November 18th, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting will host the 4th Annual Fair and Sustainable Gift Fair at Friends Center from 11am-8pm. For more information, please visit the Fair Trade Philadelphia website.

Together as Adoptive Parents: Heart Gallery

In honor of DHS’ Adoption Day reception, to be held at Friends Center on November 18th, Together as Adoptive Parents (TAP) will once again be displaying The Heart Gallery. For the month of November the exhibit, which features photographs of children waiting to be adopted, will be in the Friends Center lobby.

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity

Executive Director, Mike Lee, talks criminal history during his Ignite Philly 18 presentation in September.  You can watch his presentation here.

Scattergood Foundation

Read Generocity’s article about Scattergood Foundation’s work with Philanthropy Network and United Way to create a guide designed to increase local funders’ awareness of the effects of childhood trauma here.

October 2016 tenant newsletter

NEWS FROM THE DIRECTOR

Friends Center’s Growing Event Business
Friends Center’s event business continues to grow, serving both our 35+ tenant organizations and nearly 70 outside groups in the last year. We’re pleased to manage a faith-based facility that is busy seven days a week—at a time when many congregational buildings in Philly are being closed or even demolished.
I have two important reasons to thank you all:

  1. First, thank you for your referrals of other nonprofits to us. Our business has largely grown through word of mouth, because people like you have great people at your events.
  2. Second, thank you for your patience with us as we continue to balance the needs of you, our tenants, and our outside paying customers on a daily basis. Our staff is doing their best to provide you the space and setups you need. I’m proud of their efforts. Please do let me know if you have questions or concerns—or compliments. I’m always happy to hear about someone doing a good job and reflect that back to them.

Welcome to Team Clean!
In the evenings, you’ve seen the cleaning crew with t-shirts identifying them as staff to our new cleaning contractor, Team Clean. Please say hello to new crew member Shaniqua, as well as to returning crew members Darryl, Ebony, and Joe. Meanwhile, past crew members Nadine and Mike recently moved to new jobs elsewhere. While we’re sorry to see them go, we’re glad they found those opportunities, and we thank them for their service at Friends Center.

Chris Mohr, Executive Director

AROUND FRIENDS CENTER

Open Windows
‘Tis the season for open windows in the 1501 Cherry Street office building! With cooler but not yet cold weather, please feel free to open windows when the weather is nice. If you remember, kindly close them again in the evening.

News of Our Tenants

American Friends Service Committee is turning 100!
The American Friends Service Committee, one of the three equity partners that own Friends Center, will turn 100 in 2017! Founded on this site in 1917, AFSC now works across the world for peace and justice. Explore their history here: peaceworks.afsc.org.

Art-Reach turns 30!
Meanwhile, Art-Reach is celebrating their 30th year of creating, advocating for and expanding accessible opportunities in the arts for the full spectrum of Philadelphians. They held their 30th birthday party here last Saturday. See their Facebook page for more info.

Trust for Public Land
Read about the Trust for Public Land’s involvement with the Philadelphia school district’s GreenFutures Plan here.

CAIR/AFSC: 9/11 + 15
On Sunday, October 2nd at Friends Center, CAIR-Philadelphia, American Friends Service Committee, and the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations presented a memorial program on the themes of Remembrance and Reconciliation. Click here for more information.