March 14, 2016: Tenant Networking Reception

From the monthly tenant email newsletter to Friends Center tenants:

Tenants are invited to a TENANT NETWORKING EVENT on Monday, March 14, at 11 am in the Rufus Jones Room.

We’ll celebrate the redesign of our lobby, learn about the work of Friends Center’s three owning partner Quaker organizations, and go around the circle to give you each a chance to say your mission statement. You’ll have a chance to connect with your peers here in our community.

Friends Center will provide soft drinks, and you can buy a treat from the Friends Child Care Center bake sale happening in the lobby that week.

New Lobby Design!

Today Friends Center installed new signage and banners interpreting its role as the Quaker hub for peace, justice, and the Religious Society of Friends in Philadelphia.

Friends Center thanks its three owning partner groups—American Friends Service Committee, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting—for participating in the process to develop the conceptual designs. Graphic designer Steve Tucker designed, fabricated, and installed the pieces. Architect Alice K. Berman, AIA, assisted with preliminary design work as well.

Please stop by and see the new look in person!

IMG_20160128_155946sign Joe Nadia-sized
Photographs of new displays in Friends Center lobby


January 2016 Message to Tenants

From the January 2016 e-newsletter:

Greetings and best wishes for a happy, healthy, and productive 2016!

As a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), at this time of year I’m mindful of the Quaker testimony that every day can be a holy day, not just special days called holidays.

Similarly, Friends Center is a special place throughout the year. All of YOU are doing work to make our city, state, nation, and globe a better place—all year long.

So, thank you making this not just an office complex, but a hub for peace, justice, education, the environment, and more. Keep up the great work!

—Chris Mohr, Executive Director

December 2015 Tenant Newsletter: Mural Dedication, New Tenants, and Thanks

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

As we’re emailing this to you, the dedication of our mural by Shepard Fairey is taking place. (If you read this before 10:30 am, it’s not too late to join us for the reception in the Cherry Street Room!)

We appreciate the opportunity to host this powerful piece of art. It connects so directly to the work of groups here like the American Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, Prisoner Visitation and Support, The Center for Returning Citizens, and Witness to Innocence. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage to walk up to 15th and Race and take a look!

In other news, this month we welcome uAspire to The Exchange coworking space. Their mission is to support youth in finding financial information and resources to a postsecondary education.

And later this month, Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey will move in. Their mission is “to inspire and empower all girls to be strong, smart and bold,” which fits well with the Quaker testimony on equality.

A Word of Appreciation
After my first year here, I continue to be amazed at all the great organizations here. Thank you all for your good work!

Friends Center’s equity partners—American Friends Service Committee, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of Friends, and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends—had the vision to create this complex and make it a community resource. They deserve our thanks as well.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

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