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.

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



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


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.


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


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


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.

Friends Center participates in Park(ing) Day for first time

Friends Center's mini-park for Parking Day 2016

Waiting for Passersby

Staff from Friends Council on Education sitting in the mini-park at Friends Center

Reclaiming Public Space

Friends Center was excited to participate in Park(ing) Day Philadelphia for the first time this year on September 16, 2016. This is the international day when people reclaim parking spaces as public space, by creating mini-parks or “parklets” for the day. This year marked the ninth annual Park(ing) Day in Philadelphia.

The Friends Council on Education and the Friends Association for Higher Education organized our spot on 15th Street, in front of the Friends Center display window in the middle of the block. The parklet featured information about Friends Schools and Quaker colleges.

You can find us and all the participants on the interactive map, or check out the Park(ing) Day Facebook page.

You can also see examples of parklets on social media by searching the hashtag #PARKingDayPHL.

Volunteers from CASA and FAHE helped staff the parklet

Volunteers from CASA and FAHE at display table

Staff from Friends Center and Friends Council on Education at Parking Day

Welcome to The Parklet at Friends Center!

Flyer that says welcome to Parking Day parklet at Friends Center

News from Friends Center, September 2016

If you’ve been away for a late-summer respite, welcome back! Friends Center remained fairly busy this summer. A couple of highlights include the many issue-related events held here during the week of Democratic National Convention, and the group tour that 40 or so of us from multiple organizations at Friends Center took of the new Mormon Temple in August. It was also great to see so many people using the chairs and bistro table on the front porch of the Quaker Meetinghouse—when it wasn’t too hot!

The Rufus Jones Room audiovisual equipment had a makeover in August. The technology upgrade should serve both you, our tenants, and our outside event renters well.

The statue of Mary Dyer here at Friends Center statue was mentioned in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News as one of only two statues in Philadelphia of actual women from history. We appreciate the recognition. Read the story here.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director


Join us for Park(ing) Day on 9/16

Park(ing) Day is an international event when parking spaces are turned into “parklets” or mini-parks for the day. This year’s event on September 16 will be its 9th year in Philly. Learn more here. Friends Council on Education, Friends Association for Higher Education, and Friends Center are collaborating to bring a parklet to 15th Street between Cherry and Race Streets.


CAIR/AFSC: 9/11 + 15

On Sunday, September 11th from 2:30-5:00 pm at Friends Center, CAIR-Philadelphia, American Friends Service Committee, and the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations are presenting a memorial program on the themes of Remembrance and Reconciliation. Click here for more information.

Singing City South Africa Trip plus 2016-2017 Season

Singing City went on a singing tour to South Africa this summer.  Visit their website for blog posts about it. They have also just announced their 2016-2017 concert season.

Art-Reach Celebrates 30!

On Saturday, October 1st from 12:00-4:00 pm at Friends Center,  Art-Reach is celebrating 30 years of creating opportunities for people with disabilities and/or low-income to experience the arts. Click here for more information.

The GreenLight Fund’s Omar Woodward

Read Generocity’s interview with Omar Woodward: There’s ‘no time’ for the long road to justice in Omar Woodward’s neighborhood.

Save the Date: World Quaker Day is 10/2/2016

The Friends World Committee for Consultation encourages Quakers around the world to celebrate this annual day on the first Sunday in October. http://worldquakerday.org/


Tenant News, July 2016

I hope you had an enjoyable July 4. This month we are gearing up for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia July 25-28. Friends Center will remain open for its usual hours that week.

According to the City of Philadelphia, the impact on Center City will be similar to when a major sporting event is happening: Center City will be crowded with 50,000 extra people during the day, who will then go to the Wells Fargo Arena in the evening for the convention itself.

Of course, there will also be a number of activists and advocates in the vicinity exercising their rights to free speech and to peaceful assembly. Note that Friends Center will be well used that week by organizations paying for space&emdash;namely you, our tenants, plus outside event renters. We will thus have very limited capacity—if any—for anyone who hasn’t reserved space. And if you see people you don’t know wandering around inside the buildings, please redirect them to the front lobby.

Finally, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Friends Center does not engage in electoral politics involving candidates or parties; thank you for respecting this in Friends Center’s common spaces.

May you have a productive, engaged, and enjoyable summer!

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director



On Tuesday, July 12, a truck will be here to pick up your electronic waste (computers, monitors, & the like). You can drop materials off in the lobby. If you’re not going to be in that day, talk to our staff about dropping it off in advance.


Park(ing) Day is an international event when parking spaces are turned into mini-parks for the day. This year’s event on September 16 will be its 9th year in Philly. Learn more here. There are two of us so far; we need more to make a team! If you’re interested in helping put together a team for a Park(ing) Day spot on 15th Street, let Chris Mohr know.

Garden Club: MONDAYS, 12:30 PM

The Friends Center Garden Club helps keep up the grounds through weeding, turning the mulch, and other light gardening tasks. All are welcome! For more info, contact Maryse Beliveau-Nance or Chris Mohr—or just join us in the lobby.

Walking Club: FRIDAYS at Noon

Friends Center’s Walking Club goes for lunchtime jaunts about 30 minutes long. We meet in the front lobby. All are welcome!

Tenant e-newsletter, June 2016

This is Friends Center’s in-house, monthly e-newsletter, shared for your information about our community.

News from the Director

Chairs on the front porch of the Race Street Quaker MeetinghouseHave you seen the new bistro table and chairs on the front porch (Cherry Street side) of the Quaker Meetinghouse? You’re welcome to sit a spell, eat lunch, make a call, read, or just take a break. Thanks to Sara Zia Hughes, former AFSC staffer, for first suggesting the idea!

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

Around Friends Center

Garden Club: MONDAYS, 12:30 PM
The Friends Center Garden Club helps keep up the grounds through weeding, turning the mulch, and other light gardening tasks. All are welcome! Please join us in the lobby at 12:30 pm on Mondays.

Walking Club: FRIDAYS at NoonFour people in Logan Square during a jaunt by the Friends Center walking club

Friends Center’s Walking Club goes for lunchtime jaunts about 30 minutes long. We meet in the front lobby. All are welcome!

Would you like to participate in Park(ing) Day???

Park(ing) Day is an international event when parking spaces are turned into mini-parks for the day. This year’s event on September 16 will be its 9th year in Philly. Learn more here.

If you’re interested in helping put together a team for a Park(ing) Day spot on 15th Street, let Chris know.

Partner News

Friends Center is a partnership of three Quaker organizations: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the international service organization; Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, the local congregation; and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, the regional Quaker body. Here we share a few recent items.

AFSC Report on Mixed Messages

AFSC’s new report, Mixed Messages: How the Media Covers “Violent Extremism” and What You Can Do About It, was released during the Alliance for Peacebuilding annual conference. “When media dehumanizes subjects, fails to acknowledge historical context, and frame groups as natural military targets, it’s no wonder war is seen as the only option. Advocates and journalists can collaborate to change the narrative in mainstream media.”

Two New Historical Markers Related to Quakers

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting alerted us that the PA Historical and Museum Commission unveils a new historical marker to commemorate Anthony Benezet (1713-1784), a Quaker abolitionist and pioneer in the education of women and African Americans, on Saturday, June 4, 11:00 AM. The free public ceremony will be held across the street from the marker, at the site of his former home, 325 Chestnut St.

Another marker will be unveiled at our sibling site, the Historic Arch Street Meeting House, 320 Arch Street, Wednesday, July 27, 11:00 am. The marker designates where 300 activists from around the country met in February 1979 to organize the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The 100,000-person demonstration took place on October 14, 1979.

News of Our Tenants

Friends Center bids farewell this month to two of our tenants: The Michelle Snow Company and uASpire. We wish them well as they move on to other venues!

Join Food & Water Watch for two environmental events:

  • The Caucus for a Clean Energy Revolution will be held Saturday, June 4th from 10a.m. – 1p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill. Learn more.
  • Food & Water Watch is organizing the local Climate March on Sunday, July 24, 1 pm, starting from City Hall. See the flyers on the front desk in the lobby.

UPDATE: CASA has canceled the training on June 8 entitled “Best Practices with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning Youth in Care” in conjunction with The Center for Excellence in Advocacy at the Support Center for Child Advocates. It should be rescheduled for fall 2016. Contact Cindy Blum at cindy.blum@casaphiladelphia.org if you want to stay informed.

Perspective on Philly’s “Green City, Clean Waters”
Friends Center’s green building features include a green roof and a graywater system that uses rainwater to flush toilets. Learn more about the context for our green infrastructure in this piece by Kimberly Haas, a producer at WHYY: ‘Green City’ project keeps Philadelphia rainwater run-off in check.

In a nice further connection, Kimberly is also the coordinator for our tenant group, the Friends Association for Higher Education!

If you would like us to share your organization’s news, please tweet us at @FriendsCtr.


No Smoking on the Grounds!
Friends Center is a smoke-free environment. We thank you for not smoking on our campus, including any outdoor brick areas inside the gates and fences.

It’s a Loading Zone, Not a Parking Zone…
Please remember that no parking is allowed in the loading dock during normal business hours, 7 am – 5 pm. If you need to load/unload your vehicle, you must leave your information with the front desk.


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