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


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