Tenant Newsletter, May 2017

News From the Director: Springtime… Mostly

Image of tables with food and lemonade on them, in a brick courtyard in front of the Race Street Quaker MeetinghouseToday you’re invited to our Pop Up Lemonade Garden out front! We’ll have light refreshments and the aforementioned lemonade to celebrate the arrival of spring… or maybe that’s summer… With climate chaos, it’s hard to tell. You can also enjoy the return of our bistro table and chairs on the Meetinghouse porch.

Please take a moment to admire our newly planted native shade garden out front, as well as the new native plants in the courtyard. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Roots to Re-Entry crew did the work last Thursday and Friday, so not only did we gain native plants, we supported this important program that enables returning citizens to get training for landscaping and horticultural jobs as they transition back into society.

The large fluctuations in temperature are tough on the system, in particular, in the 1501 Cherry Street building, you may notice it’s a bit warm one day and a bit cool the next. While we are very proud of our geothermal heating and cooling system, the changes are tough on the equipment. Rest assured, we monitor the system closely and adjust the controls as best we can based on existing conditions.

Remember also, you are welcome to open the windows to let in fresh air! We just ask that you close them again at the end of the day to prevent intrusion of water, bugs, or people.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

Around Friends Center

You can now refer to Friends Center’s policies and guidelines—such as for key fobs or catering—as well as our forms—such as to add or subtract phone or Internet users—on our new Tenant Handbook web page: https://www.friendscentercorp.org/?page_id=3741

Image of front door to Tableau cafe at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, PAFA

Our neighbors at Tableau, PAFA’s full-service café have invited us to a coffee social on Monday, May 15th from 2-3pm. This is a great opportunity to meet your Friends Center and Cherry Street neighbors.

Presented by The Philadelphia Foundation and the Knight Foundation, On the Table Philly is a forum designed to engage Greater Philadelphia area residents in an open dialogue, foster new relationships, and inspire solutions to strengthen communities.  On May 23rd, Philadelphia residents across the region will gather in small groups to share a meal and discuss the opportunities and issues we face in our region. If you are interested in hosting one of these gatherings, Friends Center is prepared to donate the space credit-free, please contact Courtney. To learn more about the event, click here.

Just a reminder that our free Tai Chi is now running. Classes are Mondays from noon to 12:50pm in Room 136. All are welcome.

In the News

Read about Joyce Ajlouny, American Friends Service Committee’s next General Secretary.

On May 10th, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) will receive the 2017 Louis J. Goffman Award, from the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation. The award recognizes individuals and organizations committed to outstanding pro bono service. Read more here.

Physicians for Social Responsibility: Workshop on the Health Impacts of Air Quality
On Communities in the Vicinity of Philadelphia’s Refineries
Friday June 16, 2017
Physicians for Social Responsibility, along with Philly Thrive, is presenting a public health workshop about air pollution. This free event is being held JUNE 16th. For more information visit here.
Featuring the community perspectives and the research of
Dr. Tyra Bryant-Stephens and Dr. Peter DeCarlo
South Philadelphia Health and Literacy Center 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
1700 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145-2392

Emergency Evacuation Trainings

Friends Center conducts quarterly emergency evacuation trainings. These trainings are open to everyone; especially those new to Friends Center. The next trainings are scheduled for 10am July 11th, and October 10th. If you have any questions, please contact Erick.

REMINDER: Smoke-Free Facility

We thank you for not smoking on our campus, including any outdoor brick areas inside the gates and fences.

Mid-Week “Refreshment” & Wellness Opportunities


All are welcome at this small group to explore scriptural themes in a progressive framework that is relevant to our times. Monthly Meeting Room, Meetinghouse Wednesdays, Noon-12:30pm


You are invited to sample of half hour of expectant, “waiting” worship in the manner of Friends. These is no set program or agenda. It may be silent, or not, if people feel led to speak out of the silence. Monthly Meeting Room, Meetinghouse, Wednesdays, 12:30-1:00pm


Relaxation and mindfulness are at the heart of Tai Chi practice, which can be conceived of as a form of mediation in motion. All are welcome. Room 136, Mondays, 12:00-12:50pm; Drop-in practice, Room 136 Wednesdays 12:15-12:45pm


Meditation helps us on many levels, from simple relaxation to freedom from suffering and full liberation of heart and mind. You are invited to participate in guided meditation in the Vipassana (insight) tradition. Monthly Meeting Room, Thursdays 12:15-12:45pm


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:

Waging Peace Exhibition, through April 23
at the African American Museum of Philadelphia

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

Updated 12/13/2017
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 Chris Mohr. (No phone calls, please.)

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

Tenant News: March 2017


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


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


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:

Waging Peace Exhibition, through April 23
at the African American Museum of Philadelphia


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!


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.


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.

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


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


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.


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.

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.