Gift advances Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation
Frank, Elaine and Alan Lindy
Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation has received $5 million in grants from the family of the late Philip B. Lindy (1930-2013), a generous benefactor of Drexel University, that will significantly further the Lindy Institute’s mission to forge innovative strategies to equitably advance Philadelphia and other cities across the country and globe.
The donation, made by Alan, Elaine and Frank Lindy, is intended to support the philanthropic vision and interests of their father and is the latest in a number of significant gifts to Drexel from two generations of the Lindy family.
“I am profoundly grateful to the Lindy family for their sustained and renewed commitment to Drexel and our Lindy Institute,” said Drexel President John Fry. “This additional gift demonstrates the family’s confidence and trust in the Lindy Institute’s mission and leadership, and their abiding dedication to the promotion of civic partnerships in Philadelphia.”
Part of the new funding will be used for promoting the Lindy Institute’s role across Philadelphia’s civic design landscape. Currently, the Lindy Institute is helping the city shape an equitable, people-friendly future for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. For the redevelopment of a former refinery site in Southwest Philadelphia into a new economic hub and innovation district for leading e-commerce, life sciences and logistics enterprises, the Lindy Institute is working with the new owner of the property, Hilco Redevelopment Partners, on organizing a public conversation regarding environmental remediation of the site. The Lindy family gift will be used to help the Lindy Institute serve as a neutral party on contested projects, and to bring world-class experts to Philadelphia to participate in public events associated with these and other projects.
The funding will also support scholarships for Drexel’s Master of Science in Urban Strategy program. Co-created in 2017 by the Lindy Institute and the University’s Department of Architecture Design and Urbanism, Drexel’s urban strategy program is the only multidisciplinary urban problem-solving degree program in the U.S. The Lindy family will be invited to work with the Lindy Institute in establishing goals for their transformative gift.
“Philadelphia is facing profound challenges and opportunity, and this generous gift allows us to address and impact both,” said Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA, executive director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. “The complexity of these problems calls for solutions built from great breadth and depth of knowledge, expertise, and perspective. By supporting and bringing together scholars, policymakers, and practitioners in urban planning, architecture, political science, business, law, and other fields, this renewed and significant investment in the Lindy Institute will greatly enhance Drexel’s ability to answer that call.”
Established in 2012, the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation advances urban innovation through civic engagement at the service of society’s greatest challenges; trains the next generation of engaged urban strategists to solve complex and dynamic, cross-disciplinary urban challenges; and creates new knowledge and practices to enable cities to function, prosper and thrive in a complex and dynamic global society.
Drexel’s Lindy Center for Civic Engagement also was named in honor of Phil Lindy in recognition of his generosity to the University, including funding that established Lindy Scholars, a tutoring and mentoring program at Drexel that supports disadvantaged youth in Philadelphia-area communities. Lindy purchased and then donated to Drexel the property at North 35th and Spring Garden Streets, including an 1850s mansion currently known as Philip Lindy House that provides space for the University’s Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.
I am profoundly grateful to the Lindy family. This additional gift demonstrates the family’s confidence and trust in the Lindy Institute’s mission and leadership, and their abiding dedication to the promotion of civic partnerships in Philadelphia.President John Fry
Since 2018, the Lindy family has supported Drexel’s Nowak Metro Finance Lab, a key part of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, by helping to enable the appointment of Bruce J. Katz as co-founder and inaugural director. The Nowak Metro Finance Lab works to explore ways of financing what is called the “inclusive city” — a metropolitan area that works for all its residents. Currently, the Nowak Lab is working with cities across the country on building competitive federal infrastructure proposals, and it is working in Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Equity Alliance, whose goal is to make the city the most equitable in the U.S.
The Lindy family continues to provide generous support for related efforts, including the McMichael STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) playground at the Morton McMichael School, a public K-8 institution in West Philadelphia’s Mantua neighborhood, as well as stipends for Drexel Co-op students at the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement. Additionally, the Lindy family supports the Fiesta Schoolyards initiative in its mission to transform the exterior spaces at 100 elementary school throughout Philadelphia over ten years.
Alan, Elaine and Frank Lindy are the third of four generations of their family to lead Lindy Communities, a property management company that was founded by their paternal grandfather in the 1930s. The company has grown and evolved to include new construction, student housing, senior lifestyle housing and high-rise apartment communities in Philadelphia and surrounding counties.
In addition to his long career as a property manager and investor, their father Phil Lindy was a board member of several Philadelphia-area foundations and community organizations. In 1992, he received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American Jewish Committee. In 2010, Drexel awarded Phil Lindy an honorary doctorate in business administration, and two years later, the Joseph Jacovini Outstanding Service Award, the University’s highest honor granted to non-alumni in recognition of service. In 2013, he was named Outstanding Individual Philanthropist by the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, having been nominated by Drexel.
“With this recent donation, it is a privilege for the Lindy family to make a meaningful gift that honors our father and his vision to support Drexel in its broad and strategic civic engagement mission,” said Alan Lindy, Elaine Lindy and Frank Lindy in a joint statement. “We look forward to being part of the ongoing growth of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and helping to advance its lasting impact on Philadelphia and beyond.”
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