The Connelly Foundation was established in 1955 by John and Josephine Connelly as an extension of their personal philanthropy and deep Catholic faith. While the mission of “improving the quality of life in the Philadelphia area” might have seemed simplistic, it truly reflected their humble and generous natures. They wanted to acknowledge the gratitude they felt for their many blessings, and were determined to share whatever they had with others who were less fortunate. And so, they did just that for nearly 40 years. They instilled in their six children the importance of assisting members of the community attain more fulfilling and productive lives by providing incentives to learn, encouragement to achieve, and reasons to hope.
Today the Connelly Foundation is led by two of their daughters, Josephine C. Mandeville and Emily C. Riley, along with a Board of Trustees consisting of nine other family members from two generations and seven dedicated community trustees. All trustees are active in decision-making and in fulfilling the mission of the foundation. Foundation grants currently average $10,000,000 annually with total grants since 1955 nearing the $400,000,000 mark.
Josephine Mandeville assumed the position of President of the foundation upon the death of John Connelly in 1990. She has focused her attention on management, strategic planning and fostering innovative approaches to education, particularly in the Philadelphia parochial schools. The foundation has established two extensive scholarship programs that award approximately 170 high school scholarships annually, and multiple initiatives that address academic enrichment. Under her leadership, the foundation supported the early use of technology in schools and developed several programs that incorporate technology as a strategy.
Emily Riley, Executive Vice President, is responsible for responsive grant-making through a proposal review process that awards grants to local nonprofit organizations in the fields of education, health and human services, arts and culture, and civic enterprise. She exercises both discipline and diplomacy articulating the Foundation’s philanthropic priorities and programs to the community. A life-long patron of the arts, she recognizes and values the role of the arts in the cultural and economic fabric of our city.
Both sisters have been generous with their time and commitment and have served with distinction in disparate fields.
Josephine was Philadelphia born but she broke her family’s tradition of staying in the Philadelphia area. She and her husband, Owen Mandeville, made their home in Larchmont, NY where they welcomed three children, and she joined his family’s real estate and insurance firm. She served on the boards of several local institutions and pursued both an M.S. in Education and an M.B.A. After they relocated to Philadelphia she and her husband established Mandeville Associates, Inc., which was dissolved following his death in 1995. Josephine has served on the boards of Georgetown University, LaSalle University, the Franklin Institute, and continues to be an active trustee at Thomas Jefferson University. She credits her three children and seven grandchildren for keeping her somewhat current and relevant, and enjoys the opportunity to play golf and to travel as often as possible.
Emily lives in Villanova. Graduated from Rosemont College with a major in English Literature, she has served on many boards, including The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, Inglis House, Gwynedd Mercy University, Villanova University, and The Philadelphia Foundation. She presently serves as trustee at International House Philadelphia, Project HOME, and on the Committee for the Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children. Besides spending happy times with her three adult children and five grandchildren, she loves to travel and has a deep appreciation for world culture and history.