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Mission and History

Inspired by our Catholic heritage, the mission of the Connelly Foundation is to create access for those in need and opportunity for those with vision.

Since its founding in 1955, the Connelly Foundation has been a responsive and proactive grantmaking organization awarding grants to nonprofits in the Philadelphia area that demonstrate outstanding performance in meeting community needs.


For the first 25 years it was principally driven by its Founders John and Josephine Connelly’s personal charitable principles, with a strong emphasis on increasing access to higher education, strengthening Catholic schools, and providing help and opportunity to the needy.  These values continued to be loyally honored and built upon during the Foundation’s second 25 years, under the leadership of the Connellys’ two oldest daughters, Josephine C. Mandeville as President and Emily C. Riley as Executive Vice President.


Staying true to the vision and foresight of the Founders, the Foundation has continued to embrace their philosophy of identifying individuals and groups whose leadership can bring positive change, then supporting their ability to serve those around them.


At the same time, creative new ideas were generated toward programs that would bolster and complement the quality Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia plus supporting new organizations that respect human dignity and provide opportunity.

  • JCM and ECR
Josephine C. Mandeville and Emily C. Riley