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Philanthropist, former Rohm chairman John C. Haas dies

Monday, April 4, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Seasholtz
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Posted by the Philadelphia Business Journal
April 4, 2011

The Philadelphia area lost one of its greatest philanthropists over the weekend when John C. Haas died Saturday at age 92.

Mr. Haas was the last surviving child of Otto Haas, co-founder of the Rohm and Haas Co., where he worked as an executive from 1953 through 1978, including as chairman from 1974 through 1978.

In 1960, when his father died, Mr. Haas became chairman of the William Penn Foundation, which his parents established in 1945. He remained in that role for 32 years, overseeing its growth, which was spurred by additional bequests from his parents.

After Philadelphia-based Rohm and Haas was bought by Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE:DOW) for $18.8 billion in April 2009, Mr. Haas initiated a restructuring of his family's trusts to provide the William Penn Foundation with greater financial stability. As a result, in December 2009, the Haas family gave $747 million to the William Penn Foundation. The family also established the Wyncote Foundation as its personal philanthropic vehicle and gave $502 million to it.

Last year, the Wyncote Foundation gave the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania an $8 million gift that is the largest in the organization's history.

In 2006, Mr. Haas and his wife, Chara Haas, established the Stoneleigh Foundation to provide fellowships to practitioners, researchers and policy makers so they can develop and test methods for improving the U.S. child-welfare, education and juvenile-justice systems. The foundation was named after the Haas' home in Villanova, Pa.

Mr. Haas is survived by Chara Haas; their daughter, Barbara; their sons, David, Leonard, Frederick, and Duncan; and 10 grandchildren. His brother, F. Otto Haas, died in 1994.

In lieu of flowers, the Haas family is asking that donations be made in Mr. Haas' name to the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia; or The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The family planned to hold a private service and schedule a public memorial service for a later date.

The Stoneleigh Foundation's obituary for Mr. Haas can be found here.