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Federation Housing Gets $3 Million
Federation Housing, Inc. received a $3 million gift last week -- the largest single donation in its 40-year history -- to go toward construction of a new, low-income senior housing development in Elkins Park.
The gift comes from Firstrust Bank and its owners' family philanthropy, the Daniel B. and Florence E. Green Family Foundation, which channeled the donation though the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Construction is expected to start next week, and last 12 to 14 months. The three-floor, 84-unit development at 1509 Ashbourne Road in Elkins Park -- most recently, the site of a private school -- will be named the Samuel A. Green House, the father of Daniel Green, chairman of the bank.
When Federation Housing unveiled its plans in the fall, the total cost was projected to be $15 million. But for a variety of reasons, including requirements for extensive additional plumbing, the cost has crept up to $20 million, according to Federation Housing Director Eric Naftulin.
Upwards of $8 million is coming from federal stimulus dollars. Another $9 million comes from a variety of sources, including state tax credits, the Montgomery County Department of Housing & Community Development and other private donations. Naftulin said that the Green gift has provided the last of the necessary funds to complete the project.
The Green House represents the first time that Federation Housing is opening a facility outside the city of Philadelphia.
Perelman Gets Contract, and Pointedly Avoids Strike
The faculty and administration at the Perelman Jewish Day School reached a deal on a four-year contract, ending a standoff related to pensions, health benefits and teaching loads.
The deal, said Perelman head of school Jay Leberman, ensures that the school will avoid the prospect of a work stoppage similar to the bitter strike that last year shut down the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy for a week.
In August, the faculty at Perelman -- which, like Barrack, is unionized and affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers -- agreed to a temporary, one-year contract while continuing to negotiate. Leberman and Andrew Walker, president of the faculty association, said that both sides acted proactively and brought in a mediator before a strike became a real threat.
"Unlike previous rounds of negotiations, both parties agreed to start sitting down and hearing each other as early as possible," said Leberman. "Negotiations weren't done in a contentious manner. It was done in a mutually respectful way."
Said Walker: "We are happy that we have four years of labor peace. We passed it with good numbers; it wasn't a close vote. We feel this was a situation where the union saved the school, and the school saved the union."