Shawn brings more than 10 years of leadership experience at the Foundation to his role as Executive Director. Shawn also manages national initiatives for the Foundation, which aims to expand philanthropy in the region and share the Foundation’s learnings with others focused on similar issues nationwide. Previously, Shawn led the Foundation’s Creative Communities grant center.
As part of the Foundation’s 2012 strategic planning process, Shawn led the creation of the Great Public Spaces grantmaking strategy. Through this work the Foundation is exploring the role of public space in promoting: greater connectivity within and between communities; increased social interaction and community integration; and how to leverage performance, public art, and cultural programming to animate public spaces and engage new audiences. As part of this work Shawn led the formation of a partnership with the Knight Foundation to pilot a new national initiative - Reimagining the Civic Commons - in Philadelphia.
Previously, Shawn initiated and oversaw the Foundation’s Central Delaware Riverfront Initiative, which engaged over 4,000 Philadelphians in 150 meetings and led to the creation of a new waterfront management organization, a new master plan, updated zoning ordinances, and the construction of a series of early-action capital project, including Race Street Pier Park, Washington Avenue Pier Park, Pier 68 Recreation Pier and the new Central Delaware Riverfront Trail— all intended to model the central tenet of the Central Delaware Civic Vision: waterfront public access as an organizing principle for riverfront redevelopment.
Shawn received his graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his undergraduate degree from Temple University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Society of Landscape Architects, and is a licensed Professional Planner in the State of New Jersey.