The Susquehanna Foundation is the corporate foundation of Susquehanna International Group, an options-trading company located in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. The foundation supports libertarian causes and school reform in Philadelphia.
Two of Susquehanna’s partners, Arthur Dantchik and Jeffrey Yass, also give through the Claws Foundation. Much of Susquehanna’s grantmaking reflects the philanthropic priorities of Janine Yass, the wife of Susquehanna International director Jeffrey Yass and a supporter of charter schools and other approaches to increase parent and student choice in K-12 education.
Much of Susquehanna’s grantmaking reflects the philanthropic priorities of Janine Yass, wife of Susquehanna International director Jeffrey Yass. Janine Yass has sat as vice chair of the Center for Education Reform and currently is an emeritus member of the center’s board. 1 Yass wrote a 2017 opinion piece for the Washington Examiner supporting Trump administration Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s efforts at school choice: “If you judge from the tens of thousands of families on waiting lists for charter schools and for scholarships in private schools it is apparent that poor families are desperate for someone who will fight for them for a change.” 2
Boys’ Latin Charter School
In 2007, Janine Yass founded the Boys’ Latin Charter School in Philadelphia, modeled after Boston Latin School. The application was delayed for a year because the American Civil Liberties Union and the Women’s Law Center objected to the creation of a single-sex charter school. 3
In 2011, Boys’ Latin graduated its first senior class; all Boys’ Latin seniors were graduated, while 40 percent of Black students in Philadelphia did not graduate high school in that year. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the school had “a rowing team, a jazz band, a mock-trial club, a rock band called the Demerits, fencing, soccer, Web design, and a drama program.” Half of the seniors had been accepted to college, and these students had received $800,000 in college scholarship money. 4
By 2017, two Boys’ Latin students had perfect scores on the National Latin Exam, 60 percent were recognized for achievement for their Latin test scores and 20 percent for outstanding achievement. “I invite anyone who doubts what this does for our students to come to a graduation and watch 100 black boys sharply dressed in caps and gowns and proudly reciting their school pledge in Latin,” Boys’ Latin CEO David Hardy told the Wall Street Journal. “It defies the low expectations society puts on young black men.” 5
Philadelphia Schools Partnership
The Susquehanna Foundation’s largest grant in 2019 was $3.3 million to the Philadelphia Schools Partnership, an organization founded in 2010 that supports public, charter, and Catholic schools in Philadelphia. 6 In addition, Jeffrey and Janine Yass have personally donated over $5 million to the partnership. Other donors of over $5 million include the Maguire, Walton Family, and William Penn Foundations. Donors of between $1 million and $5 million include the Hilda and Preston Davis, Dell, Gates, Patricia Kind Family, McCausland, and Wisner Foundations, the City Fund, and the Otto Haas Charitable Trust. 7
In 2017 the partnership announced that it had donated $80 million to 49 Philadelphia schools that served 25,000 students and launched a capital campaign to raise an additional $60 million to serve an additional 15,000 students. 8
The partnership supports school reform efforts beyond its grantmaking. In 2013, the partnership, collaborating with the Gates Foundation, funded a paper by the National Council on Teacher Quality that said Philadelphia teachers had a too-short workday, received extra pay for advanced degrees that had no effect on how they performed in the classroom, and paid too little for health care, since health insurance in Philadelphia was free for teachers. 9 Also in 2013, the partnership called for eliminating seniority in hiring and firing decisions, a move Philadelphia Union of Teachers lawyer Ralph J. Teti called “a legal atomic bomb.” 10
In 2018 the partnership, with a grant from the Arnold Foundation, created applyphillyschools.org, allowing parents to apply to all the city’s charters with a single application. 11
The Susquehanna Foundation’s second-largest grant in 2019 was $1.2 million to the Mastery Charter Schools Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with 24 charter schools in Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey. 12
The foundation also donated $500,000 to the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm. Susquehanna’s president, Arthur Dantchik, is a member of the Institute for Justice board. 13
The foundation made one other six-figure grant in 2019: $250,000 to the Papanicolaou Corps for Cancer Research. 14
- Center for Education Reform—People https://edreform.com/people/janine-yass/ accessed December 23, 2020)
- Janine Yass, “DeVos Isn’t Opposed To Public Education, She Opposes Failing Schools,” Washington Examiner, February 6, 2017.
- Deborah M. Todd, “Board To Review Charter Application Second Time,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 5, 2009.
- Kia Gregory, “Keeping Standards High,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 27, 2011.
- William McGurn, “Black Men Speaking Latin,” Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2017.
- Susquehanna Foundation 2019 Form 990.
- Philadelphia School Partnership, “Our Investors,” https://philaschoolpartnership.org/who-we-are/our-investors/ (accessed December 23, 2020),
- Kristen A. Graham, “PSP Plans To Raise $60M More For Schools,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 8, 2017.
- Kristen A. Graham, “Study Critical Of Teacher Policies,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 22, 2013.
- Martha Woodall, “Attacks on teacher Seniority Planned,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 30, 2013,
- Maddie Hanna, “Unified Application Is Urged,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 15, 2018.
- Mastery Schools, https://masterycharter.org/ (accessed December 23, 2020)
- Institute for Justice Board of Directors, https://ij.org/about-us/board-of-directors/ (accessed December 23, 2020)
- Susquehanna Foundation 2019 Form 990.