Bernard Smalley Sr. named first Black President of The Board of Directors of City Trusts


The Board of Directors of City Trusts, the agency charged with overseeing charitable trusts bequeathed to the city of Philadelphia, on Wednesday unanimously elected prominent city attorney Bernard W. Smalley Sr. as its president — the first African American ever to lead the board in its 151-year history.

Smalley will lead a Board that administers 119 public charitable trusts, including Girard College, the historic boarding school in North Philadelphia; Wills Eye Hospital, consistently ranked as one of the top eye hospitals in the nation; the John Scott Award, which is bestowed annually in honor of Benjamin Franklin to honor singular achievements in science and medicine; and a series of other trusts dedicated to improving conditions on the Delaware waterfront and providing financial support for thousands of Philadelphians in need.

Smalley, who has served as the board’s vice president and chair of the Girard College Committee since 2012, succeeds the late Ronald M. Donatucci, who died on Nov 3. Smalley will chair his first meeting of the Board on Wednesday.

“I am honored to serve as president of the Board of Directors of City Trusts,” said Smalley, who has served on the Board since 2001. “Ron Donatucci was a tremendous leader who will be long remembered for his many achievements, particularly on behalf of Wills Eye Hospital and Girard College.

“The Board is uniquely positioned to change lives for the better, and I look forward to working in partnership with my fellow Board members to expand our ability to serve people from all walks of life in Philadelphia.”

“Bernie Smalley is a good man and a great Philadelphian, and on behalf of the entire city, I congratulate him on his unanimous election as the first African American to lead the Board of City Trusts,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, who serves ex officio as a member of the Board, together with City Council President Darrell Clarke and 12 other members appointed by the Board of Judges. “He and I worked together on the Octavius Catto monument project at City Hall several years ago, and I look forward to working with him and the entire Board in the effort to improve the lives of our fellow citizens.”

“It’s fitting that Bernie Smalley is the first Black president of the Board of City Trusts,” said City Council president Darrell L. Clarke. “He is a decent man who cares about our city, and in particular, the people who most need our help and can obtain that assistance through the Board of City Trusts. Philadelphia’s needs are urgent — too many people living in poverty, not enough jobs, not enough hope. The generosity of this organization matters, and I’m confident that Bernie Smalley is the right person at the right time to lead the board.”

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