Philip Lindy, one of Drexel University’s most prominent benefactors, died June 29 at the age of 83. Lindy was a vibrant and engaging philanthropist who worked tirelessly for the improvement of disadvantaged youth.
“His passing is a huge blow to Drexel,” President John A. Fry said. “I have never met anyone else who was so incredibly trusting. The man was just a big giver, and I really can’t say enough good about him. It feels like we’ve lost a grandfather.”
In 2008, Lindy approached Drexel’s Center for Civic Engagement to discuss practical strategies to combat poverty in West Philadelphia. After talks with directors and staff at the Center for Civic Engagement, the Philip B. Lindy Inner-City Public School Program was soon established as a tutoring program for middle school students throughout the area.
The name was later shortened to the Lindy Scholars program, and it accepts all Drexel students from a multidisciplinary range of majors to work as volunteers. These scholars tutor and mentor students in grades 6-8 for one or more academic terms. The student recipients originate from three West Philadelphia middle schools and commit to after-school and weekend sessions with the Drexel volunteers.
Lindy donated $15 million to CCE in 2011, cementing his ties with the University and its civic engagement policies. CCE changed its name to the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement to honor his generosity. In 2012 Lindy was awarded the Joseph Jacovini Outstanding Service Award, the highest tribute that Drexel bestows upon non-alumni.
Lindy was also an active member of the Jewish community in Philadelphia. He served on the board of the American Jewish Committee, was a member of the board of trustees of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and was a founding member of Temple University’s Center for American Jewish History.
In an email statement, Jennifer Kebea, interim director of the Lindy Center, remembered Lindy with fondness.
“Phil was so much more than a philanthropist. He was actively engaged in all aspects of the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement’s work. … Days before he fell ill, Phil was on campus for multiple end-of-year events, shared a meal with a group of Drexel Community Scholars, and had one final breakfast meeting with me at his favorite meeting spot — Cosi on 15th and Locust [streets]. I speak for everyone in the Lindy Center when I convey my absolute heartbreak over Phil’s passing. His generosity, kindness and general zeal for life will certainly live on as we strive to fulfill his legacy here at Drexel University.”
Lindy was born in Philadelphia in 1930. He graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. After spending time in the Navy, he founded a company called Lindy Property Management. The business builds and manages residential complexes in the Philadelphia area.
With the success of his company firmly established, Lindy was able to focus on his other passion of urban social development. Lindy wrote his graduate thesis on public housing and was fully aware of the lack of educational resources that raises challenges for many Philadelphia residents, leading to his development of the Lindy Center.
Lindy is survived by his three children and eight grandchildren.