PCDC Awarded $1.2 Million in Cy Pres Funds by the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court
April 24, 2019
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) was awarded $1,230,000 by the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court on April 16, 2019. In an opinion and decree distributing the remaining funds from the dissolution of the former Chinatown Building and Education Foundation (CBEF), the Court found that PCDC is the charity that fulfills the closest charitable intent behind the creation of the CBEF. “Whenever a charitable nonprofit ceases operations, its assets must be given to another charity with a similar charitable purpose pursuant to the cy pres doctrine.”
The Court concluded that PCDC provides services in “the same charitable territory as CBEF, continuing its charitable mission as envisioned by its founder Mr. Chang.” PCDC “promotes camaraderie among Chinatown’s residents while simultaneously improving their lives in more tangible ways.”
CBEF is a defunct nonprofit that was created and overseen by Tien Teh Chang, now deceased. CBEF’s primary asset was a building in Chinatown known as the Chinese Cultural and Community Center. The building at 125 North 10th Street is historically certified and has a traditional mandarin-style facade. Social services and cultural programming were provided in the building until 2007. After Mr. Chang’s passing, the building became vacant and fell into disrepair. In 2016, Scioli Turco, Inc. became conservator of the building and remediated the blight under Court supervision. Scioli Turco then was named as Trustee to sell the building and petition to distribute the remaining funds (approximately $1.3 million) consistent with the law of cy pres.
John Chin, PCDC Executive Director, said, “PCDC is greatly honored that the Court recognized PCDC’s capability to carry on the proud tradition of CBEF and entrusted us to continue our efforts to preserve, protect, and promote Chinatown as a viable ethnic residential and business community. PCDC is committed to using these funds to maintain, expand, and create programs based in Chinatown for the benefit of Chinatown’s residents, businesses and visitors.”
Edward J. Sholinsky of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, which represented PCDC in this case, said, “Cy pres decisions present courts with the challenge of determining how to best fulfill the charitable purposes of nonprofit organizations and meet the needs of communities affected by these decisions.”
“It was a privilege to represent PCDC and help this highly regarded organization continue its important work within Chinatown,” said Stephenie W. Yeung of Schnader.
The Orphans’ Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia held a two-day trial to determine the best way to distribute the cy pres funds. The trial took place in December 2018 and in February 2019.
The Court also awarded a portion of the cy pres funds to the Philadelphia Chinese Opera Society to provide programming and services within Chinatown.
Edward Sholinsky, Stephenie Yeung, and Ralph Wellington of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP represented PCDC at the trial. Schnader is a full-service law firm of 160 attorneys with offices in Pennsylvania, New York, California, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Delaware, and an affiliation with a law firm in Jakarta.
Judy Berkman of Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS) also represented PCDC as Intervenor in the conservatorship case and the Orphans’ Court case. RHLS is a nonprofit law firm with unique expertise in affordable, sustainable housing and its related components – community and economic development, utility matters, and preservation of home ownership. RHLS provides innovative project and policy solutions that help create sustainable communities offering decent, safe and affordable housing for lower-income Pennsylvanians.
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, community based organization and was founded in 1966 to preserve, protect, and promote Chinatown as a viable ethnic residential and business community.
Communications & Public Relations Manager
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP
For further information at PCDC forward inquiries to:
Ms. Yue Wu
Community & Preservationist Planner