In 1739, some thirty-five years before the war of Independence, William Carter left in trust to the City of Philadelphia for “ye use and service of ye alms houses belonging to ye said City (Philadelphia), and for ye relief of ye poor people in the same forever.”
From 1739 until the 1860’s twenty-six more funds were left in trust to the City, these included several substantial funds established by Stephen Girard, James Wills Jr., Benjamin Franklin and Elias Boudinot. Funds left in trust to the City were administered by Select and Common Councils, Committees of either body, or through managers appointed by them.
The Board of Directors of City Trusts
This Board is appointed by and accountable for its actions to the Judges of the Courts of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. Membership consists of 12 citizens of Philadelphia, and the Mayor and the President of City Council, who serve Ex-Officio. They serve without compensation.
In addition to overseeing the administration of The Estate of Stephen Girard, Girard College and Wills Eye Health System, the Board of Directors of City Trusts is charged with the administration of approximately 117 other trusts left to the City of Philadelphia for charitable purposes. These are referred to as the “Sundry Trusts,” each maintained separately and administered according to the terms of the benefactor.