Molly Frantz passed away on April 25 at age 75.
We are very sad to announce the passing of Molly Frantz, a co-founder of Bread & Roses who remained active and dedicated to the organization throughout her life. She was a wonderful person, extraordinarily independent and thoroughly committed to the issues of racial and economic justice at the heart of Bread & Roses.
Molly grew up in the western suburbs of Philadelphia and graduated from Rosemont College in 1964. She received a Master’s in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College in 1970.
In the early 1970s, Molly joined with a small group of people in Philadelphia who wanted to create an alternative to the United Way that would fund a new generation of groups focusing on racial and economic justice, anti-war efforts, and other community organizing work. They founded The People’s Fund in 1971 and became Bread & Roses Community Fund in 1977.
Molly Frantz (right) with Lenore Cooney at the first office of the People’s Fund at 13th and Sansom.
Molly’s impact at Bread & Roses is profound. Over the decades, she consistently pushed for a focus on racial and economic justice and a preference for funding new, small, community-based groups. She helped create Bread & Roses’ culture of consensus, encouraging people to work with one another to figure out how the organization would be shaped.
Molly enthusiastically served on committees and on the board of directors, showed up for events, and sustained her commitment for more than 40 years. She was also very supportive of each of the executive directors and she acted as an informal mentor to emerging leaders within the organization.
“Molly had a no nonsense demeanor and a generous heart,” says Casey Cook, executive director. “She always spoke her truth. She believed that a better, more just world was within reach. None of us would be at Bread & Roses without her.”
At a Tribute to Change event during the 1980s. From left to right, Steve Gold, Harvey Finkle, Molly Frantz, and Richard Baron.
Richard Baron, another co-founder of Bread & Roses, remembers Molly as “the nicest person most of us ever got to meet.” He recalls her as an “intelligent, practical, pleasant partner to the people she worked with, and always interested in what other people had to say, but very clear about her own opinions and ambitions.”
Molly spent her career advocating for patients’ rights within the mental and behavioral health systems. In her private life, she enjoyed spending time with her devoted friends and family, going to the theater, and traveling all over the world.
Molly Frantz in the early years of Bread & Roses
We invite you to share your remembrances of Molly in the comments section below — click on “Leave a reply.” We will be compiling these remembrances to share them with Molly’s family. Thank you for taking time to celebrate and honor Molly with us.