Our Founders

In 2006, John and Chara Haas established the Stoneleigh Foundation as the latest chapter in their lifelong commitment to philanthropy.

While their humanitarian interests were far reaching, John and Chara always maintained a particular interest in helping young people grow up healthy, well-educated, and safe. In establishing the Stoneleigh Foundation, they made a continuing commitment to one of their strongest interests: improving the life outcomes of our community’s youth.

John Haas credited his parents as the source of his strong commitment to the “family values of integrity and respect for the individual, as well as a sense of fairness, including the opposition to inequity and discrimination against the less fortunate.” Chara, he said, had a tremendous influence on his lifetime development and first introduced the idea of devoting their personal estate to helping children and families in Philadelphia.

The Stoneleigh Foundation is named for the Haas’ family home in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

John & Chara Haas - Stoneleigh Founders

John & Chara Haas

John C. Haas was born in Haverford, Pennsylvania in 1918. After graduating from Episcopal Academy, John earned his AB degree from Amherst College and a MS degree in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He began his career at the Rohm and Haas Company in 1942. Shortly thereafter, he was called to active duty as a US Naval Officer during World War II. John returned to Rohm and Haas in 1946 and spent his career with the company, retiring from the board in 1988. He maintained his interest in chemistry and chemical engineering through his memberships in the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Chara A. Cooper, one of seven children, was born in Bryn Athyn, PA in 1927. Growing up, she worked at the Glencairn Estate in Bryn Athyn and at her family’s jewelry store in Philadelphia. Chara had a deep appreciation for nature and music and a passion for helping children and youth. She volunteered with many organizations and was considered one of the founders of the Pathway School in Norristown, PA, where she served as chair of the board.

In 1952, John married Chara and together they had five children. They lived in the Philadelphia area and generously supported many charitable causes. John passed away on April 2, 2011 and Chara passed away on August 15, 2012.

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