Mission Statement

The mission of The Merchants Fund is to provide financial assistance to current merchants in Philadelphia.

TMF is a private foundation under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS statute. The Fund distributes 5% of its assets annually. It is governed by a board of managers of up to 18 people.


  • TMF makes grants to companies and their owners.  We improve the local economy, create and retain jobs, support energy-saving strategies, nurture companies that take leadership roles, maintain family ownership through generational changes, improve or create revenue streams, and empower referring partners to realize their goals.
  • The Merchants Fund makes small grants to small business in the City of Philadelphia.  Grants are intended to either make money, save money or change the way a company does business.  Need is a driving factor in the selection process.  Grants are made for projects, not working capital.
  • The Merchants Fund is committed to providing for the economic needs of the merchant community.  Our portfolio of grantees looks like our city.  Every company serves a different purpose in the ecosystem of small business.

Brief History

The Merchants Fund is a Philadelphia charity established in 1854 to provide charitable gifts to business persons facing financial hardship. It evolved from the Mercantile Beneficial Association, an organization dedicated to providing business advice, networking opportunities, and protection from financial failure or default due to illness, old age, or disability at a time in our nation’s history when there was no health or disability insurance, or pension plans.

The Merchants Fund has succeeded for nearly 150 years by keeping the goals and objectives of its early founders in a constantly changing social and economic environment.