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About Us









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Marsha I. Cohen, Executive Director


With 25+ years’ experience in leadership, management and strategic growth in the nonprofit sector, Marsha is proud to serve as the executive director of the van Ameringen Foundation which she joined in August 2022.

From 1997 – 2020, Marsha served as executive director of Philadelphia’s Homeless Advocacy Project’s (HAP), significantly growing the size and scope of the agency, and placing HAP on the map as a national model for delivering pro bono legal aid. During Marsha’s tenure, HAP provided free legal services to 55,000 men, women and children experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia.

A lawyer by trade, Marsha's efforts to advocate for the needs of Philadelphia's homeless population with city officials and policymakers resulted in numerous advocacy gains. In 2017, HAP successfully sued New York City in HAP v. NYC, a lawsuit brought in federal district court forcing New York City to modify its procedures for issuing birth certificates. Marsha also successfully lobbied Pennsylvania to create fee waivers for individuals experiencing homelessness to obtain free birth certificates (2019) and free state-issued photo ID (2020). Over two decades at HAP, Marsha personally represented over 200 families seeking emergency shelter in Philadelphia. 

Marsha received her BA from Wesleyan University and her JD from the George Washington University School of Law. Marsha lives in the West Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia with her husband Peter, their two college-age sons and their elderly miniature dachshund, Chloe.     

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