A Family History in Business
H. Chase Lenfest’s current business and philanthropic endeavors started to take shape with the formation of a privately held business over four decades ago. In 1974, Chase’s father and founder of Lenfest Communications, H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, purchased Suburban Cable from Walter Annenberg’s Triangle Publications. After significant growth in the cable industry, Gerry Lenfest sold 50 percent of Lenfest Communications to TeleCommunications Inc., which was subsequently acquired by AT&T.
In 2000, recognizing that valuations in the media and communications industry were at an all-time high, he sold Lenfest Communications to Comcast. With this transaction, a long time, privately held, illiquid business became a source of opportunity for the family, but also came with a tremendous amount of responsibility. Shortly after the sale, Chase started his Family Office to monitor his diversified holdings and support his many philanthropic interests.
Operating Companies and Investment Portfolio
Chase owns or holds interests in a diverse portfolio of companies operating in media, marketing, healthcare, technology, real estate, and private and public equity investments. Chase maintains his long-standing connection to the media industry through his company SocketLabs, a leading SaaS bulk email delivery service providing companies improved marketing capabilities. In 2015, he entered the healthcare market with the launch of Smile Exchange, a dental service organization providing high quality, affordable care, and Kleer, which supports dentists implementing their own dental care plans to meet their patients’ needs and grow their practice.
He also maintains a diversified portfolio of real estate holdings, which include Davenport Investments, LLC, a domestic real estate portfolio company, Lenfest Jamaica Investments, LLC, which holds properties in the Montego Bay area of Jamaica, Infinite Wealth, LLC, which invests in properties on the Florida Gulf Coast and Sailfish Real Estate Capital, LLC investing in properties along the East Coast. Chase also makes direct investments in growing private companies via Cramer Mountain Growth Partners and Dublin Capital Partners, LP.
Philanthropy and Community Vision
Chase’s multifaceted philanthropy is driven by a mission to improve the overall quality of life for urban and inner-city residents. To accomplish this mission, he started the H. Chase Lenfest Foundation in 2002.
In 2007, the foundation transformed an abandoned SEPTA repair station at 3890 North 10th Street into a model community gathering space. The 52,000 square-foot Lenfest Center was designed as a safe and welcoming community-focused hub offering year-round recreational, educational, and other resources for neighborhood children and adults to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. The “Lenfest,” as it is affectionately known, became the first step in a comprehensive campaign to revitalize the Hunting Park-East Tioga section of North Philadelphia, just east of Broad Street.
In 2018, to deepen and expand the Center’s impact into the neighborhood it serves, North10, Philadelphia was established as its parent organization. Headquartered at the Lenfest Center, the 501(c)(3) private operating foundation derives its name from the Center’s North 10th Street address. Since then, North10, Philadelphia has been working to enable Hunting Park-East Tioga neighbors to live happy, healthy, and civically engaged lives. The organization collaborates with community partners to facilitate strategic, resident-driven revitalization and service initiatives that foster economic growth, increase housing options, enhance learning opportunities, and promote wellness.
Chase looks forward to continuing to build on more than a decade of investing in structured and innovative enrichment and athletic programming for community youth at the Lenfest Center as he works to expand his impact to develop and implement a “place-based” community change strategy.
The Lenfest Center’s robust athletics department uses sport as a vehicle to facilitate the improvement of physical, social, emotional, and life skill development. It proudly operates one of Philadelphia’s two SquashSmarts locations, owing to Chase’s love of the game which he has played competitively since he was 10. SquashSmarts combines the sport of squash with academic tutoring and mentoring of underserved, urban youth to foster self-esteem and discipline through academic, athletic, and personal achievement. Chase served on the Board of Directors of SquashSmarts, Inc. from 2000 to 2002 and has served on their Advisory Board since 2002. Whenever he can, he teaches the sport at the Center.
Through his foundation and personally, Chase has provided stable funding to other Philadelphia-based organizations whose missions align with his own. These organizations include Philadelphia Outward Bound, The Joe Hand Boxing Gym, The Gesu School, Dream Camp, and PAL Scholarship Foundation. Chase is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Police Athletic League (PAL).
He grew up in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in economics.