The Mayor's Fund for Philadelphia is an organization with an evolving history. It began as the Council for Progress in 1979 to assist the City of Philadelphia in the preparation, planning, and fundraising for its tricentennial celebration. This function was critical to the City, as at that time, Philadelphia did not have a single official dedicated to promoting the City though large scale special events. Once the tricentennial celebration had concluded, the Council continued promoting the City in coordination with the City Representative through various public events. By 1982 the Council filed for and became a 501(c)(3).

In 1984, under Mayor Wilson Goode, the City Representative became the chair of the Council for Progress and its name was changed to the Fund for Philadelphia.

In 2012, Mayor Michael Nutter refocused the Fund for Philadelphia as a vehicle for fundraising and facilitating public-private partnerships, in addition to event management. He named a new executive director and a new board, and, following their lead, changed the name to the Mayor's Fund for Philadelphia. Under Mayor Nutter the Fund formally established its mission to advance the Mayor’s priorities through leveraging public-private partnerships for the benefit of the people of Philadelphia.