The application period has closed. Applicants will be notified on or before August 13, 2021. Thank you for your interest.


The Racial Equity Grant Fund is a pilot initiative of the William Penn Foundation, designed with an explicit racial equity lens and a commitment to sharing grantmaking power with the community. This Fund represents an important learning opportunity for the Foundation as it explores more equitable grantmaking approaches and practices.

Unrestricted operating grants of up to $40,000 over two years are available. Approximately 10-15 organizations will receive funding to help grow or sustain their impact in communities.

The deadline to apply is June 25, 2021. An informational webinar was held on June 9, and the recording is available to view here.

Purpose of this Fund:

  • Support organizations led by and primarily serving people of color.
  • Support the growth and/or sustainability of small organizations.
  • Support organizations working with Philadelphia children and families in at least one of the following areas:
    • Kindergarten readiness
    • Third grade reading proficiency
    • High school graduation
  • Share grantmaking power with community members. A six-member Community Review Committee (CRC) has helped us shape the criteria, application, and scoring rubric. The CRC will review proposals and select grantees.
  • Build new relationships with organizations whose work aligns with the priorities of our Great Learning program.


Organizational Criteria for Funding:

  • Led by and primarily serving people of color.
  • Experience improving kindergarten readiness, third grade reading proficiency, and/or high school graduation.
  • Primarily serve Philadelphia residents.
  • Have been in existence for at least two years.
  • Annual budgets under $400,000.
  • Legal status as a 501c(3) public charity or fiscal sponsor that qualifies as a 501c(3) public charity.
  • The following organizations are not eligible for this opportunity:
    • Individual early learning centers, public schools, charter schools, colleges and universities, city government agencies, and/or home visiting programs.
    • Organizations that have received William Penn Foundation funding within the past 12 months.
  • The following types of grant requests are not eligible:
    • Work with primary impact outside of the city of Philadelphia.
    • Political lobbying or legislative activities.
    • Student aid or individual scholarships.
    • Health research or health education programs.
    • Purchases or activities that occur prior to grant decisions.
    • Large capital projects.
    • Debt retirement or budget deficits.
    • Annual campaigns, fundraising campaigns or events.


How to Apply:

  1. Review the application questions in the Word document here
  2. Once you are ready to upload your responses, complete an online application in our Grantee Portal here. Please refer to this guide for tips about how to submit through our Grantee Portal.
  3. If you have any issues applying online, please email for assistance. If an issue cannot be resolved quickly, you can submit your responses to the application questions via email to
  4. The deadline to apply is 11.59 p.m. on Friday, June 25, 2021.
  5. An informational webinar was held on June 9, and the recording is available to view here.
  6. If you have any questions, we are happy to respond by email or talk with you by phone or Zoom. Email to request a meeting with a member of our Great Learning team to ask questions or learn more about eligibility for this fund.



Selection Process:

Each application will be reviewed by our Community Review Committee (CRC) composed of individuals who work in education, family engagement, and community organizing in Philadelphia:

  • Unis Bey, CEO/Executive Director, Grays Ferry Early Learning Academy
  • Nigel Charles, Director of Donor Organizing, Bread & Roses Community Fund
  • Ivonne Pinto-Garcia, Community Organizer, Volunteer, Puentes de Salud
  • Richard Gordon IV, Principal, Paul Robeson High School for Human Services, School District of Philadelphia
  • Ed Nakawatase, Board Member, Asian Americans United
  • Jacquelyn Robinson, Early Learning Specialist, ParentChild+


The CRC will use a rubric to score applications, giving a rating from 1 to 4 in each of the following categories:

  • How connected is the organization to the needs of the community it intends to serve?
  • Does the organization understand the education needs of the community?
  • Is the organization likely to impact the community it serves?
  • Does the organization have a history of implementing successful programs and/or initiatives?
  • Does the organization explain its plans to continue its work beyond the grant period?
  • Is there an effective plan for implementation, including qualified staff and needed resources?


Contact Us:

Please email with any questions about eligibility or how to apply. We will get back to you as soon as possible.