14 Philadelphia Nonprofits Awarded Funding Through William Penn Foundation Racial Equity Grant Fund

Great Learning

14 Philadelphia Nonprofits Awarded Funding Through William Penn Foundation Racial Equity Grant Fund

Posted: Monday, October 4, 2021
Source: William Penn Foundation

Panel of community members awards $415,000 on behalf of the Foundation

PHILADELPHIA, October 4, 2021 – William Penn Foundation today announced 14 organizations that will receive grants from its Racial Equity Grant Fund, primarily supporting small, education-focused organizations led by, and serving, people of color. The fund has awarded unrestricted operating grants of $20,000 and $35,000 to help organizations grow or sustain their impact in communities. All of the organizations are helping to advance at least one of three goals in Philadelphia: strengthening kindergarten readiness, building early reading proficiency, or increasing rates of high school graduation.

The William Penn Foundation designed the Racial Equity Grant Fund with an explicit racial equity lens and a commitment to sharing decision-making power. A Community Review Committee composed of six individuals who work in education, family engagement, and community organizing in Philadelphia helped shape the application and selection criteria. The committee reviewed applications and selected grantees, awarding a total of $415,000. Grants were awarded through a competitive process, with 40 organizations applying. Nonprofit organizations at least two years old and with annual budgets under $400,000 were eligible to apply.

“I am proud to be part of the effort to fund this strong group of organizations working to support Philadelphia students and families,” said Unis Bey, CEO/Executive Director of Grays Ferry Early Learning Academy and a member of the Community Review Committee. “This was a wonderful opportunity to work with other community leaders, shape the grantmaking process, and to direct funding to organizations with close community ties.”

All 14 organizations awarded through the Racial Equity Grant Fund this year are new grantees of the William Penn Foundation. The fund represents an investment in the community and an important learning opportunity for the Foundation as it explores more equitable grantmaking approaches and practices.

The grantee organizations will participate in a learning network facilitated by Grovider, a local knowledge management consulting firm. Grounded in the communities of practice model, the learning network will provide a forum for organizations to share expertise, resources, and strategies. Grovider will also document the learning from this pilot effort to inform the design of the learning network and future work at the Foundation.

“The expertise of people of color and the organizations they lead are essential to addressing racial, social, and economic injustices,” said Janet Haas, M.D., Board Chair of the William Penn Foundation. “This fund has been a learning opportunity as we seek to increase the equity of our grantmaking practices. We are excited to work with and learn from new grantee organizations that provide Philadelphia families and students with opportunities to learn and thrive.”

The following organization received a grant for work strengthening kindergarten readiness:

  • Education Institute for Early Intervention (EIEI) Inc. is a licensed, non-profit program for adults seeking entry into careers in special education in educational and community settings.  EIEI is an award-winning provider serving in partnership with CareerLink, Elwyn, and Public Health Management Corporation and others in the successful integration of youth with special needs into mainstream communities.

The following organizations received grants for work building early reading proficiency:

  • Educational Advocates Reaching Today’s Hardworking Students (EARTHS) works to ensure that Philadelphia students, with the help of concerned adults, have the basic skills needed to be successful in a career or in a post-secondary educational institution. The organization seeks to foster active family and community engagement in children’s education, health, safety, and communication by creating parent and community leaders.
  • West Philadelphia Alliance for Children seeks to promote childhood literacy and the joy of reading by engaging volunteers in Philadelphia public elementary schools through re-opening and staffing libraries. The organization’s vision is for every Philadelphia student to be empowered with the literacy skills vital to their success and the prosperity of their community.

The following organizations received grants for work building early reading proficiency and supporting students on the path to high school graduation:

  • Centro Nueva Creacion promotes resiliency in young people through educational enrichment and engagement with the arts and Latino cultures. The organization seeks to build hope by providing opportunities for children and their families to transform their community through child-centric, holistic afterschool and summer programs in the arts, culture, literacy, wellness, and technology.
  • We Reign Inc. seeks to create safe-brave spaces where young people who identify as Black and girl are visible. A place where their strengths, needs, voices, and stories are centered as they define themselves, practice living unapologetically, and develop the skills needed to become change agents in their own lives and communities.

The following organizations received grants for work supporting students on the path to high school graduation:

  • B4 Youth Theatre empowers young people to become leaders in the creative economy through education and business as key components of civic development.
  • beGirl.world equips Black teenage girls with the tools and confidence to travel the world, challenging girls to think beyond their neighborhood, dream bigger than their city limits, and create possibilities outside their country borders as global citizens.
  • Brighter Horizon supports high school students in becoming the first in their family to pursue a four-year college Bachelor degree or a three-year degree in the trades. With a focus on academic achievement, mentoring, and financial need, the organization seeks to open opportunities for underserved youth to whom a four-year degree would otherwise be inaccessible; and to do so without incurring college debt.
  • Inspiring Minds Greater Philadelphia seeks to inspire youth to discover their passions and equip them with the tools needed to pursue their goals, focusing on five areas of impact: Education; College & Career Readiness; Exposure to New Experiences; Health & Wellness; and Personal Development.
  • Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable seeks to strengthen a community of college access and success practitioners who help students navigate the path to and through higher education, providing tools, resources, and opportunities for discourse; support leadership development in the field; and seek to bridge the gap between policy, research and practice in the area of college access and completion.
  • The Evoluer House delivers evidence-based empowerment programs that help Philadelphia girls aged 13 to 18 to envision a future devoid of disadvantages and filled with possibilities. The organization’s mission is to help produce strong female leadership in the workforce and in society by investing in young women and girls and their collective well-being and power.
  • The Healthy Caregiver Community Foundation is the sponsor of “Women Veterans ROCK” and is dedicated to “Building Better Communities” by improving lives in underserved communities, including Women & Girls in Military Families. The Women Veterans ROCK “STEM Civic Leadership Institute for JROTC Cadet Girls” serves in partnership with The School District of Philadelphia in preparing JROTC Cadets for Civic Engagement, Community Leadership and Public Service, which serves and benefits the common good of all communities. 
  • UrbEd advocates for fully-funded, safe, and healthy public schools. As an organization led by those who are and have been most affected by the issues facing urban public schools, UrbEd seeks to channel student power into direct action, fighting for the education students deserve.
  • We Love Philly seeks to empower students with positive community experiences and essential professional skills through mindfulness, volunteerism, entrepreneurship, ownership, and content creation. The organization teaches students how to navigate complex emotional stressors, equips them with essential life skills, arranges volunteer experiences to promote community, connects students with local entrepreneurs and business owners to gain expertise, and helps students to create their own brand.



About William Penn Foundation            

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. In 2021, the Foundation will grant more than $117 million to support vital efforts in the region. www.williampennfoundation.org