William Penn Foundation Pursues Economic Equity with New Grants Supporting Immediate Relief for Workers, Journalism on Family-Sustaining Job Creation

William Penn Foundation Pursues Economic Equity with New Grants Supporting Immediate Relief for Workers, Journalism on Family-Sustaining Job Creation

Posted: Friday, July 10, 2020
Source: William Penn Foundation

William Penn Foundation (WPF) today announced two grants supporting immediate economic relief and future work opportunity in the region. While outside WPF’s core program areas, the grants advance the Board of Directors’ commitment to supporting Philadelphia’s COVID-19 recovery in ways that are racially, economically, and socially just.

A $200,000 grant to the Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund, a new cash assistance program, will provide urgently needed financial support to residents who were ineligible for federal or state relief programs – in many cases due to the nature of their immigration status or that of a family member. 

“Many of the families who would benefit most from an economic stimulus check were not included in government programs,” said Janet Haas, M.D., Board Chair of William Penn Foundation. “This targeted relief fund is integral to promoting a more inclusive financial relief effort for all working families in Philadelphia. William Penn Foundation is keen to support this; we know our city will begin to prosper only when everyone has opportunity to participate in the recovery.”

Additionally, a $500,000 grant to The Lenfest Institute for Journalism will support The Philadelphia Inquirer and partnering local publishers to produce solutions-based reporting on equitable economic recovery and job creation in the Philadelphia region.

“Relief is of utmost importance to families right now, but we must go further,” said Haas. “We look forward to learning from the Inquirer’s reporting about ways Philadelphia can transform its economy to create equitable access to family-sustaining jobs and economic opportunity for all Philadelphians.”

Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund

The Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund was created to provide emergency direct cash assistance to workers and families impacted by COVID-19 who were left out of all federal and state relief. Many of these residents are essential on the frontlines of the pandemic, including domestic workers, home health aides, and food service and delivery workers. The City is working with trusted community-based organizations to identify individuals/families in need within the communities they serve.

With over $1.7 million in philanthropic funding commitments as of July 8, including $750,000 from Open Society Foundations, the Fund seeks to raise a total of $3 million in order to provide a one-time direct cash payment to 3,570 families.

The Mayor’s Fund for the City of Philadelphia serves as the fiscal sponsor for the Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund. Learn more here.

“The Future of Work” Collaborative Reporting

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and The Philadelphia Inquirer launched “Philadelphia: The Future of Work,” an ambitious, yearlong multimedia project focused on the key challenges and opportunities the city faces as it attempts to create more family-sustaining jobs against the backdrop of both the devastating coronavirus pandemic and global protests against systemic racism. The Inquirer has hired journalist Ezequiel Minaya to lead the project as its editor.

The Inquirer and its partnering organizations will examine the root causes of inequality in workforce development, highlight evidence-based strategies that can lead to stronger quality job growth, and explore proposals for recovery by reporting on best practices from around the country. It will also use the convening power of its Opinion pages to create an open forum for discussion of the policy, political, and cultural changes these transformations will require. 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia had one of the slowest rates of job growth and the highest poverty rate among the largest cities in the United States. The jobs that are being created are disproportionately in low-wage sectors, which means too many working residents and residents of color are leaving the area to find greater opportunities or are stagnating in low-level jobs. Learn more about the new reporting project here.

For more information on WPF’s COVID-19 response, visit: https://williampennfoundation.org/covid-19-updates.


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 2020, the Foundation will grant more than $117 million to support vital efforts in the region.