Representatives from a range of nonprofits that serve youth gathered at Pierce College yesterday, December 10, to meet with funders at Councilman David Oh’s 2nd Annual Nonprofit Youth Symposium.
“We put this together as a way to supplement funds but also to orient people and teach them how to apply to certain foundations,” Oh said.
The morning started with Debra Kahn, executive director of the Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, asking representatives from corporations and foundations what they see as the most pressing needs of our youth.
Across the board, the most frequent answer was education. However, each foundation had different ways of addressing the issue. For example, June O’Neill, manager of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, mentioned that they focus on supporting arts and culture by awarding general, unrestricted operating funds.
“We really strongly believe that in order to have a balanced human being, that you have to develop all parts of their brain,” O’Neil said. “It’s so important to develop their creative side.”
Tiffany Tavarez, corporate contributions manager at PECO, said she sees two main trends in issues facing youth and education today.
“One is developing a pipeline of students that can essentially take over the jobs that our city and our regions need,” Tavarez said. “The second huge trend and challenge that we see is if a student is unhealthy, if a student is not stimulated and they don’t feel safe, they cannot learn, no matter how much money we put into our educational programs.”
The second question Kahn asked panelists to cover some of best things organizations can do when looking for funding as well as some of the worst things organizations can do.
“Be really clear about what you do and what you do well,” said Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose of the Department of Humane Services. “Those agencies who know what they do and what they do well and can articulate that and use data to support their efforts and show positive outcomes for kids and families…”
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Another frequently brought up point was to build relationships with funders.
“Take the opportunity, send an e-mail, pick up the phone–do your research to see who those [funders] are and have a conversation with them,” said Dwayne Redd, a community field specialist at State Farm. “That ten minute conversation may lend you an opportunity to move forward or just to learn more as to what may else be available.”
Image via David Oh’s Facebook page.-30-
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