Philadelphia Futures executive director Joan Mazzotti (fifth from left) and participants. Photo via Philadelphia Futures.
The Philadelphia-based nonprofit Philadelphia Futures recently teamed up with local philanthropists to leverage $385,000 in donations from over 181 donors. The money will go towards the ongoing implementation of a strategic plan designed to grow the organization following its merger with White-Williams Scholars in 2011.
The Philadelphia-based nonprofit works with low-income and first-generation-to-college students to help them succeed in secondary education. This includes hands-on support as well financial resources.
Its core program, “Sponsor-A-Scholar,” provides guidance on academic, social and personal issues. It also connects students with sponsors who invest $7,500 in their college career, most of which goes towards books and other college-related expenses.
Philadelphia Futures funds this program, and many others, through a mix of donations from foundations, businesses, individuals and investment returns. Its revenue totaled nearly $3 million in fiscal year 2011-2012. But the funding picture changed drastically in 2013, when philanthropists John Langan and Judith Nadel donated $1 million. .
This alone would have made a significant impact, but Langan and Nadel agreed to put aside a portion of the donation to start a matching grant fund. This so-called Challenge Grant rose to $385,000 after philanthropist Dorrance H. Hamilton added $135,000 to the fund. (Hamilton, heiress of the Campbell Soup fortune, has donated to cultural and academic institutions across the city, many of which have taken her name.)
The goal of Challenge Grant was to find matching funds within 18 months. Philadelphia Futures announced last week that the goal was exceeded, noting that donations from the Lincoln Financial Foundation, The Oxholm Family Fund, and Mary and Robert Lawler were essential to reaching the goal.
“The generosity of our donors allowed us to enhance existing programs and launch and sustain new initiatives. As the School District of Philadelphia faces unprecedented budget cuts, our City’s students are seeing the limited resources in their schools reduced or eliminated. We are so grateful to our donors who are supporting our efforts to help ‘fill the gaps.’” said Joan C. Mazzotti, executive director of Philadelphia Futures, in a press release.
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