Leading up to its annual gala, the millennial-led Spruce Foundation has named its 2015 grantees. Organizations supporting Philadelphia youth in each of Spruce’s four focus areas — education, health & wellness, arts and LGBTQ issues — will receive a $5,000 grant, publicity, and access to Spruce’s network of engaged millennials.
“With the selection of these four organizations, Spruce continues its tradition of seeding innovation by funding emerging programs that are creative and thoughtful about the ways in which they support the city’s youth,” said Matt Kurilla, the president of the Spruce Foundation, in a statement.
Organizations with annual budgets of more than $300,000 receive programmatic support; those with budgets less than or equal to $300,000 are awarded general operating support.
Temple University-based University Community Collaborative will use the funds to support its award-winning youth-led news program, POPPYN (Presenting Our Perspective on Philly Youth News).
Produced four times a year, each episode of POPPYN is issue-driven, and in the past, high school and college-aged participants have explored college access, teen homelessness, and youth and the criminal justice system, among other topics.
Barbara Ferman, who directs University Community Collaborative, said that the idea for POPPYN came from the youth themselves, who were upset by the portrayal of young people of color in the mainstream media.
Established in 2011, the goal of POPPYN is to “start a larger conversation about the issues that are covered and provide resources that young people can access,” she said.
Another 2015 grantee, Katie At The Bat, will receive a $5,000 general operating grant to support its comprehensive sports-based programs, which are combined with tutoring, mentoring and leadership development. Katie At The Bat reaches 150 youth a year, most of whom are girls.
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“We’re not serving thousands of kids every year, but we stay with them year after year,” said Marian Fischer Pearlman, the executive director of Katie At The Bat. “An important part of our mission is to provide long-term mentoring.”
The nonprofit works primarily with youth from West Philadelphia neighborhoods. It also operates Sports for Juvenile Justice, a program that draws the participation of adjudicated teenagers citywide.
“We’re not there to change or correct [the teens], but to affirm the things they want to work on inside themselves and have fun,” Fischer Pearlman said.
In May, Katie At The Bat has plans to change its organizational name to Team Up Philly, a move that will better reflect its mission and work, according to Fischer Pearlman.
The Spruce Foundation will present the four grantees at its gala on April 24.
Image via Katie At The Bat-30-
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