Dec. 6, 2018 12:50 pm

Money Moves: Benefits Data Trust, Esperanza and 8 more Philly orgs just earned $1.78M

Plus, in the second edition of the column keeping tabs on philanthropic and corporate giving: Local Lyft riders donated a quarter-mil to causes through the app’s Round Up & Donate program.

Benefits Data Trust's call center.

(Courtesy photo via Philly)

Money Moves is a semi-regular column tracking grants made by local funders, including foundations, giving circles, trusts and corporate entities. Send notices to

1. Benefits Data Trust’s BenePhilly program received $1 million to aid healthcare, housing and food access across Philadelphia.

From more than 1,800 applicants spanning all 50 states, D.C., and four U.S. territories, The Rockefeller Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative selected Center City-based human services nonprofit Benefits Data Trust to receive a $1 million grant.

Funds will benefit BDT’s 10-year-old BenePhilly program, a poverty-smashing initiative that helps Philadelphians access affordable healthcare, housing and food by enrolling eligible people in public programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The grant is part of the Communities Thrive Challenge (CTC), a $10 million project to increase economic opportunities for people experiencing financial insecurity spurred by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

BDT is one of 10 grantees — operating in nine other states and Puerto Rico — selected from a peer review process that evaluated the org’s impact, leadership, community involvement and potential for large-scale reach.

“Over the past 10 years, BDT and our BenePhilly partners have enrolled over 110,000 low-income Philadelphians in benefits that help pay for groceries, health care, housing, utilities and childcare,” said Ginger Zielinskie, BDT’s president and CEO, in a statement.  “Being named as a grantee in the Communities Thrive Challenge is a tremendous opportunity and next step in our larger vision to bring $1 billion in benefits to Philadelphia over the next decade.”

The Enterprise Center’s Minority Small Business Growth Capital program in West Philadelphia was also a CTC finalist, for which it received $5,000.

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2. The Wells Fargo Regional Foundation is helping Hispanic community nonprofit Esperanza spruce up Hunting Park.

Esperanza’s Housing and Economic Development division received a scale-tipping $450,000 renewal grant from Wells Fargo last week. The money will help support resident-driven community development projects and initiatives in Hunting Park, in addition to beautifying the North Philadelphia area. The grant builds on previous 2012 funding and will help Esperanza complete its Hunting Park 2022 Plan, a long-term neighborhood development project created in collaboration with community members.

“Wells Fargo continues to show up for us when we need them,” said Tina Barber, Esperanza’s VP of development. “Their commitment to Hunting Park and its neighborhood plan has helped us leverage increased support for the Latino community.”

3. These Eagles freed nine from behind bars while supporting literacy programs and the Police Athletic League.

In between crushing the Washington Redskins and helping Philly gain national acclaim as GQ magazine’s “City of the Year,” the Philadelphia Eagles recently made a huge philanthropic splash off the field. The launched-this-year Eagles Social Justice Fund distributed $190,000 in grants to local nonprofits. (Players donate to the fund and their contributions are matched by the team.)

The day before Thanksgiving, $50,000 given to the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund bailed nine Philadelphians out of jail in time to spend the holidays with loved ones.

Another $50,000 will help the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia build its 20th rec center, and the Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. bagged an equal sum to help tackle poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. The remaining $40,000 of hard-earned Iggles cash will boost early-grade literacy reading programs in Camden via United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

Go Birds!

4. Citizens Bank funding takes maritime training to the next level in the already-growing sector.

The Citizens Bank Regional Maritime Training Center will launch at 61st Street and Essington Avenue in South Philly thanks to a $100,000 grant courtesy of the bank. Current and future Philadelphians working in the thriving maritime industry can access both classroom and hands-on training opportunities at the first-of-its-kind industry hub. Employees will take a comprehensive dive into learning safety protocols and motorized equipment certification requirements. Trainings start in January.

5. Philly Lyft riders raised an impressive quarter-mil to benefit servicepeople, cancer researchers and girls interested in STEM careers.

Forget the 2018 Lyftie Awards — we all know people love visiting the Morgan’s Pier beer garden and chowing down on Pat’s cheesesteaks after. Something you may not know: Philly’s Lyft riders have donated more than $250,000 to causes such as cancer treatment research, disaster relief efforts, supporting active duty service members and sending girls to computer science programs through the app’s Round Up & Donate program. Philadelphia’s solid contribution ranks Philly among Lyft’s top 10 charitable cities.

Other noteworthy charitable happenings this holiday season:

  • Consumer electronics company TE Connectivity donated $5,000 to launch Head Start early education programs organized by Riverbend Environmental Education Center.
  • Bank of America donated $30,000 to support financial empowerment and literacy efforts by local tech and finance nonprofit Clarifi.


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