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Money moves: More than $16M in regional investments

February 13, 2020 Category: FeaturedFundingLong

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. Ursinus College in Collegeville receives a $11 million donation to support its Abele Scholars program.

In January, the Abele Family Foundation gave Ursinus College the largest single private gift in its 150-year history. The $11 million pledge comes during the college’s 150th anniversary year, and will support the Abele Scholars program.

Established in 2018, the Abele Scholars program supports students from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Abele Scholars receive $40,000 over four years. In addition, each scholar receives $2,000 for “start-up” costs such as the purchase of a laptop or required books; $3,000 for academically enriching pursuits such as internships, summer courses, or academic conferences; and $8,000 in loan forgiveness.

In addition to financial need, the scholars must demonstrate academic potential and a record of leadership and civic engagement. Abele Scholars participate in tailored programs and receive adviser support to prepare them for professional, academic and civic success after graduation from Ursinus.

“This generous gift from the Abeles and the Abele Family Foundation ensures that we will be able to continue to provide this critical support for the next decade and beyond, providing eligible students with a clear pathway to a successful undergraduate career,” said Ursinus president Brock Blomberg.

The Abele Scholars Program is currently in its second year of operation and includes two cohorts totaling 24 students. Approximately 18 first-year students are being targeted for each new cohort.


2. Ballmer Group gives Benefits Data Trust $5 million to improve economic mobility and health.

In January, the Ballmer Group announced it has awarded Benefits Data Trust (BDT) a $5 million, five-year grant to scale its impact and improve economic mobility and health for millions of families. Ballmer Group’s investment in BDT serves as a complement to grants announced in October from the Rockefeller Foundation and Mastercard, totaling $7.5 million.

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“Today, millions of low-income people across the nation experience hunger, poor health, and other challenges because they cannot easily tap public benefits,” said Trooper Sanders, CEO of BDT. “This investment from Ballmer Group will accelerate our ability to scale dignified, data-driven, technology-enabled benefits access solutions that will help reduce poverty, lower healthcare costs, and improve people’s chances for economic mobility.”

This grant, along with the wto recent grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and Mastercard are investments in BDT’s plans to dramatically increase its impact to help more families access food, healthcare, and housing. BDT currently offers benefit enrollment assistance in six states and policy assistance to many more states nationwide.


3. Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association receives $100K from M&T Bank and $20K from Kinder Academy.

State Rep. Jared  Solomon announced in February that the Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association would be the recipient of $120,000 in donations from M&T Bank and Kinder Academy in support of OCCCDA’s programs in Northeast Philadelphia.

M&T Bank’s donation is part of an overall five-year, $500,000 commitment the bank has made toward OCCCDA’s programs; Kinder Academy’s is a one-year commitment.

“With their support, over the next five years, we will be able to provide more employment and educational opportunities out of our Exchange Thrift store and support small businesses in the community with training and programs to enhance the commercial corridor,” said said Pearl Wang-Herrera, OCCCDA’s executive director. “Our vision is to advance the social and economic mobility of the community, especially the large immigrant population.”

The donations were facilitated by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development‘s Neighborhood Assistance Program, which provides tax credits to businesses that donate capital to support projects that address neighborhood and community problems, particularly in low-income neighborhoods.

“These types of investments make significant and meaningful impacts on communities in the commonwealth, improving quality of life and business opportunities,” said DCED Secretary Rick Vilello. “And they demonstrate what is possible when the public and private sectors come together for the common good.”


4. Philadelphia Foundation awards $50K in On the Table Philly Activate grants.

On the Table gathering hosted by I Belong, at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Oct. 17, 2019. (Photos by S. Vourvoulias)

Philadelphia Foundation announced in January that 50 projects have been selected for $1,000 “Activate” grants to help transform ideas generated during last year’s On the Table Philly into tangible initiatives.

This year’s grants focused in general on civic participation. Twelve projects selected for funding will promote participation in the 2020 census. The census-related projects that were selected are:

  • ACHIEVability – A “Building Blocks” peer mentoring network will train block captains about the census and provide materials so there can be an accurate and complete count in their neighborhoods.
  • Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture – The organization will partner with Moffet School and Kensington residents to organize community gatherings where information about the importance of the census will be shared with those among significantly under-reported populations.
  • COSACOSA Art At Large – Town halls will be hosted to reach out to veterans and other community residents at which census representatives will share its impact on social, cultural, political and economic issues.
  • Fairhill Neighbors – Promotion of the census will take place through one-on-one conversations, a social media campaign and a “Census Outreach Day” that will include using a drumline and loudspeakers to draw attention to participation.
  • Global Citizen – “Commit boxes” built during the 25th Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service will be used to gather “commit cards” from those promising to vote or to participate in the census. The cards will later be mailed back as reminders of the pledge.
  • Lancaster Ave. Business Association CDC – Workshops, door hangers, social media blitzes, contests and materials warning seniors of potential census scams will encourage West Philadelphia to be well represented in the count.
  • An On the Table Philly participant will host a series of lunch-and-learns about both the census and the possibility of a neighborhood town watch.
  • MAP Holistic CDC – A senior group will devote one of its monthly chat and chews to Philly Counts, and follow up with additional conversations on health, intergenerational connections, and nutritious snacks for students.
  • Philadelphia Freedom Schools Inc. – High school students involved in the Junior Servant Leader program will educate community members at their March gathering about ways to be a 2020 Census partner.
  • Providence Center – Teen Youth Advocates will conduct outreach about the census throughout the Fairhill neighborhood.
  • Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission – A Saturday Census Block Party in April will offer residents the opportunity to use the learning center to complete the census online, with volunteer help available for those using the paper form.
  • Thompson Mediaman Communications – Through partnerships with community organizations, including the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and Philly Counts, the African-American community will be encouraged to participate in the census through radio broadcasts and community events.

Other funded organizations include:

  • Act of Kindness Through Services, Inc.
  • Anti-Racist Parent Discussion Group at Meredith School
  • Asia Adams Save OUR Children Foundation
  • Bethel AME Church of Ardmore
  • Boys and Girls Club of Chester
  • CeaseFire PA
  • Children’s Literacy Initiative
  • Cobbs Creek Recreation Center Advisory Committee
  • DVLF
  • Edge Community Development Group
  • Germantown Residents for Economic Alternatives Together (GREAT)
  • Global Philadelphia Association
  • Green Tree Community Health Foundation
  • I Belong
  • I’m FREE
  • Mayfair Business Improvement District
  • MBKCares Initiative
  • Media Fellowship House
  • Mt. Airy Learning Tree
  • NW Philly Climate Action Network
  • Olney Culture Lab of Culture Trust Greater Philadelphia
  • One Bright Ray Community High School
  • Peculiar Treasure Outreach Ministries
  • Reading Terminal Market Corp.
  • Riverfront North Partnership
  • Sankofa Healing Studio
  • The Baldwin School
  • The Equity Project
  • UC Green
  • USA250
  • UUH Outreach Program
  • YWCA Tri-County Area

In addition, four individuals will receive funding for projects:

  • An On the Table Philly participant will host a series of winter Sunday suppers in the Kingsessing neighborhood to discuss shared solutions to common neighborhood challenges.
  • An On the Table Philly participant who is a certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer will teach YMCA staff members and community members how to recognize signs of mental distress in youth, evaluate whether a youth is in crisis and help youth obtain mental health care.
  • An On the Table Philly host will convene workshops with speakers to help families financially prepare for the death of a loved one, including how to cover funeral expenses and estate planning such as preparing a will.
  • An On the Table Philly participant will spearhead progressive dinners in West Mt. Airy to connect new neighbors with long-time residents to broaden participation in a monthly neighborhood group that builds community involvement.


5. Bread & Roses Community Fund receives a $15K Community Champion Award from Reinvestment Fund.

Bread & Roses Community Fund was awarded a $15,000 Community Champion Award from Reinvestment Fund in late January.

The Community Champion Award is a small grants program that recognizes nonprofit organizations that are aligned with Reinvestment Fund’s own mission. The award was accorded to Bread & Roses in recognition of its work supporting grassroots organizing for change, and to fuel that work in the future.

Awardees are selected by an appointed staff committee that makes its selection from a pool of organizations nominated by staff. The selection is approved by Reinvestment Fund’s community advisory board. In most instances, the organizations have volunteers that are Reinvestment Fund staff or another existing relationship. In this case, the history goes back decades. Reinvestment Fund was incubated at Bread & Roses before spinning off in 1985.

“It is such an honor for us to be able to give back to Bread & Roses,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, president and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “Their support shaped Reinvestment Fund in many ways in our formative years and created the foundation for our growth into the national, mission-driven financial institution that we are today.”


Neighborhood Assistance Program

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