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Beech commemorates memory of former CEO during COVID-19 pandemic

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, May 25, 2020 – The Beech Companies, Inc., a small nonprofit founded to revitalize disadvantaged communities in Philadelphia would have been celebrating its 30th anniversary with a big dinner on May 28th.  As fate would have it, the COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans. Instead, Beech decided to use funds for the celebration to provide assistance to those most in need during the coronavirus emergency through its Alston Beech Foundation. Since March 23, Beech has donated emergency micro-grants to 30 nonprofits in North, West and Northwest Philadelphia that provide urgent, essential services to help keep them running during this national emergency.

“As Beech planned to celebrate our 30th anniversary, the worldwide pandemic became a vivid reminder of our purpose and mission from day one of providing vital services to the community,” reflected Dr. Kenneth Scott, president/CEO of Beech. “I thought, what would our founding CEO, the late Floyd Alston do? That’s when we decided to commemorate his memory by providing contributions to organizations that provide food, shelter and support services to people in emergency situations. Our goal was to provide funding to 30 nonprofits in celebration of our 30 years of service. These are serious times that require a timely, unified, compassionate response.”

Each week Beech provided $1,000 micro-grants to five selected non-profits. Bazelon, Leff & Feldman law firm, Domus Construction and several anonymous donors partnered with Beech on its mission. The small grants have helped the recipients immensely during the pandemic.

Without the grant from Beech, the Walker Junior Unity Center in North Philadelphia, which delivers food to 100 to 200 families per week, might have had to skip paying some of its bills. The grant allowed them to pay the rent and buy gas for their food delivery vehicle. “The $1,000 donation bought me two months,” said Kenny Walker, its CEO. “We’re able to keep the office open.”

The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium used their grant to purchase personal protective equipment and testing supplies to continue its mission of testing African Americans. “We rely 100% on volunteers and funds raised in the private sector,” explained Kamau Stanford. Essentially, we refused to let the disproportionate death of African Americans be regulated to an asterisk or footnote when history speaks of COVID-19.”

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging used their grant to help replenish its Rodney D. Williams Philadelphia Fund for Seniors, created to supplement its public funding, which according to PCA CEO Holly Lange, has not kept pace with its overwhelming needs.

The Share Food Program used their grant to expand home deliveries for seniors and people with disabilities who can’t visit the food pantry. “Your donation has a real impact in ensuring food cupboards can respond to the unprecedented and escalating need because of the COVID-19 crisis,” wrote Share Director of Development Mara Natkins in a letter of thanks.

The Salvation Army used its grant to provide for homeless families. “We deeply appreciate the Alston Beech Foundation for contributing $1,000 to our Red Shield Family Residence,” said Captain Tawny Cowen- Zanders. With this generous contribution, we are better prepared at the front lines to alleviate the burdens of poverty that have been heightened as a result of this pandemic.”

The 30 nonprofits that received the Alston Beech Foundation COVID-19 emergency grants are:

  1. Achieveability
  2. Bebashi
  3. Bethlehem Deliverance Church Real Deal Food Ministry
  4. Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium
  5. Chosen 300 Ministries
  6. Covenant House
  7. Dignity Housing
  8. Grands As Parents, Inc.
  9. Kirkbridge Center
  10. Kitchen Of Love
  11. Lutheran Settlement
  12. ManUpPHL
  13. Mercy Neighborhood Services
  14. North Broad Renaissance
  15. People's Emergency Center
  16. Philadelphia Black Women’s Health Alliance
  17. Philadelphia Corporation for Aging
  18. Philabundance
  19. Project Home
  20. Salvation Army Red Shield Center
  21. Self, Inc.
  22. Share Food Program
  23. Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission
  24. The Table Pantry
  25. Walker Junior Unity Center
  26. White Rock Community Food Pantry
  27. Whosoever Mission
  28. Women's Center Coalition Against Hunger
  29. Yorktown Community Development Corporation
  30. Youth Services, Inc.

Named after Alston who was vice president of marketing at First Pennsylvania Bank in the 1980s and president of the Philadelphia Board of Education in the 1990s before joining Beech, the Alston Beech Foundation provides small program grants to nonprofit organizations working to strengthen communities in North Philadelphia by providing viable programs and services to its residents. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded close to 500 grants to nonprofit, community-based organizations and 300 college scholarships.

Founded in 1990, Beech has successfully used the concept of social enterprise to reimagine and revitalize disadvantaged communities in Philadelphia by utilizing business principles and strategies to solve social problems with the ultimate goal of empowerment and self-sustainability.

Located on Cecil B. Moore Avenue in the heart of North Central Philadelphia, The Beech Companies has leveraged over $2 billion in community reinvestment funds in North Philadelphia communities through the four primary organizations under its operation: Beech Interplex, Inc., Beech Business Bank, Beech Community Services and the Alston Beech Foundation. For information on Beech visit