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Pew Awards $4.25 Million to 4 Philadelphia Nonprofits to Expand Economic Opportunities and Address Growing Impacts of Community Violence

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Press release

PHILADELPHIA—The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that it has awarded $4.25 million to four Philadelphia nonprofits working to close opportunity gaps and address the growing impact of violence on local residents.

The awards include a grant to University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative to help create paths to economic mobility for nearly 2,500 residents throughout the city. Three additional grants will aid Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and Temple University Hospital in coordinating and expanding their hospital-based support programs for the growing number of adults and children who have experienced community violence.

More details on the grants:

  • University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) has been awarded a Pew Fund for Health and Human Services (Pew Fund) growth grant totaling $3.5 million over five years to expand its successful workforce training program to new neighborhoods and employment sectors. By partnering with employers to identify high-priority staffing needs, WPSI recruits, trains, and helps connect unemployed and underemployed city residents with jobs that provide family-sustaining wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement. With Pew’s support, the initiative will double the number of participants in its core training program, many of whom have experienced an average of 31 weeks of unemployment; increase the number of entry-level workers it prepares for midlevel jobs; offer additional coaching and training for program alumni; and expand its services to other neighborhoods and industries throughout the city. Upon graduation, 95% of trainees will be connected to jobs with an average hourly rate of $18. The award is one of the largest in University City District’s history.
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Violence Intervention Program, Drexel University’s Healing Hurt People program, and Temple University Hospital’s Trauma Victim Support Advocates program have each been awarded Pew Fund venture grants of $250,000 over two years to support these violence intervention programs while also increasing coordination and opportunities to share practices among providers and with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. As Philadelphia experiences a surge in gun violence, there is an increasing need to address survivors’ social, emotional, and psychological recovery after trauma. Adults, children, and their families, particularly those with limited financial resources, often face significant barriers to accessing treatments and supports necessary for a full recovery; these barriers include high costs, limited availability, challenges in navigating the health care and social services systems, a lack of secure housing, and logistics such as transportation. Hospital-based programs are a promising approach to help violence survivors and their families access the care and services they need—and merit further research to determine their long-term success. With Pew’s funding, these three programs will not only provide and expand critical services; they will also participate in a citywide collaborative hosted by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to share resources, identify best practices, and help develop data-sharing processes that will increase the evidence for hospital-based violence intervention services. Combined, the three programs reach patients in all of the city’s level-one trauma centers and are well positioned to make important contributions to research on recovery and healing.

Pew Fund growth grants aim to significantly expand Philadelphia-area health and social services organizations’ capacity to provide high-quality, research-informed services for individuals facing challenges rooted in poverty. Venture grants are designed to help organizations implement promising approaches to new or emerging issues.

Kristin Romens, the Pew Fund’s project director, said of the grants, “Pew is pleased to support these incredible organizations that are contributing to the economic mobility, safety, and security of Philadelphians at this critical moment as our region starts to emerge from the pandemic.”

“Our growth grant to University City District recognizes that, as a large city with big opportunities and challenges, we need effective programs like the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative operating on a larger scale,” Romens added. “And with our venture grant support to three exceptional hospital-based violence intervention programs, we hope to see further evidence that these programs not only help victims recover physically and emotionally from the trauma of violence but also have long-term, positive impacts on the overall well-being of individuals and families.”

For more information on The Pew Charitable Trusts’ support for Philadelphia-area health and human services organizations and the people and communities they serve, visit

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The Pew Charitable Trusts is committed to helping Philadelphia by informing discussion on important policy issues facing the city, encouraging a thriving arts and cultural community, supporting the health and welfare of the region’s most vulnerable populations, and pursuing civic initiatives to strengthen the area’s appeal to residents and visitors alike. Learn more at