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Pew Awards $7.7M to Philadelphia Human Services, Arts, and Civic Nonprofits to Expand Programs, Adapt Business Models

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

PHILADELPHIA—The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that it has awarded $7.7 million to five Philadelphia-area nonprofit organizations. These grants will help the recipients create and implement new strategies to adapt their programs, operations, and business models to the changing needs of the residents and communities they serve. In doing so, the awards will help to house and support people with substance use disorder who are experiencing homelessness; assist low-income families in achieving economic mobility; and bolster the city’s cultural and civic vitality, including supporting efforts to bring more tourists back to Greater Philadelphia.

The new grants are as follows:

  • Project HOME has been awarded a $3.5 million growth grant to expand its work to end and prevent chronic street homelessness in Philadelphia. Specifically, Project HOME plans to increase its efforts to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness and struggling with substance use by addressing this population’s special needs. Over the next five years, the organization will add more than 150 supportive housing units throughout the city, while also increasing comprehensive services such as those for behavioral health and substance use disorder, particularly in the Kensington neighborhood.
  • Compass Working Capital has been awarded a $2.5 million growth grant to support economic mobility programs for families living in federally subsidized housing, helping them set and reach their financial goals. Over the next five years, the organization will help 4,000 low-income households—up from 1,000 in 2021—build savings in special escrow accounts, created and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program and administered by the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Participating households will receive financial coaching to help them save for individual goals, such as purchasing a home, attending college, or paying off debt.
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra has been awarded $1 million to support its partnership with the Kimmel Center to create a new parent organization, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc., which will merge the artistic excellence and expertise of two cornerstones of the city’s arts and cultural scene, helping to bolster the operations of both for years to come. Pew’s support will help to cover various costs associated with the partnership, including hiring a chief people officer to create a unified culture within the new organization and an internal assessment to determine how the organization’s physical space can better serve audiences.
  • The Independence Visitor Center Corp. has been awarded $500,000 to support its role in the Philadelphia tourism sector’s recovery. Studies have shown that more people relied on online platforms to plan their visits in 2021 than ever before, and the IVCC will use Pew’s support to enhance its marketing initiatives to reach new audiences where they are—especially by using digital platforms—to bring more visitors back to the region. Pew’s support will also help the IVCC, which serves as a hub for tourism information once visitors arrive, increase its physical presence in the city.
  • Smith Memorial Playground has been awarded $200,000 over two years to support its recovery from the pandemic as it continues to serve, as it has for over 100 years, as a vital public space where Philadelphians unite and heal through play. This effort will include enhancing visitors’ experience with at least four rotating in-person exhibits per year, as well as developing digital engagement initiatives, such as refining the organization’s mobile app to guide children in playful learning activities at home.

Frazierita Klasen, senior vice president leading Pew’s work in Philadelphia, said of the grants, “Pew is incredibly pleased to support the important contributions that these nonprofit organizations are making to the well-being of Philadelphia’s residents and to the city’s historic and cultural appeal. The five awards represent diverse sectors—human services, the arts, tourism, and public spaces—all of which play a vital role in supporting our region’s people and economy, especially as the area works to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.”

Kristin Romens, project director of the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services in Philadelphia, added that, “The five-year, multimillion-dollar investments in Project HOME and Compass Working Capital will help these organizations expand and enhance their already successful programs so that more Philadelphians are able to achieve housing security, build savings, and achieve economic mobility.”


The Pew Charitable Trusts is committed to helping Philadelphia by informing discussion on important policy issues facing the city, supporting the health and well-being of residents facing complex challenges rooted in poverty, encouraging a thriving arts and cultural community, and pursuing civic initiatives to strengthen the area’s appeal to residents and visitors alike. Learn more by clicking here.