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Union Benevolent Association’s unrestricted response bolsters Philadelphia nonprofits amidst COVID-19

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Press Release

Philadelphia, PA, -- Like most cities, COVID-19 has had an unprecedented and profound impact on Philadelphia's local economy, available resources, and the ability for its residents to cover basic needs such as food, housing, and utilities. As a sector already heavily reliant on annual donations and public and private funding, many nonprofit organizations have been forced to furlough or lay off a large percentage of their workforce and limit services, while striving to continue to serve their respective communities.

With this realization, in addition to Union Benevolent Association’s (UBA) spring and fall grant cycles, UBA chose to award its annual grant--typically one (1) $20,000 award, to four (4) community-based nonprofit organizations addressing the critical challenges affecting Philadelphia--in the amount of $25,000 each. These trusted and experienced organizations have continued to provide, and even expand, basic services during the pandemic.  All four organizations are to be commended for reaching the hardest to reach in their communities, providing direct support (almost every dollar of support reached community members directly) to those in greatest need.  The four organizations were: Ceiba, the Coalition of African and Caribbean Communities (AFRICOM), the People's Emergency Center CDC, and the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation.

Ceiba promotes the economic development and financial inclusion of the Latino community through collaborations and advocacy aimed at ensuring their access to quality housing. With much gratitude, Will Gonzalez, Esq., Executive Director, stated that "this funding will allow them to provide cash gifts to Latinos, who have the highest rate of poverty in the city, and now their growing immigrant population, that have especially felt the financial hardship that COVID-19 has had on service industry workers."

The Coalition of African and Caribbean Communities (AFRICOM) advocates and organizes to promote immigrant and refugee empowerment, a sense of belonging, and self-sufficiency. AFRICOM hosts a variety of programs that center on leadership, culture, education, and civic engagement. President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Eric Edi, thankfully expressed that "this award will provide cash assistance to those currently on their prioritized waitlist, for help with rent, utilities, and food."

The People's Emergency Center CDC uses a unique and holistic approach to its full-spectrum housing services--from emergency shelter to affordable homeownership--for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. "This timely funding will be used to aid those that did not meet the eligibility requirements for the federal Emergency Solutions Grant program," says Kevin Musselman, Foundation Relations Manager.

The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) has led residents and friends of Chinatown in defending Chinatown’s right to exist and from development projects that threaten its survival,  and foster a community that people want to live in, visit, work in, and care about. According to Rachel Mak, Deputy Director, “PCDC has seen a significant need in the areas of food distribution, and rent and emergency needs assistance. This funding will help support these needs.” 


Since 1831, the Union Benevolent Association has provided critical funding and support to nonprofit organizations that, through access to basic needs, assist and enrich the lives of the poor, disadvantaged, elderly, and youth of Philadelphia. In recent years, the foundation has also begun providing timely support to address emergency issues impacting Philadelphia residents.


Questions or more information:
Attn:   Sigrid E. Lundby, Board President ot David Fair, Board Vice President