Winners of the first of several Community Challenges will offer free tax prep, help improve access to benefits, and provide financial and legal counseling to Philadelphians in need
PHILADELPHIA, P.A. — Today the City of Philadelphia took a major step toward its poverty “moonshot” as it committed $10 million in city funding to the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) to spearhead Philadelphia’s Poverty Action Fund. This historic public-private partnership aims to lift 100,000 Philadelphians out of poverty in the next five years, and is the next step of a year-long effort led by City Council, the Kenney administration, community, business and philanthropic leaders.
The first investment announced today -- $5.5 Million -- will be used immediately to begin funding neighborhood organizations providing financial services during this tax season.
The first of several Community Challenges, the Family Stability Community Challenge, funds partnerships that offer free tax preparation, access to benefits and wage supports, and financial and legal counseling, and other reinforcing programs in a single location as the city strives for an equitable financial recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the city announced its overall funding commitment in November 2020, the organizations worked collaboratively and with a Family Stability Advisory Board to support an impactful, expeditious process that would deliver services to Philadelphia residents this tax season. Grantees include:
- Campaign for Working Families, which will receive $1 million to lead a coalition to promote equitable financial recovery in North Philadelphia.
- Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which will receive $1 million to foster economic mobility in Philadelphia’s Latinx community in partnership with the Latino Equitable Development Collective.
- African Cultural Alliance of North America, Inc., which will receive $1 million to conduct targeted outreach to African, Asian immigrant and low-income communities as part of the No One Left Behind coalition.
- Diversified Community Services, which will receive $1.5 million to provide housing support, benefits access, and tax services.
United Way, in partnership with City Council and the Kenney administration, is mobilizing a coalition of public, private, community, business and philanthropic groups as this partnership promises to meet the systemic challenges of reducing poverty. Over the next five years, this new coalition will build financial stability for Philadelphians in crisis. City Council is making an overall, initial investment of $10 Million to further the goals of the Poverty Action Fund.
“Eliminating Philadelphia’s status as the poorest large city in America starts with creating stability,” said Bill Golderer, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. “We are meeting this moment with collaboration, creativity and tenacity, and our partnership will reckon the root causes of poverty. Together we will invest in proven, scalable solutions that will deliver on the promise of real progress for our neighbors.”
Future Community Challenges will focus on innovative partnerships to deliver high-quality services and support mechanisms for neighborhoods and residents across the city. These challenges are designed to call on leading Philadelphia organizations and national partners to deliver evidence-based approaches to address poverty.
“This is our moonshot—our once-in-a-generation chance to move the needle on poverty in Philadelphia,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District). “The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on us all, but it has particularly revealed harsh disparities in how communities of color are harmed by poverty, joblessness, a lack of hope and even despair. We must do everything in our power – with our partners in the business and philanthropic community playing crucial roles – to make government work in ways that work for every resident of our city.”
“The global pandemic has had a devastating toll on our city so I am pleased that public, philanthropic and private sector resources are being directed to support nonprofits with deep connections to individuals and families,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “This funding will help Philadelphians access critical public benefits and other economic security programs to help lift them out of poverty.”
For neighbors experiencing the crisis of poverty, the first step is securing the resources to meet basic needs—stable housing, enough food, and access to job opportunities. As financial stability grows, so does the city.
“Philadelphia deserves an entirely new approach to intractable poverty,” said Councilmember Maria Quiñones Sánchez (7th District), the point person on City Council’s poverty reduction efforts. “The Poverty Action Fund is different than anything we have done before because it leverages public-private partnership and impact measurement to invest directly in people, not programs. Today, we are getting to work by empowering community-based collaboratives to tap $450 million in unclaimed public benefits, and recent stimulus grants, for Philadelphians.”
The Poverty Action Fund will be managed by a board of civic leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, who will be named shortly.
“As financial stability grows, so must equity and so will Philadelphia,” added Golderer. “Together we’ll create a stronger city with an expanded economy, larger tax base, safer neighborhoods and more robust workforce for generations to come.”
Information about the Poverty Action Plan can be found at https://phlcouncil.com/council-announces-poverty-action-plan/.