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The Promise Continues Record Clearing Initiative; Seeks Partners in Criminal Record Sealing and Employment Access Campaign

United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, has released a Call for Collaboration to local nonprofit organizations for another round of The Promise’s Jobs and Opportunity Community Challenge, focusing on criminal record sealing and employment access. This is the third in a series of Community Challenges led under the leadership and execution of The Promise, an innovative public-private partnership dedicated to increasing economic mobility for Philadelphians.

The Jobs and Opportunity Community Challenge: Record Sealing and Employment Access was first launched in May 2022 to combat poverty by removing barriers to employment. It was in direct response to the more than 400,000 Philadelphians with arrest and conviction records who face many obstacles returning to the workforce including limitations on credentialing and licensure, and policies precluding them from certain positions and employers.

As of December 2022, we’ve held 25 clinics and had over 1,000 people meet with a lawyer to learn more about the record-clearing process. We still have quite a few clinics to go in year one of this work, but as year one wraps up, we are thrilled to launch a second year of this program where we can build upon all we have learned and refine this model to help even more Philadelphians.” said Michael Banks, executive director of The Promise.

Similar to the first round, The Challenge will specifically focus on partnerships with legal expertise and/or a deep community reach. Community Hub grantees will collaborate on outreach and engagement and host record sealing and clearing clinics. Legal services grantees will provide direct services such as awareness about Clean Slate laws, identifying records eligible for sealing or expungement, filing petitions to help seal or clear past records; and support for seeking and securing employment. Community hubs and legal services do not need to have an existing partnership; The Promise will facilitate these partnerships.

“A past record should not mean you have to live in poverty. Over this past year, I’ve seen firsthand the joy and value of providing family-friendly record-clearing clinics throughout the city. Record clearing is a long process, but our clinics double as resource fairs so individuals can begin receiving help right away even while their petitions move through the system. By working alongside our partners, we will continue to improve workforce efforts throughout Philadelphia, and help our neighbors get on a track towards clearing their record.” said Sarah Hutton, lead, career pathways at UWGPSNJ.

Grants in the range of $30,000-$60,000 will be made available to 7-15 Community Hub grantees. Grants in the range of $200,000-$400,000 will be made available to 2-4 Legal Services grantees.

The Call for Collaboration seeks leading organizations serving the City of Philadelphia to implement strategies to scale and deliver evidence-based approaches to maximize resources and benefits for Philadelphia residents.

Key Dates 
February 1, 2023: Collaboration Proposals Launched 
March 31, 2023: Proposals Due 
May 2023: Awards Announced 
July 2023-June 2024: Grant Period

To learn more about the Jobs and Opportunity Community Challenge Call for Collaborations, click here 

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