Our region’s diverse neighborhoods are stronger because of nonprofits working to improve the health and well-being of the people and communities they serve.

These nonprofits are looking for ways to confront today’s most challenging health issues that go beyond more traditional evidence-based practices and programs.

To address this community-driven need, our Foundation launched the Community Innovation Grant Program to encourage nonprofits to develop an innovative mindset and give them freedom to use creative approaches to turn their ideas into successful programs.

The Foundation is giving us an opportunity to reach out to an underserved population, in a meaningful, culturally-informed way and with a trusted community partner. It truly feels as though the Center and the Foundation are working together towards a healthier Philadelphia.

Renee Cunningham, M.S.S.
Director of Administration and Advocacy, Center in the Park

Solving Challenges Creatively

As a continued effort of our Foundation’s work to build healthier communities, the new Community Innovation Grant Program funds pilot projects that take an innovative approach to solving existing community health challenges.

Since collaboration is critical to nonprofit sustainability, our Community Innovation grantees must work with a new or existing partner. In the inaugural funding year, we awarded grants to two organizations who are making it easier for older adults to age well.

Helping LGBT Adults Stay Healthy

For 50 years, Center in the Park has promoted healthy aging for adults age 55 and older in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood. The center is using a Community Innovation grant to pilot delivery of their established Aging Mastery Program to LGBT adults in collaboration with Philadelphia’s LGBT Elder Initiative.

For many in the LGBT community, discrimination and lack of a traditional support system over their lifetime have resulted in higher poverty rates, physical and mental health disparities, and below-average rates in receiving health care services.

Through education and peer-to-peer interaction, Center in the Park’s 10-week Aging Mastery Program engages participants in setting goals to improve their health and well-being, financial security, and community connections.

The Foundation’s support has been essential to moving [the mobile app] project forward... and allows us to be on the cutting edge of developing tools that our members can use to better the lives of the people they serve.

Rick Sauer
Executive Director, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC)

Ensuring Seniors Are Safe at Home

Every day, low-income seniors in Philadelphia live in homes with critical repair needs that are a detriment to their health and safety. The wait time for city-sponsored programs to provide these repairs can be up to five years.

The Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations works to rebuild communities and revitalize neighborhoods. In partnership with the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, they are using a Community Innovation grant to pilot a new Senior Home Repair mobile app.

Based on the national Home Environmental Assessment Protocol tool, the user-friendly app evaluates home repair issues with the potential to cause health issues if unaddressed — such as mold from roof leaks, tripping hazards due to floor cracks, and inadequate heating — and connects seniors to resources to execute the repairs. The app can be accessed by the seniors themselves or by family members and caregivers.

Increasing Nonprofit Capacity

Looking forward, we will continue to bring nonprofits together and use our resources to help them learn from one another to increase capacity and achieve long-term sustainability.

Through our partnership with the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC), Foundation grantees will continue to have access to the UAC’s Coalition U seminars and workshops, which are designed to help more than 100 nonprofits improve organizational growth and development to make effective change.

In a recent edition of our Foundation’s Journal of Change, we presented a field guide for nonprofits to help them maximize impact, featuring best practices from nonprofit leaders about strong board governance, sound financial management, effective marketing, and staff professional development.

Working together, we can think bigger and do more to transform community health.

Sustainable, deep impact requires strong partnerships, who are aligned in values and vision to best serve our communities. The Foundation is a special partner of the Coalition, because we work actively together, leveraging our efforts today to drive change for tomorrow. And we’re just getting started.

Sharmain Matlock-Turner
President and CEO, Urban Affairs Coalition