PHILADELPHIA, October 4, 2021 – William Penn Foundation today announced 14 organizations that will receive grants from its Racial Equity Grant Fund, primarily supporting small, education-focused organizations led by, and serving, people of color. The fund has awarded unrestricted operating grants of $20,000 and $35,000 to help organizations grow or sustain their impact in communities. All of the organizations are helping to advance at least one of three goals in Philadelphia: strengthening kindergarten readiness, building early reading proficiency, or increasing rates of high school graduation.
The William Penn Foundation designed the Racial Equity Grant Fund with an explicit racial equity lens and a commitment to sharing decision-making power. A Community Review Committee composed of six individuals who work in education, family engagement, and community organizing in Philadelphia helped shape the application and selection criteria. The committee reviewed applications and selected grantees, awarding a total of $415,000. Grants were awarded through a competitive process, with 40 organizations applying. Nonprofit organizations at least two years old and with annual budgets under $400,000 were eligible to apply.
“I am proud to be part of the effort to fund this strong group of organizations working to support Philadelphia students and families,” said Unis Bey, CEO/Executive Director of Grays Ferry Early Learning Academy and a member of the Community Review Committee. “This was a wonderful opportunity to work with other community leaders, shape the grantmaking process, and to direct funding to organizations with close community ties.”
All 14 organizations awarded through the Racial Equity Grant Fund this year are new grantees of the William Penn Foundation. The fund represents an investment in the community and an important learning opportunity for the Foundation as it explores more equitable grantmaking approaches and practices.
The grantee organizations will participate in a learning network facilitated by Grovider, a local knowledge management consulting firm. Grounded in the communities of practice model, the learning network will provide a forum for organizations to share expertise, resources, and strategies. Grovider will also document the learning from this pilot effort to inform the design of the learning network and future work at the Foundation.
“The expertise of people of color and the organizations they lead are essential to addressing racial, social, and economic injustices,” said Janet Haas, M.D., Board Chair of the William Penn Foundation. “This fund has been a learning opportunity as we seek to increase the equity of our grantmaking practices. We are excited to work with and learn from new grantee organizations that provide Philadelphia families and students with opportunities to learn and thrive.”
• Inspiring Minds Greater Philadelphia seeks to inspire youth to discover their passions and equip them with the tools needed to pursue their goals, focusing on five areas of impact: Education; College & Career Readiness; Exposure to New Experiences; Health & Wellness; and Personal Development.