Charles E. Ellis Trust for Girls: Philadelphia Grants

OVERVIEW: The Ellis Trust has one sole purpose: to help young girls in Philadelphia succeed in high school and make a successful transition into college. This foundation is more of a scholarship for individuals than a grant fund for organizations. Girls who meet the trust's criteria and attend public, charter, independent, or parochial high schools are considered for funding.

IP TAKE: Non-profit organizations in Philadelphia that are involved in youth causes and secondary education should become familiar with the Ellis Trust. Although your organization may not be eligible for a grant, you may be able to partner up with Ellis for mutually beneficial results engaging young girls in the city.

PROFILE: Few foundation websites have pink and purple themes with curvy lettering, but the Charles E. Ellis Trust for Girls is all about catering to the needs of high school girls in Philadelphia. The trust was set up to help eligible young women in the city excel in high school and prepare for success in higher education. The trust aids girls in public, charter, independent, and parochial high schools and aims to mold well-rounded and intelligent women who are in tune with their strengths, character, talents, and passions.

Charles E. Ellis was born in Philadelphia to Quaker parents and made his fortune through a horse-drawn trolley company in the area. He left a large portion of his estate to a school for fatherless girls, but after much success, that school closed down in 1977. The foundation's trustees then adjusted their mission to provide grants to girls in Philadelphia who come from single-parent households and need financial aid to complete their education.

Although the trust considers applications from girls in a variety of school settings, it does provide different degrees of support for them. Ellis accepts applications for public and charter schools on a rolling basis throughout the year. It accepts applications for independent and parochial schools each year between January 1 and March 1, but funding for these schools can only go toward tuition assistance. Although Ellis is more of a scholarship foundation for individuals than a grant foundation for organizations, it still has a major presence on the Philadelphia philanthropy scene.

Here's how the family size to maximum income ratio plays out: 

NUMBER OF FAMILY MEMBERS

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

GROSS FAMILY INCOME

$21,590
$29,101
$36,612
$44,123
$51,634
$59,145
$66,656
$74,167

To be eligible for funding, applicants must live in Philadelphia, live in a single-parent household, meet the family income eligibility requirements, be part of a family that doesn't own additional properties, and average at least "C" level grades. The application is only three pages long and very basic to complete. Funds are paid directly to the university or technical school that a recipient attends after graduation, and Ellis usually gives out well over $1 million in scholarships each year.

A group called Philadelphia Futures administers the Ellis Trust. This group is fully dedicated to providing Philadelphia's low-income students who are the first in their family to go to college with the resources and financing needed to succeed. Although Philadelphia has other scholarships and programs, the Ellis Trust is one of the most prominent. To get in touch with the trust, you'll need to go through Philadelphia Futures. Contact the staff directly at 215-790-1666 ext. 444 or ellistrust@philadelphiafutures.org with general inquiries.

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