The Seybert Foundation: Philadelphia Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder awards general operating support grants of $5,000 or less to nonprofits that serve disadvantaged children and youth in Philadelphia. Grant applications are accepted in the spring and fall of each year.

FUNDING AREAS: Disadvantaged children and youth in the City of Philadelphia

IP TAKE: Although all Seybert grants go toward causes for children and youth, a wide range of grantees see this funder’s support.  

PROFILE: The Seybert Foundation was established in 1906 as the Adam and Maria Sarah Seybert Institution for Poor Boys and Girls of Philadelphia through the will of Henry Seybert to honor his parents.

In 2013, the foundation decided that all grants would henceforth be made for general operating support. Seybert grants are typically $5,000 or less, so this type of support is well-suited to maximize impact. The foundation's average grant amount is around $3,000, with priority given to nonprofits with annual operating budgets of less than $1.5 million.

Seybert Manager Diana Loukedis Doherty noted in a formal announcement, "I have paid close attention to the emerging rationale for general operating support as a form of capacity building. While well-managed nonprofits have learned to do more with less for years now, a grant can only go as far as the strings attached will allow.”

One recent spring grant cycle yielded 39 new grants that totaled $150,000. You can view a list of Grantee Partners on the foundation website in the Grants vertical. Past support reaching the $5,000 cap has gone to Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia, Centro Nueva Creacion, Education Plus Inc., the International Ballet Exchange, and Live Connections. It’s rare for a grant amount to dip as low as $1,000.

This is an open and accessible grantmaker that welcomes the opportunity to meet and conduct site visits, not only of existing grantees, but potential ones, too. Due dates for grant requests are typically March 15 and September 15 of each year. The foundation only accepts one application per organization per year. You can find the grant application form on the foundation website, which should be emailed to admin@seybertfoundation.org. There’s a different, shorter form for returning grantees posted here, too.

General inquiries can be directed to the foundation at 215-696-9336 or via email at admin@seybertfoundation.org. Diana Loukedis Doherty is the foundation manager and your best point of contact. She is a former staff member of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and served as a trustee of the Fourjay Foundation through 2014. As there are no other active staff members, the board consists of active community members who volunteer their time for grantmaking activities.

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