What Pharmaceutical Giant GSK Has Been Up to in Philly

Health is one topic on the forefront of many charitable donors’ minds in the city of Philadelphia these days. Nearly 68 percent of adults in the city and approximately 41 percent of youth between the ages of 6 and 17 are overweight or obese. The situation is even worse in North Philadelphia, where almost 70 percent of youth, a majority of whom are black and Hispanic, are overweight or obesedouble the national average.

One corporate foundation with a focus on Philadelphia continues to step in to try to make Philadelphia a healthier place to live. This past summer, pharmaceutical giant GSK announced a partnership with the Philadelphia Foundation and a $5 million, three-year charitable grant program with a health focus. One of GSK’s most locally focused health initiatives is the GSK IMPACT Award, a charitable program committed to building healthier communities in Philadelphia County and nationwide.

Each year, up to 10 nonprofit organizations in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties will earn an IMPACT Award and $40,000. Approximately 150 local nonprofits have received around $6 million combined since the program began. Over the years, many of these grants have gone toward fresh food distribution programs and exercise programs. Here’s a little bit about this year’s nine winners and why they caught GSK’s attention:

  • After-School Partnerships – Providing after school activities to empower youth
  • The Center for Grieving Children – Supporting the needs of grieving children and families
  • Community Design Collaborative of Philadelphia – Using design to strengthen the community
  • Gearing Up – Providing women transitioning from abuse, addiction, or incarceration with the tools they need to ride bikes for exercise and transportation
  • Graduate! Philadelphia – Helping adults graduate college
  • Pennsylvania Horticultural Society – Creating a sense of community through horticulture
  • Philadelphia Youth Network, Inc. – Improving educational and economic outcomes for youth

As you can see, a healthier Philadelphia means a lot more than just overweight residents – at least for GSK. In this sense, “health” is given a broader definition, encompassing funding for education, workforce development, economic development, and safety.

A GSK press release reads, “Much of what influences our health happens outside the doctor’s office – in our communities. Community factors such as access to healthy foods and recreational spaces, and the support of families and social networks undeniably contribute to our health.”

To be eligible for a GSK IMPACT Award in Philadelphia, your nonprofit must address at least one of these factors: diet and exercise, education, employment, family and social support, or the built environment. Senior GSK reps and national health experts convene on a panel to determine the award winners. This year, GSK also jumped on the social media funding bandwagon and invited the nine winners to Tweet about how they'd put an additional $10,000 challenge grant to work.

To learn more about GSK grantmaking in Philadelphia, check out our IP Profile, GlaxoSmithKline U.S. Community Partnerships: Philadelphia Grants