The volunteer-led Spruce Foundation is a truly unique entity in the city of Philadelphia. Although only four Spruce grants are awarded each year at $5,000 a piece, the accompanying volunteer efforts make that money go a long way (Read Spruce Foundation: Philadelphia Grants).
Throughout the year, Spruce hosts service-focused happy hours dedicated to one of its four program areas: education, LGBTQ, health and wellness, and the arts. During each Happy Hour, organizations are given the opportunity to present their missions and programming to the young emerging philanthropists and volunteers. Spruce also hosts an annual service day, during which it recruits around 200-300 young professionals to participate in service projects with 10 to 20 of Spruce’s partner organizations. “Spruce in the Community Days” are held once per quarter to engage 5 to 15 young professionals in direct service projects.
But by and large, Spruce’s biggest event of the year is its annual gala. This year’s gala took place on June 7th at Union Transfer in Philadelphia. Young emerging philanthropists, local volunteers, and youth nonprofits all gathered together to feast on a buffet dinner provided by Marathon Grill, 4th Street Deli, Shake Shake, while dancing to Swift Technique's horn infused blend of funk and hip hop.
To get a sense of what Spruce looks for in a new grantees, let’s learn a little about the 2014 grant recipients.
- iPRAXIS – The Education Grantee
This Philadelphia nonprofit connects science resources with underserved communities and encourages participation the sciences through outreach and advocacy. iPRAXIS hosts community events about revitalizing science education for Philadelphia’s youth and introduces aspiring minority scientists with established professionals and entrepreneurs.
- Asian Arts Initiative – The Arts Grantee
The Asian Arts Initiative aims to link cultural expression to social change in Philadelphia. This nonprofit supports a wide range of programs including visual art, performance art, arts workshops, and social practice labs.
- The Attic Youth Center – The LGBTQ Grantee
The Attic Youth Center helps Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning youth in Philadelphia grow and develop into healthy and productive adults. It’s youth programming menu features a life skills center, mental health counseling, and community engagement through social activities.
“Spruce’s dedication to LGBTQ youth is basically unparalleled in the philanthropic community,” said Rudy Flesher, Co-President of the Spruce Foundation. “It’s an inspiring reason for our community to make the Spruce Gala part of their weekend.”
- Girls on the Run – The Health & Wellness Grantee
Girls on the Run Philadelphia targets 3rd through 5th grade girls and engages them through 5K run training, problem solving and healthy decision-making. Spruce encourages Spruce philanthropists to volunteer with Girls on the Run as a coach, running buddy, and fundraiser.