What’s Pew Charitable Trusts Been up to in Hometown Philadelphia Lately?

The Pew name is closely associated with national public opinion polls, policy research reports, and high level philanthropy tackling the biggest issues of the day.  

So it can be easy to forget that Pew Charitable Trusts is also very much a local funder making grants to improve life in its hometown of Philadelphia. (Read Pew Charitable Trusts: Philadelphia Grants). In fact, Philadelphia is the only individual city on Pew’s priority radar, so what exactly has Pew been doing in Philly lately?

These are some of the most recent (June 2014) local Pew grants.

  • $150,000 to Federation of Neighborhood Centers to provide job training and physical and mental health support to low-income individuals in Philadelphia
  • $154,000 to Tech Impact for technology training and job development services to underemployed and unemployed young adults in Philadelphia
  • $115,000 to Community Learning Center to provide counseling and other support to adult literacy students in Philadelphia
  • $200,000 to the American Red Cross to provide the Nurse Assistant Training program for low-income individuals with limited skills in the Philadelphia area
  • $225,000 to Philadelphia Youth for Change Charter School to provide high-school dropouts with vocational training and job placement assistance
  • $200,000 to Women’s Opportunities Resource Center to offer small-business training and related services to low-income women

Pew’s primary local missions have been to support arts and culture organizations and institutions that enhance the wellbeing of the region’s neediest citizens. Historically, most arts grants have gone to individual artists, cultural organizations, museums, libraries, parks, and historic buildings in Philadelphia.

This recent round of grants suggests that the Trust is seeing jobs and workforce development as an urgent local need. Arts and culture grantmaking through the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is still active, but an increasing number of local grants have recently been going to employment assistance for vulnerable populations.  

This June 2014 round of grantmaking came after a Pew report titled, “Philadelphia: The State of the City” was released on April 5, 2014. After a thorough examination of Philadelphia's condition, the report concluded:

The job market in Philadelphia is sluggish, although it has shown some signs of life. Last year, there were an estimated 3,800 more jobs in the city than the year before; and for the first time, the total was higher than in 2008, the last year before the Great Recession hit with full force. Many other cities had moved beyond their pre-recession job totals in previous years.

Perhaps Pew sees a light at the end of Philadelphia’s unemployment tunnel, a light that would shine a little brighter after some financial contributions for training programs and placement assistance.

Keep in mind that local support is limited to nonprofits located in and providing services in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. Since its inception in 1991, the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services in Philadelphia has awarded approximately $180 million to more than 300 local health and human service nonprofit organizations. In recent grant cycles, Pew has requested Letters of Intent for programs serving vulnerable adults, elderly people, and children. For the past several years, local Pew grants have averaged $100,000 to $200,000 in size.

If your organization would like to be notified when the Pew Fund grant application schedule is posted, call 215-575-4865 and ask to be added to the Pew Fund mailing list.