Equitable Public Space Giving Project makes $450,000 in grants to 20 grassroots groups in Philadelphia and Camden

At Bread & Roses Community Fund, we believe that grassroots organizing led by communities most affected by injustice is essential to overcoming systems of oppression. Our 2019-2020 Equitable Public Space Giving Project, a partnership with the William Penn Foundation, brought together 18 determined volunteers from across differences of race, class, gender, and age to engage in a transformative process of collective giving, fundraising, grantmaking, and community building.

Members of the 2019-2020 Equitable Public Space Giving Project

Over three months, Giving Project members raised $150,000 for grants from 366 donors! The money they raised was matched 2:1 by a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation, and in March 2020, Giving Project members made $450,000 in 2-year grants to 20 grassroots groups using community organizing to promote equitable public space.

WHYY’s Meir Rinde was in attendance for the Giving Project’s decision-making day and wrote about the process in a piece on March 12 titled “Why 18 strangers spent 6 months raising $150,000 for Philly public spaces.”

The 20 Equitable Public Space Fund grantees are organizing their communities to create equitable public spaces in parks, libraries, recreation centers, greenways, waterways, community gardens, community centers, plazas, and play areas in Philadelphia and Camden.

Soil Generation — $50,000 

Soil Generation is expanding their Threatened Gardens Campaign to push forward equitable policies that reduce barriers for people of color and low-income communities to access land and grow food. 

Urban Tree Connection — $30,000 

Urban Tree Connection is repurposing vacant lots in West Philadelphia’s Haddington neighborhood for communal growing and gathering, sustainable food production and affordable food distribution, and intergenerational health, wellness, and political education.  

VietLead — $30,000 

Vietlead is growing their intergenerational Resilient Roots Community Farm in Camden by cultivating neighborhood ownership and co-creation, making the farm more publicly accessible, incorporating art and cultural knowledge, and launching a campaign against gentrification. 

Asian Americans United — $20,000 

Asian Americans United is organizing around Chinatown’s changing public spaces, including protection of the Inch by Inch Garden, educational programming around public space equity, and publishing recommendations for equity in Chinatown. 

Black and Brown Workers Cooperative — $20,000 

Black and Brown Workers Cooperative is organizing to reclaim land, conducting teach-ins about community land trusts, and bringing art and disruption actions to public spaces. 

Coalition of African Communities — $20,000 

Coalition of African Communities is expanding access to public parks and libraries for African and Caribbean immigrants by hosting events and trainings in public spaces as well as conducting legislative advocacy campaigns to build more soccer infrastructure. 

Cooper Grant Neighborhood Association and Concerned Citizens of North Camden — $20,000 

Cooper Grant Neighborhood Association and Concerned Citizens of North Camden are working in coalition to expand access to public spaces controlled by Rutgers University Camden by organizing residents, distributing multilingual information, and creating guerilla marketing campaigns. 

Healing Communities USA — $20,000 

Healing Communities USA is using a restorative justice approach to expand access to public spaces for communities impacted by the criminal legal system. 

Holly Street Neighbors Community Garden, an initiative of UC Green — $20,000 

Holly Street Neighbors Community Garden, an initiative of UC Green, is amplifying its role in West and Southwest Philadelphia by serving as an accessible and therapeutic community space for events, education and arts. 

MOVES — $20,000 

MOVES is working to create access to community-controlled spaces in which Black and Brown LGBTQ people can create, critique, explore, enjoy, and perform art.  

Mt. Vernon Manor CDC — $20,000 

Mt. Vernon Manor CDC is partnering with the Friends of the Mantua Greenway and the Mantua Urban Peace Garden to organize community members, create a succession plan for the older generation of leaders, and steward local green spaces. 

National Institute for Healthy Human Spaces — $20,000 

National Institute for Healthy Human Spaces is working with the Camden NAACP and Friends of Cooper River Open Space Equity Group to push officials to remediate and open up public spaces that have remained polluted for over 20 years. In Philadelphia, they are working with Native American House Alliance to build awareness of local historic sites and promote open space and land justice.  

Norris Square Community Alliance — $20,000 

Norris Square Community Alliance is promoting equitable development through their Nuestro Barrio Project, which organizes to secure public ownership of vacant lots that have been used as public spaces for years and to steward these spaces to meet the needs and wants of their community.  

One Art Community Center — $20,000 

One Art Community Center is increasing community land ownership, expanding accessibility, cultivating educational programming, creating coworking spaces, and building a community kitchen and a library.  

Philadelphia Black Pride — $20,000 

Philadelphia Black Pride is organizing to make William Way LGBT Community Center more equitable and welcoming to Black LGBTQIA people by hosting events, developing leaders from the Black LGBTQIA community, and increasing the number of Black LGBTQIA people accessing resources and services at William Way. 

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign — $20,000 

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is partnering with United Steelworkers (USW) Local 4889 to create a public “free store,” expand their community center hours, create a community farm, and build a labor history and activism library.  

Senior to Senior Community Outreach — $20,000 

Senior to Senior Community Outreach is expanding their campaign to address food insecurity in senior communities by developing a series of forums to discuss accessibility of public spaces such as community gardens and libraries for seniors. 

Spiral Q — $20,000 

Spiral Q is claiming public space using art activism in order to center and honor people working against oppression and discrimination and to connect people and movements for change. 

Urban Creators — $20,000 

Urban Creators is investing in amenities that enable their neighbors to use their 2-acre farm on their own time and terms and establishing a neighborhood marketplace that offers local businesses and entrepreneurs opportunities to generate revenue and develop their businesses.  

William Way LGBT Community Center — $20,000 

William Way LGBT Community Center is expanding their free and low-cost space-sharing program to specifically meet the needs of people of color, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people.


Interested in joining an upcoming Giving Project at Bread & Roses? Visit our Giving Project page to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *