About the Kensington Community Resilience Fund
Rich in civic pride, cultural diversity, and neighbors who care deeply about one another and their community, the Greater Kensington neighborhood of Eastern North Philadelphia embodies the meaning of community resilience. As a result of years of disinvestment and lack of economic opportunity, this community has been particularly devastated by the ongoing opioid epidemic in Philadelphia. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these conditions while bringing significant economic challenges for families and local businesses.
Through these challenges, residents and community-based organizations have joined together to support one another and advocate for the quality of life improvements and opportunities they deserve. Area CDCs and social services agencies, faith-based organizations, and civic associations work tirelessly to build a community where community members can live safely and provide for themselves, but have been asked to do far too much with far too few resources.
The Kensington Community Resilience Fund (KCR Fund) answers this need through grants that will advance three key pillars: community empowerment, neighborhood investment, and economic opportunity. Core to its approach is a participatory grantmaking process that elevates resident and community provider experiences and priorities, placing the power to make funding decisions in the hands of those who know best – community members.
A public-private-community partnership between the community, regional funders, Bread & Roses Community Fund, and the city of Philadelphia, the KCR Fund will work to advance the following goals:
- To promote wellness, build resilience, and improve the quality of life in the greater Kensington community
- To increase agency and support equity and racial/social justice by having community partners and residents direct funding decisions
- To build cohesion and connectivity among community providers, residents, and city agencies to support collaboration, information sharing, and alignment of services
- To expand capacity of participants – both organizations and individuals to pursue sustainable, quality-of life focused programming to support the community
- To serve as a catalyst and build the infrastructure to support long-term, sustained investment and partnership with funders in the Kensington community
On July 14, we announced the first round of grants from the KCR Fund, which went to 20 groups in the Kensington, Harrowgate, and Fairhill neighborhoods.
Grant Focus Areas and Guiding Principles
Informed by resident surveys and determined by community providers and residents on the KCR Fund’s Community Advisory Committee, the KCR Fund will provide grants targeting the following six issue areas that have been identified as being most important to community residents. Applicants should be able to demonstrate how their work aligns with, advances, and supports at least one of these areas.
- Public Safety and Gun Violence
- Youth Development (birth to age 24)
- Workforce Development and Training
- Beautification and Blight Removal
- Connecting Residents to Resources
- Building Resilience Addressing Community Trauma
In addition to these issue areas, KCR Fund grantees should share a commitment to advancing the following guiding principles that cut across all key issues, either currently or in their future work:
- Building social cohesion, collaboration, and connectivity
- Utilizing trauma-informed principles and practices
- Being informed by community voices
- Advancing equity and racial and social justice
- Demonstrating cultural competency and relevance
- Being informed by data, evidence, and best practices
The KCR Fund encourages any organization located or providing services in the Kensington community (see boundaries below) to apply for this new place-based funding opportunity. We particularly encourage smaller and grassroots organizations/projects to apply. Additional eligibility requirements include:
- Must be physically located within the following boundaries in the Kensington, Harrowgate, and Fairhill communities, or bring a track record of providing programming/services in this area: Lehigh Avenue to Erie Avenue / 5th Street to Frankford Avenue
- Have current 501(c)3 IRS status OR a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)3 status* and be in good standing with the IRS, including faith-based organizations (*We can help applicants identify a fiscal sponsor if they do not already have one)
- Can demonstrate that funds from this grant will benefit community members living in the boundaries noted above
- Can document how work supports at least one of the six funding issue areas stated above
- Can document and report on use of grant funds
- Demonstrate a commitment to equity and inclusion with respect to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical and cognitive ability, immigration status, and religion, among participants, board members, leadership team and staff
- Have decision makers (board members, leadership team, staff) that reflect the communities being served by the organization/project
Grant Award Size and Uses
All grants will provide flexible, general operating support in the amount of $10,000. This level is intended to give grantees of all sizes the ability to think creatively about their work and to work sustainably over the one-year grant period, including being able to provide fair compensation to those carrying out the work. Small, grassroots organizations and community groups are far too often asked to work from a scarcity model and the KCR Fund seeks to rectify this mindset.
For example, for those who might typically seek smaller ($500 to $1,000) grants for one-time projects like cleanups or block parties, we encourage thinking about ways to build these projects out for a more sustainable impact. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss your proposal.
As general operating grants, funding can support a wide range of uses, including overhead costs (salaries, rent, etc.), program costs, training, events, supplies, stipends, etc. These grants are intended to give organizations and projects as much flexibility as possible to carry out their work supporting the Kensington community.
The deadline for the first round of this fund has now passed.
We anticipate a second round of funding to open in fall 2021.
Helpful Information and Tips
We held a one-hour virtual info session on May 6.
Fiscal Sponsorship: If your organization/project does not currently have a 501(c)3 or fiscal sponsor, we have identified several community-based organizations that are willing to serve as fiscal sponsors for KCR Fund applicants. If you would like more information, please email email@example.com with the following information:
- Project/organization name
- Key staff or project leaders
- Brief summary your work or specific initiative to be funded (1-2 paragraphs)
- Location of your project/organization and the geography being served
Our Participatory Process
Grantmaking priorities, levels, and eligibility criteria have been developed and approved by a Community Advisory Committee that is comprised of individuals representing Kensington-serving community-based organizations, civic associations, and faith-based organizations, many of whom are also Kensington residents.
Special thanks to the KCR Fund Community Advisory Committee for their dedication and contributions to this work:
Hector Ayala, Hispanic Community Counseling Service
Rev. Luis Centeno, Barnabas Transformation Ministries Inc.
Craig Cerrito, The Rock Ministries
Jannette Diaz, Congreso
Carolina DiGiorgio, Congreso
Edward Esquivel, Kensington Neighbors Association
Shannon Farrell, Harrowgate Civic Association
Maria Gonzalez, HACE
Susan Jones, Salvation Army
Pastor Richard Harris, Somerset Neighbors for Better Living
Casey O’Donnell, Impact Services
Debra Ortiz-Vasquez, Esperanza Health
Beatrice Rider, New Kensington CDC (NKCDC)
Harry Tapia, HACE
Patrick Vulgamore, Temple University Health System, Episcopal Campus
Grant applications will be reviewed and evaluated by a Community Grantmaking Panel that is comprised entirely of Kensington residents. These residents will provide recommendations for grants to the KCR Fund Steering Committee, which includes funders and city representatives charged with overseeing the management functions of the Fund. The Steering Committee will provide final approval for the release of funding as proposed by the Community Grantmaking Panel.
In addition to funding support provided, grantees of the KCR Fund will be eligible to participate in a Peer Learning Community that will offer training, capacity building, and peer networking. Specific content shared through the Learning Community will be developed based on input from grantees and other community participants.
This fund is possible because of generous support from the following funders:
Bread & Roses Community Fund serves as the fund administrator and facilitation partner.
History of the KCR Fund
The genesis of this Fund is the work of the Philadelphia Resilience Project (PRP), launched in 2018 as a holistic, multi-faceted emergency response to the situation on the ground in Kensington. The PRP activated and engaged 35 City agencies, as well as a diverse range of community providers, civic organizations, and neighborhood groups, and continued the extensive resident engagement that began with the Gurney Street encampment resolution process in 2017. The PRP has since transitioned into the Opioid Response Unit (ORU), a permanent office charged with implementing a set of long-term strategies to address the opioid crisis in key hot spots, including Kensington. A key mission embodied by both the PRP and ORU has been to mobilize community response, both among residents and partners on the ground, but also among the funding community in order to target critically needed resources and investments into the Kensington community.
In the spring of 2020, the Opioid Response Resource Mobilization Advisory Committee (ORRMAC), comprised of individuals from the funding community, corporate sector, and other institutional partner organizations, was established by the Managing Director’s Office and the ORU, in order to support the City’s efforts around funder engagement and coordination. Since the ORRMAC launched, members have explored various opportunities to support the Kensington community, with several members providing grants for various rapid response needs related to COVID-19, while others have led the planning of a pooled fund to leverage investments of a wide range of funders. This KCR Fund is the result of these efforts.
Make a gift to the Kensington Community Resilience Fund
The Kensington Community Resilience Fund welcomes contributions from foundations, corporations, and individual donors. You can make a gift to the Kensington Community Resilience Fund using our secure online form. Please contact Ashley Feuer-Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to discuss a gift to the fund.
April 27: “‘We know we have to do things differently’: This partnership is ready to invest in Kensington in a new way” by Sabrina Emms, Generocity.org
April 27: “New fund aims to help Kensington community groups address impacts of the opioid crisis” by Tom MacDonald, WHYY
May 5: “City creates fund that gives Kensington residents more power over their neighborhood” by Tom Beck, Star News Philly
May 6: “$10,000 por petición: develan fondos para combatir a la adicción” por Gerardo Pons, Telemundo 62. Click here for English translation of this article
May 11: “Kensington Community Resilience Fund will award $10,000 grants to eligible community groups this summer” by Zari Tarazona, Kensington Voice
July 14: “Philly awards 20 grants to Kensington groups battling opioid crisis” by Aaron Moselle, WHYY
July 14: “Neighborhood nonprofits granted $200K to clean up effects of Kensington’s opioid crisis” by Justin Udo, KYW Newsradio
July 14: “Resident-focused grant program celebrated in Kensington” by Jack Tomczuk, Metro Philadelphia
July 15: “Philadelphia groups addressing impact of opioid crisis receive $10,000 grants” by Brooks Holton, Philly Voice
July 21: “Kensington pushing hard to change the impact of the opioid crisis in its community” by Nathaniel Lee, University City Review
July 21: “City announces first 20 Kensington Community Resilience Fund recipients” by Zari Tarazona, Kensington Voice