Grants will support grassroots organizations and community groups in Kensington through community-driven, participatory grantmaking process

PHILADELPHIA – The City today announced the “Kensington Community Resilience Fund,” (KCR Fund) a public-private-community partnership between community members, the City of Philadelphia, and regional funders to explicitly address the community impacts of the opioid crisis in Kensington. 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 their hands.

“I am convinced that the Kensington Community Resilience Fund will be an important step to improve the quality of life in Kensington as we fight the scourge of opioids,” said Mayor Kenney. “I’m particularly pleased that grants will be evaluated by Kensington residents–for who knows better about the needs of this great but challenged community than those who live there. I want to thank all of those who have stepped up to make this happen, particularly the funders — and I hope their philanthropy will encourage others to join in this vital effort.”

KCR Fund grants will provide flexible, general operating support in the amount of $10,000 per grant. 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.

“We know that community organizations have been forced to shoulder the burden of the opioid crisis for far too long with far too few resources. The KCR Fund is an opportunity to invest in this community and in the resilience, grit, and passion of the residents that are so committed to each other and to building up their neighborhoods,” noted Joanna Otero-Cruz, Deputy Managing Director for Community Services. “The KCR Fund fundamentally shifts the power dynamics between funder and grantee in a way that embodies that kind of equity and social justice that is needed to build lasting, systemic change.”

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.

As noted by Jennifer Leith, Executive Director of the Douty Foundation,“This is an approach to funding support that is talked about in various philanthropic circles, and to me it is really gratifying that this group is moving on this approach of trust-based community centered grantmaking, and that this fund is centered on the number one asset of the Kensington community – its people. It harnesses the power, the passion, and the voice of the full community and gives it the tools and resources to plan its future, embodying the notion ‘no decisions about us without us.’”

The 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. Any organization that is a 501(c)3 or has a fiscal sponsor and is located or providing services in the Kensington community, is eligible to apply. Smaller, grassroots organizations are particularly encouraged to apply.

Three distinct groups will guide the grant making process:

  • Grantmaking priorities, levels, and eligibility criteria have been developed and approved by a Community Advisory Committee comprised of individuals representing Kensington-serving community-based organizations, civic associations, and faith-based organizations.
  • Grant applications will be reviewed and evaluated by a Community Grantmaking Panel comprised entirely of Kensington residents, who will then provide recommendations for grant awards to the KCR Fund Steering Committee of funders and city representatives charged with overseeing the management functions of the Fund.
  • The KCFR Steering Committee will provide final approval for the release of funding as proposed by the Community Grantmaking Panel, along with general oversight and guidance, management of the fund administrator, and fundraising support.

Discussing his involvement in the Fund, Harry Tapia, a Kensington resident and Director of Operations at HACE, noted “As a product of the Kensington neighborhood I am honored to be part of this innovative process to improve the quality of life for residents. The collaboration between residents, private and public sector gives me hope of a better tomorrow.  I look forward to working with the Community Grantmaking Panel and giving residents true power to activate change. True change is achieved when residents are the focus and get involved in the decision making process. People of Kensington are resilient and together we will overcome the challenges of the opioid crisis.”

The Fund currently has secured commitments of nearly $200,000 which will be directed back into the community through grants and stipends for community participants during the first round of funding. Lead funders include The DoutyFoundation, Scattergood Foundation, K10 Kids Foundation, Patricia Kind Family Foundation, and the City of Philadelphia. The Fund continues to seek additional support to reach its funding target of $500,000 by the end of year one (2021).

Joe Pyle, President of the Scattergood Foundation, implored other funders to join in this effort, “I think the community will do its part to make great grants and I think philanthropy needs to follow. I challenge others to make investments in this fund to allow community members to do good in their community.”

Organizations who wish to apply can find additional information on the fund at There will be a virtual information session on Thursday, May 6, 2021, and applications are due Wednesday, May 26, 2021. The first group of KCRF grantees is expected to be announced in July 2021, with a second round of funding anticipated in fall 2021.

The KCR Fund welcomes contributions from foundations, corporations, and individual donors. You can make a gift to the Kensington Community Resilience Fund at  Please contact Ashley Feuer-Edwards ( with any questions or to discuss a gift to the KCR Fund.