Since launching in April 2021, the KCR Fund has granted $400,000 in flexible, general operating grants
PHILADELPHIA — The City of Philadelphia today announced the second round of $200,000 in grant awards from the Kensington Community Resilience Fund (KCR Fund), a public-private-community partnership between community members, local government, regional funders, and Bread & Roses Community Fund focused on addressing quality of life impacts of the opioid crisis in the Kensington, Harrowgate, and Fairhill neighborhoods.
“We are pleased to announce that 20 grassroots organizations and community groups selected by residents will receive $10,000 grants for general operations. Since launching last April, the KCR Fund has granted $400,000 in flexible grants that allow these community-based organizations to advocate for the quality of life improvements and opportunities their communities deserve. This work is for Kensington by Kensington, and our goal is to help build neighborhoods in which all residents can thrive,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.
Core to the KCR Fund’s approach is its 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. Residents and community leaders have been integral to the process, from setting funding priorities eligibility criteria to reviewing applications and deciding which programs and organizations will receive funding.
KCR Fund grants provide general operating support in the amount of $10,000 per grant that can support a wide range of uses and it is intended to give organizations and projects as much flexibility as possible to carry out their work supporting the Kensington community. This is a particularly critical resource for small, BIPOC-led, and serving grassroots organizations based in the Kensington area, many of which have limited capacity for fundraising or access to traditional philanthropy sources.
Roxy Rivera, a long-time resident of the Kensington area and Community Grantmaking Committee member remarked of her participation in the KCR Fund, “I’m truly fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Kensington Community Resilience Fund. I hope that through this work, families for many generations will enjoy and live the vision we all have for our beautiful, diverse, and resilient community. It’s been an honor to work with wonderful residents who are devoted to this goal.”
The KCR Fund supports the following six issue areas identified as top priorities by community residents in partnership with Kensington nonprofit, faith, and civic leaders:
- 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
To date, the KCR Fund has awarded $400,000 in total funds. It awarded its first round of $200,000 in grants in July 2021 to 20 nonprofit organizations and community-led initiatives located in and serving Kensington, Harrowgate, and Fairhill.
The Sisters of St. Joseph Welcome Center in Kensington was one of the first-round recipients. Sister Kathy McShane, the Center’s Director, shared her perspectives on receiving this funding: “We are so grateful for this grant which gave us the opportunity to reach out to so many of our families with assistance during this very difficult time. We have been able to help our families with food, food cards, assistance with rent and utility bills, medical bills, and such. We’ve also been able to continue our classes in English, citizenship preparation, and other outreach services.”
The second round of $200,000 in funding was awarded this February to a new group of 20 grantees. Groups covered programming across the Fund’s focus areas, with many targeting services to young people in the community. Round two grantees include:
- Beyond the Bars
- By Faith, Health and Healing
- Centro Nueva Creación
- Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation
- Fab Youth Philly
- Firm Hope Baptist Church
- Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank
- Historic Fair Hill
- Kensington Meals Program
- Kensington Voice
- Klean Kensington
- Mad Beatz Philly
- Mother of Mercy House
- Rebel Arts Movement
- Somerset Neighbors for Better Living
- Stay True
- Visitation BVM School
- We Love Philly
- Yoga 4 Philly
- Zerbe Artz
One of the newest grantees, By Faith, Health and Healing, will use the dollars to expand and grow their services offering healthy choices and support to Kensington residents healing from trauma and the tragedies taking place in the community. Founder Brenda Mosley noted, “Through trauma-informed care sessions and the arts, we offer healing from loss of loved ones to gun violence, incarceration, and addiction. We provide safe spaces, peer support groups, art-based workshops, peer specialists to address mental health issues, nutritional classes in making healthier choices, and field trips to collaborate with other organizations that offer hope and build sustainable relationships.” Mosley shared that her organization will open a re-entry program for youth returning from prison this spring, which will offer educational skills and a peer support specialist to address traumatic issues and help participants prepare for job opportunities and hope for a brighter future.
Mosley has also served as a member of the Fund’s Community Grantmaking Committee, an experience she described as very rewarding and empowering. “Working collaboratively with a group of powerful men and women that has nothing but passion and love for their community has empowered me and given strength, motivation, and inspiration for the residents in the Kensington community.”
Recognizing that many of these groups do not yet have 501c3 certification, the KCR Fund is open to fiscally sponsored entities. The Fund also partnered with local nonprofit agencies such as Impact Services, HACE, and New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) to serve as fiscal sponsors for applicants in need of a sponsor, and helped to match these groups when needed.
About the Fund, and How to Support it
The KCR Fund Learning Community will be launched this spring, providing peer-based learning and training opportunities to build the capacity of grantee organizations and foster connections and cohesion among Kensington-area nonprofit providers. An evaluation of the Fund’s participatory model is also underway in partnership with the ImpactED and the Fels Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.
The KCR Fund welcomes contributions from foundations, corporations, and individual donors. You can make a gift to the Kensington Community Resilience Fund at breadrosesfund.org/kcrf/. Bread & Roses Community Fund serves as the fund administrator and facilitation partner. The Fund continues to seek additional support for future rounds of funding. Please contact Ashley Feuer-Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or to discuss a gift to the KCR Fund.
More information about the KCR Fund is available online. The KCR Fund is possible because of generous support from the following funders: Scattergood Foundation, The Douty Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation, K10 Kids Foundation, Patricia Kind Family Foundation, the City of Philadelphia, and the Nelson Foundation