The Community Champions Awards & Grants Challenge is an initiative by the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity to celebrate individuals and community-based organizations that have served communities of color and those with low incomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those selected will receive one-time grants or cash assistance.
Individuals must be nominated by a non-profit, community-based organization, elected official, and/or City commission or board, and be able to demonstrate financial hardship. If selected, individuals will receive one-time cash assistance of $2,500.
Nonprofit organizations that have served marginalized communities during the pandemic or are experiencing financial hardship related to the pandemic may apply. If selected as a finalist, organizations will advance to online public voting. The 10 organizations with the most votes will receive a $20,000 grant. Ten runner-ups will receive $12,500.
Eligibility Criteria for Individuals (now closed)
- Must be nominated by a non-profit organization, community-based organization, elected official and/or City commission or board
- Must live in Philadelphia as a permanent, year-round resident
- Must have provided community service or volunteerism during the pandemic (between March 17, 2020 and March 14, 2022)
- Must be able to demonstrate household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (i.e., supplying a 2019 or 2020 tax return or similar documentation that demonstrates income)
- Must be able to demonstrate an emergency financial hardship (i.e., a utility shutoff notice, eviction notice, or similar financial crisis)
- Must not be currently employed by the City of Philadelphia
- Must be eligible to receive Financial Assistance under Section 17-1404 of the Philadelphia Code
Eligibility Criteria for Nonprofit Organizations (now closed)
- Must be based in Philadelphia and benefit Philadelphians
- Must submit documentation demonstrating an annual budget under $1 million
- Must have current 501(c)(3) IRS status or a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) IRS status and be in good standing with the IRS
- Must serve Philadelphians at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level
- The activities this grant will fund must have begun during the period of March 17, 2020 to March 14, 2022.
(for each additional person in the household 5 or greater, add $9,440)
|Maximum Income (200% FPL)|
Note: Nominees and applicants are only eligible to receive financial assistance in one category.
Where and How to Apply
Entries can be submitted through an online application portal. The deadline for nonprofit entries was Monday, April 11. The deadline for individual nominations was Wednesday, April 20.
How Grants and Awards Will Be Decided
Decisions for individual awards will be made by a Selection Committee comprised of a diverse group of City employees, nonprofit, private sector, and community leaders. Selections will be based on the community service or volunteerism described by the nominating body and the emergency financial hardship. NOTE: The City of Philadelphia reserves the complete and absolute right to determine which individuals and entities will be financial assistance from this program based on the criteria described or for any other reason determined by the City.
All eligible applications for nonprofit organizations will be reviewed and scored by the Selection Committee. The twenty (20) highest-scoring applications will advance to online voting, which can be accessed from an online voting portal. Final decisions will be determined through online voting. The ten (10) community-based organizations with the most votes will receive a $20,000 grant; the runners-up will receive a $12,500 grant.
How the Funds Can Be Used
Individuals must use funds to address their financial hardship. Organizations may use funds to support payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, or other operating expenses and/or to provide and organize mutual aid projects.
Ten (10) selected individuals will receive $2,500 cash assistance.
Ten (10) nonprofit organizations will receive $20,000 each (winners of online voting).
Ten (10) nonprofit organizations will receive $12,500 each (runner-ups of online voting).
- To receive grant funding or financial assistance, all individuals and entities must be eligible to receive Financial Assistance under Section 17-1404 of the Philadelphia Code.
- Please note: to be considered for funding, nominations and applications must be submitted according to the deadlines, eligibility, and format as set forth in these guidelines. The City of Philadelphia reserves the complete and absolute right to determine which individuals and entities will be awarded grants or financial assistance from this Program based on the criteria described or for any other reason determined by the City.
- Prior to receiving grants or financial assistance, all individuals and entities will be required to sign a grant agreement provided by the City.