Human Services

Ensuring everyone in our community has access to the essential services and support they need to thrive

Heating More Homes

An effort to furnish free coal to the poor warms generations of local residents.

In Israel Hecht’s 1926 will, he said that he wanted to “prevent suffering among the poor, and thus assist in contributing to the life and health among them.” He established a private foundation which distributed grants for more than 30 years. When the 1969 Tax Reform Act threatened to imperil the foundation’s performance, the foundation’s assets were transferred to the Philadelphia Foundation, where they continue to support nonprofits meeting heating needs, such as the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.

Supporting Dreamers

Pennsylvania donors spring into action to help child immigrants.

In 2017, those with expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) permits were forced to come up with $495 for a renewal fee on short notice. For many, finding the money so quickly would be nearly impossible. Through a partnership with the PA is Ready! coalition, the Philadelphia Foundation launched a fundraising campaign to help Dreamers pay the fees and remain in their communities legally. More than 230 donors from 13 counties across Pennsylvania contributed nearly $69,000 to the campaign. The funds helped residents originally from Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, and 11 other countries across the globe renew their permits on time.

Building Better Futures

Flexible funding responds to the changing demands of our community.

As our region’s needs change over the years, the Philadelphia Foundation provides grants from undesignated funds to address them. In 2017, the Philadelphia Foundation awarded a $25,000 grant from three undesignated funds – the Ada Wessel Fund, the Joseph H. and Christine M. Walter Fund and the Lloyd H. Bacon Trust – to Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County to support its home ownership and home repair programs. The funds also helped aging and disabled individuals make safety-based repairs to their homes.