Philadelphia Foundation Announces Nonprofit Winners of Key to Community Grants Totaling $1 Million Following Close Race During Public Vote

Economic Prosperity Grant Winners Are HACE, Philabundance and Urban League of Philadelphia; Opportunity Divide Grant Winners Are Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia, TechGirlz and Girls Inc.; and Civic Engagement Grant Winners Are Philadelphia Youth Basketball, Defender Association of Philadelphia and New Leash on Life USA

PHILADELPHIA, PA (July 31, 2019) – Philadelphia Foundation is thrilled to announce the nine winners of its $1 million Key to Community Grants initiative! As part of unique grantmaking initiative, residents of the Greater Philadelphia Region made their voices heard by casting nearly 200,000 votes for 15 deserving nonprofit finalists selected from 200 proposals reviewed by Philadelphia Foundation and three panels of judges. The voting occurred between July 8 and July 26. Following an analysis of the results, the following organizations have been named winners across three grant categories following a close race:

Economic Prosperity: Co-presented by Wells Fargo and the Philadelphia Foundation, grants will fund programs that aim to enhance paths to financial stability and success, especially for those in low- to moderate-income communities.

  • First Place Grant Winner for $200,000: HACE, to increase home ownership in the Fairhill and St. Hugh neighborhoods of North Philadelphia through its “Good Lands Trust” community-based land ownership model.
  • Second Place Grant Winner for $100,000: Philabundance, to teach culinary and life skills to adults with low to no income.
  • Third Place Grant Winner: for $33,000: Urban League of Philadelphia, to expand its program helping West Philadelphians to bank, save and purchase a home.

“Our relationship with the Philadelphia Foundation goes back 100 years, and we couldn’t be more excited to co-present these grants, working together once again to support the initiatives that help level the financial playing field,” said Tiffany Tavarez, V.P. of Community Relations, Wells Fargo.  “Congratulations to the incredible organizations that are improving economic and financial stability for all – we cannot wait to see the greater impact you’ll have in the coming years. You are truly the keys to our community.”

The Opportunity Divide: Co-presented by Comcast NBCUniversal and the Philadelphia Foundation, grants will fund programs that improve equal access to the advantages of technology and digital skills that propel economic mobility.

  • First Place Grant Winner for $200,000: Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia., to support those returning from prison with skills for well-paying HVAC jobs.
  • Second Place Grant Winner for $100,000: TechGirlz, to inspire more girls to pursue careers in technology through free after-school courses.
  • Third Place Grant Winner for $33,000: Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern N.J., to prepare girls to be workforce leaders through hands-on activities and skill development in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“At Comcast NBCUniversal, we believe that increasing access for everyone in our region includes supporting local organizations that are catalysts for growth and change, and we couldn’t be more excited to honor inspiring nonprofits with Opportunity Divide grants,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, Senior Vice President for Community Impact at Comcast and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation. “These organizations are doing vital work to make our region stronger, and we can’t wait to see what else they will accomplish. Our thanks to the public who voted. Congratulations to all the Key to Community winners!”

Community and Civic Engagement: Presented by the Philadelphia Foundation, grants will fund programs that aim to widen participation and community connections and increase equity in our region.

  • First Place Grant Winner for $200,000: Philadelphia Youth Basketball, to expand its Middle School Partnership program which offers young people opportunities to develop as students, athletes and positive leaders.
  • Second Place Grant Winner for $100,000:  Defender Association of Philadelphia, to expand the city’s network of participatory defense hubs, form a Pre-Entry Coalition of social service providers and hold trainings for community members on the criminal justice process.
  • Third Place Grant Winner for $33,000: New Leash on Life USA., to pair at-risk shelter dogs with inmate trainers to increase job opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals and to prepare animals for adoption.

“As the region’s community foundation, we’re very proud of the community’s response to and engagement with the Key to Community grant finalists and winners,” said Pedro A. Ramos, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. “We exceeded our high expectations of heightening public awareness of the power we all have to improve lives by supporting nonprofits.”

“All the contenders did a truly extraordinary job of proposing projects that accelerate or amplify their success, of persuading very experienced judges and of engaging, persuading and activating not only their existing stakeholders but the broader public as well,” Ramos added. Competition was appropriately robust because the initiatives were strong, varied and had broad appeal.”

Leaders from all 15 finalist organizations will be invited to participate in the Philadelphia Foundation’s Leadership Institute in the fall of 2019 and will be included in opportunities for targeted leadership development scholarships and expanded professional network building supported through Bank of America and Eisenhower Fellowships.

About Key to Community Grantmaking

Approximately 200 applications were received in the Key to Community grants initiative. A review panel comprised of Philadelphia Foundation staff, representatives from the grants’ co-presenters and independent experts in the fields of philanthropy and community solutions was tasked with determining the finalists for public voting through research, interviews and evaluation.

Joining Pedro A. Ramos, President & CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation and Diane Melley, Executive Director of PF’s Second Century Initiatives & Corporate Partnerships on the judging panels were:

  • Economic Prosperity: Tiffany Tavarez, V.P. of Community Relations, Wells Fargo; Becki Lynch, Director, U.S. Community Partnerships, GSK; Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake, President, Independence Blue Cross Foundation; Tim McClimon, President, American Express Foundation and Senior V.P. for Corporate Social Responsibility; Doug Oliver, V.P., Communications, PECO; and Michael K. Pearson, Founder and CEO, Union Packaging and a member of Philadelphia Foundation’s Board of Managers.
  • Opportunity Divide: Dalila Wilson-Scott, Senior V.P., Community Impact, Comcast and President, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation; Christine R. Miller, Senior Manager of Foundation Giving, Community Impact; Comcast; Uva Coles, Associate V.P. for Civic and Global Engagement, Widener University; Marc DeCourcey, Senior V.P., U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and leader of its Corporate Citizenship Center; Sophia Lee, Partner & Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Blank Rome; Wes Sommerville, Director, The Lenfest Foundation and Betsy Leebron Tutelman, Senior Vice Provost at Temple University and a member of Philadelphia Foundation’s Board of Managers.
  • Community and Civic Engagement: Michael Days, P. for Diversity and Inclusion, Philadelphia Media Network; Anthony  Forte, Partner, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr; Anuj Gupta, General Manager, Reading Terminal Market; Loree Jones, Chief of Staff, Rutgers University-Camden; Shawn McCaney, Executive Director, William Penn Foundation; Victor Reinoso, Chief Operating Officer, Independent Sector; Susan Sherman, President and CEO, Independence Foundation and Steven Scott Bradley, President and CEO of Bradley & Bradley Associates and a member of Philadelphia Foundation’s Board of Managers.

From July 8-July 26, the public votes decided which ideas received a total $1 million in funding to flourish into action-oriented programs that enhance the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia Region.


Founded in 1918, the Philadelphia Foundation strengthens the economic, social and civic vitality of Greater Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Foundation grows effective philanthropic investment, connects individuals and institutions across sectors and geography, and advances civic initiatives through partnerships and collaboration. A publicly supported foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation manages more than 900 charitable funds established by its donors and makes over 1,000 grants and scholarship awards each year. To learn more, visit