Civic Initiatives

Identifying and advancing civic initiatives through partnership, leadership and collaboration


Strengthening Greater Philadelphia's Future

Joining forces with others to create a vibrant and thriving region is built into the fabric of our role as a community foundation.

Our key 2016 partnerships shared the theme of taking steps now to set the region and its residents on a positive path toward success.

With Comcast Corporation, we co-chair The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s RoadMap for Growth effort. This campaign engages the Philadelphia business and civic communities, neighborhood organizations and city leaders around policies and initiatives that enhance Philadelphia’s economy, encourage civic engagement and support impactful government.

The Philadelphia Foundation serves on the steering committee for A Running Start, a comprehensive citywide early learning plan to improve school readiness and long-term outcomes of the city’s youngest children. It is a crucial component of Shared Prosperity Philadelphia, the city’s comprehensive anti-poverty strategy.

The statewide Pre-K for PA campaign received 2016 financial support through us. It seeks to ensure that all children enter school ready to succeed by extending quality universal Pre-K throughout Pennsylvania, accessible regardless of income level. 

We partnered on the Right Books Campaign with the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, William Penn Foundation and the Lenfest Foundation in a matching gift program that provided 16 classroom libraries for K-3 Philadelphia schools. These curated collections support a wide range of learning styles and reading levels and support the goals of the citywide READ by 4th campaign to have every child read at grade level by age 8.

Together, these partnerships reflect our commitment to making Greater Philadelphia a place where all can thrive.


Taking A Stand On Community And Commonwealth Concerns

We speak out, especially on behalf of the vulnerable, whose voices too often are not heard by those in power.

Joining with other funders as we do so makes for louder, stronger statements that can bring about meaningful change.

In 2016, we supported the Campaign for Fair Education Funding advocating for equitable resources for at-risk students. As a result, the commonwealth now must consider such factors as the number of students living in poverty, the number of English Language Learners and the district’s capacity to raise local funds when appropriating state dollars.

We stood up for vital programs for struggling families by funding the Campaign for What Works, a statewide initiative to support, promote, and highlight the proven, innovative programs in Pennsylvania that provide human and social services to those in need.

Its #IWantToWork Campaign led to the passage of a law that supports young adults with disabilities entering the workforce after high school graduation. The #StrongMomStrongBaby coalition seeks legislation to make postpartum depression a qualifying condition to place children in the “at risk” category for early intervention assessment, tracking, and if needed, additional services.

In a commentary published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, we joined Philanthropy Network and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey in calling for full funding of human services in the state budget.

We take pride in articulating solutions that make a day-to-day difference to those in the Greater Philadelphia region and in galvanizing others to join us.


Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®



The 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia was a significant, once-in-a- generation moment for the region, and presented a unique opportunity for The Philadelphia Foundation to collaborate with others. In the process, empowered teen journalists, helped focus attention on LGBTQ civil rights and offered opportunities to individuals with disabilities.

In addition, we elevated the voice of the charitable sector by partnering with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey on a briefing by the Council on Foundations, the national nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations, and Independent Sector, a national nonprofit coalition committed to advancing the common good.

The Youth News Team covering the 2016 DNC

The Youth News Team that The Philadelphia Foundation co-sponsored with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation allowed 20 high school and five middle school students to gain valuable experience covering the convention from a youth perspective. The Middle School team was interviewed by Time for Kids and another team later received First Place in WHYY’s highly competitive 2016 Youth Media Awards for its film “We Need To Be Represented.”

Our Fund for Children grant to The ARC of Philadelphia allowed 100 individuals with disabilities to experience the excitement of the convention by serving as hotel and hospitality greeters, providing event support and transportation and lending backend support for technology, social media and pre-event registration.

Discussions at the Making The Charitable Sector Politically Relevant briefing.

At our briefing Making the Charitable Sector Politically Relevant, national research was shared for the first time showing that Americans highly value and trust the charitable community. It also showed strong bipartisan support for expanded charitable giving initiatives and increased collaboration between the sector and government. Attendees at the VIP luncheon of The Equality Forum’s 2016 summit that coincided with the convention were welcomed by our President & CEO Pedro A. Ramos. The Forum brought together elected officials, newsmakers and LGBTQ experts to explore such topics as equal protection laws, advancing transgender equality, defeating religious exemption statutes and promoting elder quality of life through the lens of the 2016 Presidential election.

In the fall, we funded the free presentation of Voices of Voting, a hip-hop, jazz and funk play that urged young Philadelphians and their families to consider the value of their vote and cast ballots.

We also partnered with the Committee of Seventy to support the Election Ambassador program, in which 150 Philadelphia high school students worked at polls, provided voter assistance and conducted exit polls.

The thread running through all these activities is the power of the vote to empower progress and the power of philanthropy to reinforce the fundamental value of participating in our democracy.