Kensington Community Resilience Fund will award $10,000 grants to eligible community groups this summer

kensington community resilience fund
Members of city agencies and local service providers meet to discuss available resources in the community on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The KCR Fund will award grants to community organizations and groups in Kensington, Harrowgate, and Fairhill. (Photo by Erin Blewett)

Months before the Kensington Community Resilience Fund launched on April 27, city representatives joined virtual community meetings like “El Barrio es Nuestro” to survey residents about how the upcoming grant opportunity could address the overdose crisis’ impact on the community.

The Kensington Community Resilience Fund is a public-private-community partnership between the City of Philadelphia, funders, and the Kensington, Harrowgate, and Fairhill communities. The fund will award grants to community organizations and groups in those neighborhoods. The first round offers $10,000 grants for general operations.

The city’s appearances at community meetings were a part of a participatory grantmaking approach, which aims to shift decision-making power from government to communities. So far, the process has included surveys that influenced funding priorities and a Community Advisory Committee that shaped the grant application. Coming soon, a Community Grantmaking Panel made up of neighbors will review grant applications.

Read more: City announces first 20 Kensington Community Resilience Fund recipients

Bread & Roses Community Fund, an organization that supports community groups in building economic, racial, and social justice movements in Philadelphia, is the fund administrator and facilitator. 

“For more than 40 years, we have been facilitating community-driven approaches to fundraising and grant making,” said Casey Cook, executive director of Bread & Roses Community Fund, during a city press conference on April 26. “ … The first stage in our work with the fund was to design a process, and then facilitate it with the Community Advisory Committee to establish the fund’s priorities and eligibility criteria for various organizations.”

Bread & Roses will train panelists on the Community Grantmaking Panel and facilitate the application review process, Cook added.

Meanwhile, the city and funders aren’t entirely removed from the process. The KCR Fund’s Steering Committee, which provides oversight, guidance, and manages the fund administrator, is made up of city representatives and funders. This committee will also approve the Community Grantmaking Panel’s recommendations for which applicants should receive the grants.

Deputy Managing Director for Community Services Joanna Otero-Cruz, a member of the Steering Committee, oversees the city’s Community Services division. This division includes city departments like the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), Philly 311, and PHL City ID.

During the city press conference on April 26, Otero-Cruz, who grew up in Fairhill and remains active in the neighborhood, said that community members want to have their voices heard. 

“They know what they need in their community, what works, what doesn’t work,” Otero-Cruz added. 

kensington community resilience fund
Applicants to the fund should be committed to advancing equity, racial, and social justice principles in their current or future work. (Photo by Erin Blewett)

How to apply for the Community Grantmaking Panel

The Community Grantmaking Panel will review grant applications from May to June. To join the panel, you need to live in the Kensington, Harrowgate, or Fairhill neighborhood. 

Applications will be accepted until May 14, 2021. You can find the application on Bread & Roses’ website (click here).

How to apply for the Kensington Community Resilience Fund

The deadline to apply for the Kensington Community Resilience Fund is May 26, 2021. You can find the application on Bread & Roses’ website (click here).  

The KCR Fund’s focus areas are community empowerment, economic opportunity, and neighborhood investment. 

According to the application page, applicants need to explain how their work follows, advances, and supports at least one of the issue areas:

  • Blight removal and beautification
  • Building resilience by addressing community trauma
  • Connecting residents to resources
  • Public safety and gun violence
  • Workforce development and training
  • Youth development from birth to 24 years old

Additionally, applicants should be committed to advancing the following guiding principles in their current or future work:

  • Advancing equity, racial, and social justice
  • Being informed by community voices
  • Being informed by data, evidence, and best practices
  • Building social cohesion, collaboration, and connectivity 
  • Demonstrating cultural competence and relevance 
  • Utilizing trauma-informed principles and practices 
kensington community resilience fund
The City of Philadelphia aims to shift decision-making power from government to communities through a community grant making panel who will review applications for the fund. (Photo by Erin Blewett)

In terms of eligibility, the grant opportunity is for both small grassroots organizations and community groups and larger community organizations in Kensington, Harrowgate, or Fairhill. Applicants must also have 501(c)3 status or a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)3 status.

You can read all the eligibility requirements, here.

According to the application page, Bread & Roses can help connect applicants with potential fiscal sponsors. To start this process, send an email to grants@breadrosesfund.org

According to the city, grant recipients will be announced in early July. The second round of funding is expected for fall 2021, and fundraising efforts for future rounds will continue throughout this year.

“I challenge others to make investments in this fund to allow community members to do good in their community,” said Scattergood Foundation President Joe Pyle, who is a funder, during the city press conference on April 26.

Pyle added that more contributions are needed.

You can make a donation to the fund on Bread & Roses’ website, here.


Editors: Claire Wolters / Designer: Henry Savage

Kensington Voice is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at brokeinphilly.org or follow on Twitter at @BrokeInPhilly.

What did you think about this story? Send a note to editors@kensingtonvoice.com, and we’ll consider publishing it in our Voices section. You can also tell us what you think in person at our neighborhood events.

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