Pew Awards $8M to Address Maternal and Infant Health, LGBTQ+ Youth Wellness and Stability, and Teacher Shortage in Philadelphia

Grants include $4.5M to expand maternal home visiting services, $2.5M to focus on LGBTQ+ youths’ well-being, and $750K to address educator workforce needs

A child reads a hardcover book at Maternity Care Coalition’s Early Head Start child care and early education center in South Philadelphia. In the background, a few other children and an adult sit nearby.
Tessa Marie Images

PHILADELPHIA—The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that it has awarded more than $8 million to Philadelphia-area nonprofit organizations working to improve maternal and infant health for low-income families; increase the availability of health, housing, and social services for LGBTQ+ youth; and test new approaches to address the city’s K-12 teacher shortage, with a focus on attracting and retaining a diverse workforce. The 11 grantees support thriving local communities and seek to eliminate disparities in well-being based on race or income.

“It is a privilege to support organizations that are building solutions to some of the most significant health and social issues of our time,” said Kristin Romens, project director of the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services in Philadelphia. “Pew’s grants will help these organizations grow and improve their programs, fill service gaps, and broaden the evidence base for social solutions so that more Philadelphians can thrive.”

The new grants are detailed below, grouped by focus area, along with some supporting data.

Improving maternal and infant health

Philadelphia’s infant mortality rate is 40% higher than the nation’s, with Black infants twice as likely as White infants to die in their first year of life. Nearly two-fifths of Black children in Philadelphia live below the poverty level, and they are over 1.5 times more likely to be born prematurely, one of the leading causes of infant mortality. And non-Hispanic Black women in the city are four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Pew’s four grants in this area seek to improve health outcomes for parents and infants and promote young children’s social, emotional, and intellectual development using a variety of approaches.

  • Maternity Care Coalition has been awarded $2.5 million over five years to expand its home visiting services from 1,100 to 2,250 families and its doula program from 290 to 580 families, with a focus on underinvested neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. Also with Pew’s support, the organization will streamline data collection to determine which programs to expand, add, or eliminate, and identify new communities to prioritize for growth.
  • Maternal and Child Health Consortium (MCHC) will receive $1 million over five years to expand its evidence-based home visiting programs to address poor maternal and infant health outcomes in underserved ZIP codes in Chester and Montgomery counties, focusing on low-income Black and Latino families. The organization aims to increase participation in its Healthy Start prenatal care access program by 80%, to serve 450 families, and also boost participation in its Family Benefits program by 25%, to reach 2,800 families. Pew’s funding will help MCHC expand its staff to keep up with growing client needs and conduct an in-depth analysis of unreached populations in its service area, and to identify opportunities for operational and program improvements with input from clients, staff, and community stakeholders.
  • ParentChild+ has been awarded $1 million over five years to double the number of families it serves to more than 400 annually. With Pew’s support, the organization will expand to new communities, including Northeast Philadelphia and Delaware County, where growing immigrant populations have increased demand for its services. ParentChild+ offers two research-based programs: The One-on-One Model, in which community-based early learning specialists who are a linguistic and cultural match with families visit parents and their 16-to-48-month-olds twice a week, working with parents to support social-emotional development and school readiness; and the Home-Based Child Care Model, which extends support to adults in the community—family members, friends, and neighbors—who are caring for children in their homes, to enrich adult-child interaction and family engagement and build school readiness skills.
  • The Philly Joy Bank will receive $250,000 over two years to provide 250 families in low-income communities with guaranteed income of $1,000 per month during pregnancy and up to 12 months postpartum. The Joy Bank will collect and evaluate data to determine how guaranteed income affects maternal and infant health and well-being. With improved financial stability, participants will be better able to pay for basic needs such as food, rent, and health care, which can help reduce prenatal stress and decrease the risk of premature births. Enrolled families will also be offered voluntary support such as financial counseling, home visiting, and doula and lactation services. The program—implemented by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health, with the fiscal sponsorship of the Philadelphia City Fund—is run by community-based steering committees that make program decisions.

Addressing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, health care, and related services

Nationally, LGBTQ+ youths are more than twice as likely to be homeless as their cisgender and heterosexual peers, with the share disproportionately higher among young people of color. In Philadelphia, 25% to 40% of young people experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ+, a population that is more likely to sleep on the street, be sexually exploited, and have higher instances of self-harm, trauma, depression, and early death than other young people. Pew’s four grants in this area will help provide these youths with safe housing, life skill development, and mental and physical health care services.

  • Mazzoni Center has been awarded $1.8 million over five years to increase the number of clients it serves from 15,000 to 18,000 annually, with 25% of this growth affecting young people ages 14-24. With Pew’s assistance, the organization will increase outreach to marginalized communities in several of Philadelphia’s most under-resourced neighborhoods. The center provides integrated services that include physical and mental health care as well as resources such as food, legal services, case management, and other social services, regardless of a client’s ability to pay. It also trains other organizations to create safer environments and deliver more affirming services for LGBTQ+ people. Pew’s support will be used to enhance and integrate the organization’s continuum of youth services and strengthen its outreach strategy to provide Philadelphians in historically underserved communities with better access to basic medical services and connect them to more comprehensive site-based and virtual services.
  • GALAEI, a sponsored project of the Urban Affairs Coalition, has been awarded $250,000 over three years to create a strategic plan, offer staff more opportunities for professional development, and improve systems for collecting and analyzing data on programs and events. GALAEI hosts large-scale citywide events like Pride, reaching over 59,000 people, and offers ongoing programming such as weekly affinity groups for LGBTQ+ people around the city; connections to social services, including queer-competent health care providers, housing, and food assistance; and tools for economic advancement. Founded in 1989 as the Gay and Lesbian AIDS Education Initiative to serve LGBTQ Latinos in Philadelphia, the program has evolved and expanded under the Urban Affairs Coalition’s fiscal sponsorship to meet LGBTQ+ people’s needs for social connection and support. It now focuses on queer and transgender people and people of color, including Black and Indigenous people.
  • Valley Youth House and The Attic Youth Center will receive a combined $500,000 over two years to provide safe housing and mental health and life skill services, and coordinate physical health care for 70 LGBTQ+ young adults ages 18-24, with a focus on people of color. Valley Youth House will provide housing for this high-risk group, for which there are limited shelter spaces and no options designed to meet the population’s needs. The Attic Youth Center will complement Valley Youth House’s efforts, providing a holistic set of mental health, life skill, and support services to create opportunities for young people to develop into healthy, thriving adults. Pew’s support will complement a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which covers housing costs but does not provide for comprehensive social supports.

Addressing Philadelphia’s teacher shortage

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has said the commonwealth is facing an “educator workforce crisis” as the number of new teachers declines and retention rates for current teachers fall. Additionally, the lack of diversity in the teacher workforce is a particular concern in Philadelphia, where 86% of students are people of color but only 34% of teachers are people of color. Pew’s three grants in this area aim to increase the number of people who enter the profession and retain them, with a focus on diversity, as there is strong evidence that all students perform better when they have access to racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse teachers.

  • Center for Black Educator Development has been awarded $250,000 over two years to recruit and train quality educators of color by engaging and encouraging Black high school students to consider teaching as a career path. Pew’s support will help the center serve approximately 75 Philadelphia high school students annually through its Teaching Academy and early pipeline programs. This effort is part of a citywide strategy to address the gap in teaching exposure, a critical component in expanding the workforce. Pew’s funding will also help the organization evaluate its career exposure programs’ effectiveness.
  • Elevate 215 will receive $250,000 over two years to help approximately 80 paraprofessionals already working in schools to become certified teachers through the School District of Philadelphia’s Para Pathway Program (PPP). Paraprofessionals are uniquely positioned to help address the teacher shortage, as they often have deep roots in the communities where students live, strong knowledge of and relationships with students and their families, and familiarity with everyday life within schools. Additionally, paraprofessionals are more likely to reflect student demographics in urban schools. Elevate 215 will amplify PPP’s scale and impact by registering PPP as an approved apprenticeship program with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, to unlock public funding and create long-term sustainability, and by also building partnerships with higher education institutions to expand their pathways to teacher certification, in order to increase the number of eligible paraprofessionals in PPP.
  • Teach Plus has been awarded $250,000 over two years to increase teacher retention among educators of color in Philadelphia, where the number of Black teachers has fallen by 10% over the past two decades. Using a model that has shown promise in Illinois, the organization will pilot 40 affinity groups in Philadelphia over the next two years, supporting more than 300 teachers of color. The organization will host culturally affirming monthly sessions that will help educators navigate and improve their school environments. The network will support improved retention rates among teachers of color by decreasing their sense of isolation and strengthening feelings of individual and collective efficacy.

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Founded in 1948, The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. Pew addresses the challenges of a changing world by illuminating issues, creating common ground, and advancing ambitious projects that lead to tangible progress. In our hometown of Philadelphia, Pew is committed to making an impact through research and policy work to help the city navigate challenges, supporting the health and well-being of people facing complex challenges rooted in poverty, encouraging a thriving arts and cultural community, and pursuing civic initiatives to strengthen the area’s appeal to residents and visitors alike. Learn more at Supporting the Greater Philadelphia Area.

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