City launches Neighborhood Equitable Recovery Fund

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City officials recently announced the launch of the Neighborhood Equitable Recovery Fund, a partnership between the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) and Bread & Roses Community Fund to support grassroots nonprofit organizations that serve communities of color and those with low incomes, which have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Neighborhood Equitable Recovery Fund is a community-driven grantmaking process in which residents in the affected communities are responsible for evaluating applicants, determining funding priorities, and making funding decisions. The community-driven process, the first of its kind for CEO, advances equity by returning control to the community so that people affected by the issues work toward their own solutions.

“Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic hit communities of color and those with low incomes the hardest, but it has also highlighted and exacerbated the inequities created by systemic racism that many community-based nonprofit organizations have long been challenging,” said Mitchell Little, executive director of CEO in a statement. “As CEO supports our communities during the recovery, we must center the experiences and priorities of residents to ensure that the solutions come from the ground-up and not the other way around. This kind of inclusiveness is both rare for government and philanthropy, but critical to an equitable recovery.”

Nonprofit organizations that are experiencing financial hardship, at risk of closing, or have reduced services due to the pandemic are encouraged to apply. They must have annual operating expenses under $3 million and be physically located in and provide services in Philadelphia. Grants of $15,000 will be made to organizations that work with vulnerable populations around issues including, but not limited to: health education, food distribution, family support, and community organizing to address barriers to support.

Organizations may use funds to support payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, or other operating expenses; and to provide and organize mutual aid projects. This program is funded by a Community Services Block Grant through CEO.

“We believe it is the people doing the work and impacted by injustice who know best where the money needs to go,” said Casey Cook, executive director of Bread & Roses Community Fund in a statement. “That is why all of the decisions at Bread & Roses on where the money goes are made by members of the community. We’re proud to bring our expertise in community-driven grantmaking to this new partnership with CEO.”

The deadline to apply is  Monday, June 7. For more information or to apply, visit breadrosesfund.org/nerf.

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