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Caring for the Community

by Michelle Boyles

Any economy is only as sound as its community. That means no one can be left behind. Nonprofit groups often fill the gaps that citizens can fall into, from children to adults suffering from illness, disabilities or financial and educational deficiencies or any number of disadvantages. Philly Biz is proud to recognize these 12 organizations for their philanthropic work in our area.

Action Wellness
Action Wellness (formerly ActionAIDS) is one of Pennsylvania’s largest AIDS service organizations. It is committed to helping people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases as well as LGBTQ seniors. Its services include medical case management, a range of health screenings including HIV testing, treatment as prevention, prevention education, supportive housing and volunteer services.

American Heart Association & American Stroke Association
The Heart Association’s mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. That single purpose drives all they do. In addition, they have set a 2020 impact goal: By 2020, the American Heart Association will improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Through its strong network of volunteers, donors and partners, they are always there in times of need. They aspire to turn compassion into action so that all people affected by disaster across the country and around the world receive care, shelter and hope; are ready and prepared for disasters; have access to safe, lifesaving blood and blood products; all members of our armed services and their families find support and comfort whenever needed; and in an emergency, there are always trained individuals nearby, ready to use their Red Cross skills to save lives.

The Arc of Philadelphia
Founded in 1948 by parents who sought better services for their children, The Arc of Philadelphia is one of the first Arc chapters in the United States. The parents who created The Arc labored tirelessly for the equal rights and human dignity of people with disabilities at a time when institutionalization was the norm. In subsequent years, The Arc, through its staff and membership, has become a powerful voice in shaping the service landscape for people with disabilities. In 1990, The Arc formed a service provision arm, SpArc Services, to focus on a mission of vocational training and independent, competitive employment.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region
The donor-supported organization enriches, encourages and empowers children to reach their highest potential through safe, one-to-one mentoring relationships. Volunteering as a Big Brother or Big Sister is about making a measurable difference in a child’s life by sharing new perspectives and experiences. Serving Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties in Pa. and Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties in N.J., nearly 3,700 children annually are more successful socially and academically because of the work they do.

College Possible Philadelphia
College Possible makes college admission and graduation a reality for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. They work to address the unique academic, social and financial barriers that may deter them from earning a college degree. College Possible uses AmeriCorps volunteers to provide “near peer” coaching to high school and college students.

Covenant House Pennsylvania
Covenant House serves runaway, homeless and trafficked youth, including mothers with children, who are 21 years old and under. They find youth on the street through their outreach program, which operates in every zip code in Philadelphia; offer youth stability and sanctuary in their 51-bed residential center with a full continuum of supportive services including health, behavioral health, education and vocation; and help youth cross the bridge to independence in a 20-bed Rights of Passage transitional living program.

endARTSlessness
For thousands of Philadelphia children, “artslessness” is a reality. Each year, there are 10 to 15 schools completely void of any arts and it is completely avoidable. The endARTSlessness campaign, an initiative of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), aims to ensure that every public school in Philadelphia has at least one arts program, serving as a lifeline to lift young people up and out of creative poverty. CY is a family of six choral programs bringing the joy of singing to over 700 young people, half of whom are underserved: Keystone State Boychoir, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Find Your Instrument!, Good Mornin’ Music!, Garden State Girlchoir and New Jersey Boychoir.

Philabundance
Philabundance is the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing food access to approximately 90,000 people a week through its ninecounty service area in Pa. and N.J. Its mission is to drive hunger from its communities today to ultimately end hunger forever. Philabundance works to combat the 750,000 individuals in the area who are food insecure through its free distribution programs and 350 partner agencies. From free produce distributions to in-school feeding programs to its vocational culinary arts program and its nonprofit grocery store, Philabundance serves the community in a variety of ways.

Philadelphia Education Fund
The Philadelphia Education Fund drives exceptional outcomes for all students by developing great teachers and building paths to college and career success. The Ed Fund provides a variety of programs designed to enhance teaching and learning, assist students to access and succeed in postsecondary education and convene and engage public education stakeholders.

MANNA
Founded in 1990 by seven members of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, MANNA’s mission was to help comfort people dying of AIDS at a time when ignorance of AIDS and the stigma associated with the disease was at its height. Often shunned and isolated from family and friends, these people often found MANNA to be the only source of love and care they knew—as well as the only source of nourishment and nutritional support they needed during their time of medical crisis. MANNA meals helped sustain them during the often dark days and lonely nights that followed their diagnosis.

Unite for HER
Unite for HER provides complementary wellness services to aid men and women affected by breast cancer. Each year, approximately 1,000 patients are eligible to receive complementary therapy treatments courtesy of Unite for HER. Through nutrition consultations, therapy and counseling sessions, Unite for HER helps restore the part of recovery that doctors do not cure during treatments. With 14 local hospital partnerships within the Greater Philadelphia area and N.J.,Unite for HER is able to treat 1,000 women per year with $2,000 worth of services.

Published (and copyrighted) in Philly Biz, Volume 1, Issue 11 (November, 2016).
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