Explore. Learn. Connect.

All posts in Archives | All posts

First Step

12/19/2016 |

First Step was founded in Atlanta, Georgia on the principle that people who want to work to end their homelessness should be connected to work and any necessary supports as soon as possible. From 2007 to 2015, First Step operated similarly to a small staffing agency, except that they prioritized people who had had no home address for 36 months and had been unemployed for 24 months or longer. In that period they helped 2,400 homeless individuals reenter the workforce and secured benefits for more than 1,200 people. Next, First Step took a bold move to get their operations to scale and acquired a for-profit staffing agency and converted it to a nonprofit. Since the acquisition, employment has grown to 1,000 individuals working daily, revenues have increased to over $21 million and First Step is nearly 100 percent self-sustaining. First Step is exploring launching a similar venture in Philadelphia. Barra’s grant will support their hiring of a broker to identify a firm for acquisition and subsequently provide initial seed funding to help attract additional investors.

Child & Family Connections

12/19/2016 |

Custody loss rates for parents with mental illness can be as high as 70-80 percent, even when evidence of neglect has been refuted and the court has acknowledged the parent’s adequacy. Recognizing that family reunification is a slow and costly process, Child and Family Connections (CFC) will take a different approach. CFC wants to reduce emergency removals in the first place by intervening while parents are healthy—before a crisis occurs. CFC will work with a partner organization to finalize the program design, conduct a year-long pilot, complete evaluation and disseminate lessons learned.

LISC

12/19/2016 |

Frustrated by continued blight and the many barriers to residential redevelopment in Germantown, real estate developer Ken Weinstein founded Jumpstart Germantown. Jumpstart is a new model of community development that trains, networks and finances local aspiring developers to rebuild their neighborhood and become successful developers themselves. Jumpstart’s success is due largely to the resources—experience, connections and capital—provided by Weinstein as well as suitable market conditions in Germantown. Excited about the model’s impact, community leaders from across the city have asked Weinstein to duplicate the program in their communities. Happy to have sparked imaginations, but also recognizing that each neighborhood has diverse needs and assets, Weinstein partnered with LISC to develop tools to help community leaders adapt and implement Jumpstart programs for themselves.

The Zoological Society of Philadelphia

12/19/2016 |

The Zoological Society of Philadelphia (Zoo) is challenging itself to lead the evolution of zoos from “safari-like” zoo experiences on large tracts of land remote from cities to urban assets that enhance the quality of life in more densely populated areas. By embracing its surrounding neighborhoods and working with them through community engagement, the Zoo will spearhead projects that will strategically leverage the Zoo’s assets and location for the direct benefit of its community. This strategy has been practiced by other anchor institutions, such as meds and eds, but this type of community engagement is new for zoos. Given its national leadership role, the Zoo has an opportunity to help other zoos see how they can creatively adapt their roles—and still stay true to their missions.

Pearl S. Buck International

12/19/2016 |

Given its role as the guardian of Pearl Buck’s home and message of cultural understanding, compassion and advocacy, Pearl S. Buck International (PSBI) is in a unique position to lead difficult conversations in today’s charged environment that have the potential to spur change.  PSBI will transform their visitor experience, moving from a traditional docent led tour that delivers information about the Bucks County site and Ms. Buck’s life and replace it with a dynamic new tour focused on social justice issues such as race, inequality and inclusion, which will be complemented by exhibitions, programming and printed materials. To highlight the creative adaptation of their model, PSBI will rebrand to reflect their new focus on the ideas championed by Ms. Buck, which are her true legacy. PSBI will share their process so as to inspire other historic sites with their willingness to reinvent  their approach to the past in order to amplify its impact into the future.

National Constitution Center

12/19/2016 |

Sometimes change may not seem dramatic from the outside but has the potential to shift thinking. Developed in partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department and former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, the National Constitution Center’s program Policing in a More Perfect Union  (Program) aspires to mend fractured police-community relations with training that educates Philadelphia officer-recruits in the rights and restrictions defined by the Bill of Rights and then unites recruits with students who lead an unusual conversation on police-community relations that benefits both populations. Funding will allow the Center to extend the nascent  Program to law enforcement trainees throughout the Greater Philadelphia region, including in-service officers, and to students from a variety of regional high schools. The Program—the only one of its kind—has the potential to not only impact police officers and youth but also the larger community as these two constituencies build bridges and authentic engagement.

Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

12/19/2016 |

Cultural organizations significantly lag behind other parts of the entertainment sector in gathering and using data to understand and market to their audiences. They lack access to sophisticated data and are constrained by limited budgets and capacity to utilize the data that is available. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance will work with Jacobson Consulting Applications to develop the AIDb (Audience Intelligence Database).  This will be a transformational tool for audience engagement as it can aggregate and translate complex real-time data into user-friendly dashboards, enabling arts groups to quickly understand key findings and apply them to their engagement strategies. Funding will provide for a cohort of ten museums to participate in the piloting of AIDb. Based on learnings during the pilot, AIDb will be expanded so that more organizations can participate and benefit from the large scale of data to be collected from participating organizations in Philadelphia and perhaps other cities.

New Day Chester, Inc.

11/16/2016 |

Several recent developments have provided an opportunity for mission-aligned investment in Chester, PA.  After many years of decline and then vacancy, entrepreneurs are returning to Avenue of the States. With strong entrepreneurial leadership emerging, the arts are poised to ignite an urban renaissance in Chester. Unlike other artist driven urban revivals, the leaders are from Chester and are dedicated to developing and showcasing local talent for local audiences, nurturing arts enterprises and creating a distinct Chester arts movement. A Program-Related Investment (PRI) in the form of a low-interest loan to New Day Chester, Inc. will provide the funding needed to continue rehabbing three of the six buildings, which will be at the core of the arts district.  Since this would be Barra’s first PRI there is a significant opportunity for Barra to learn, and share its learning, about this emerging tool for foundations and nonprofits.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

11/16/2016 |

Adolescents’ unreliable use of healthcare comes at a time when they are at particularly high risk for health problems such as unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and mental health disease. Unfortunately, adolescents tend to view the doctor’s office as a place to go only when they are sick and not for wellness and preventative healthcare. At the new South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center, CHOP’s Adolescent Initiative will test a new model of adolescent care: Prevention Health Link for Youth (PHLY). PHLY will demonstrate whether an integrated location of library, recreation center and health center, connected by integrated services, can produce significantly better outcomes than a health center alone. This unique space allows the Adolescent Initiative to design and implement a model that can overcome longstanding barriers to adolescent health, increase participation in services and ultimately result in better health.

Barnes Foundation

11/16/2016 |

Like many museums, the Barnes Foundation (Barnes) struggles with how to find the right mix of content to share with visitors without weighing them down with cumbersome audio devices or long-form content that slows the flow through the galleries. The Barnes will test a new approach for engaging visitors using short-form content and wearable technology intended to encourage visitors to engage more with the art and each other. Data will be designed to tie to the Barnes’ visitor database allowing for greater integration with evolving audience development efforts.  The Barnes will share its learning in order to inspire other museum professionals to rethink how they engage with their guests—both during their visit and afterwards.

©The Barra Foundation
   
Philadelphia, PA
   
(610) 964-7601
   
info@barrafoundation.org

Site by Maskar Design.