Read descriptions of these timely, early-stage projects that are aiming to shift practice in the social sector.
ProMedica Foundation (“ProMedica”), the philanthropic arm of the ProMedica healthcare system, has partnered with the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (“GHHI”) and the Philadelphia Energy Authority (“PEA”) on 1,000 Healthy Homes, a program that leverages the work of these three organizations to preserve affordable homes and improve health outcomes. 1,000 Healthy Homes is based on the GHHI Intervention Model, which is a unique, comprehensive process encompassing outreach, centralized intake, resident education, home assessment, health-related housing interventions and resident follow-ups. The partners anticipate completing housing interventions in at least 1,000 Philadelphia homes over three years impacting approximately 4,000 residents. By demonstrating outcomes, ProMedica hopes to bolster the case for increased healthcare investment to address the social determinants of health that result in numerous inequities in Philadelphia and across the country.
Food Connect is challenging the conventional wisdom underlying the traditional hunger relief model using effective data-driven designed technology. Funds will support the design and testing of a Partner Portal, that aims to address three critical problems plaguing the hunger relief network: lack of predictability, communication barriers and seamless collaboration. The Portal will enable large frontline hunger organizations, food donors and food donation recipients to easily communicate needs and availability to take advantage of the abundance of existing resources that are being massively underutilized. The Portal will act as a one-stop-shop for hunger relief organizations whose singular goal is to feed the hungry. This integrated approach to connecting food donors’ resources, recipient needs, and real-time transport has not been addressed in the field of hunger-relief.
Value-Based Care is an emerging practice in the healthcare field; shifting the current “fee for service” system, which incentivizes volume/quantity, to one that focuses on quality and outcomes. Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CCTC) will be the first children’s behavioral health provider in Philadelphia to fully embrace this shift through a transformation of their organizational practices. They will build out a new data analytics system, creating the ability to conduct the sophisticated data management and analyses required, and develop new ways of working both administratively and programmatically including piloting a new value-based contract/payment system with up to two programs. Through these efforts, they will increase the focus on quality and outcomes for the children and families they serve. Their approach has the potential for a ripple effect and could serve as a model for others locally and nationally.
The ongoing commitment of residents and community-based organizations to the Kensington section of Philadelphia has recently been bolstered by significant investments in the neighborhood. At the same time, economic forces associated with city-wide development threaten to change the neighborhood and make it unaffordable and culturally unwelcoming for current residents. Through a partnership with Shift Capital—a nationally-recognized impact developer—Impact Services Corporation will work with neighborhood stakeholders to create an emerging model for supporting the business corridor based on existing community land trusts. The Kensington Corridor Trust (Trust) will support sustainable and equitable community development through thoughtful real estate acquisition, community engagement, broad local ownership, small business lending and technical assistance. There are a few things that make this initiative different from other economic development efforts. The Trust will be controlled by a board of majority community stakeholders who represent the cultural and socioeconomic diversity of the current neighborhood and will hold and manage the properties. This community trust also aims to incorporate the commercial corridor, whereas other trusts have typically focused on residential community ownership. Neighborhoods around Philadelphia as well as other cities are watching the development of the Trust model as they consider how to avoid the economic inequality and displacement that often result from rapid gentrification.
There are 14,000 people with autism or intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) waiting for services in Pennsylvania due to lack of funding or staff. In AVAIL technology, a start-up based in Ireland, KenCrest sees a new way of providing services, empowering their clients, measuring outcomes and reducing costs. Through AVAIL’s simple-by-design mobile application, KenCrest’s staff will help clients set up goals, record personalized tutorials and then monitor the client’s independent progress. From setting the table for dinner to assembling a product at a work site, AVAIL helps clients accomplish activities that they might otherwise depend on others to help them complete. KenCrest will partner with another human services, JEVS, to pilot this new technology, which they believe has the potential to provide a more person-centered and person-driven approach to client care—and one that could be adopted by others in the field.
Food Connect is a nonprofit start-up that provides a simple and safe way for restaurants, caterers and grocers to donate food directly to homeless shelters, emergency meal sites and food pantries. Using technology, Food Connect bridges the gap between surplus food and hunger to support a sustainable secondary food economy in Philadelphia.
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.
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.
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.
Nature Rx will prescribe outdoor recreation to thousands of Philadelphia patient families, reconnecting them to the outdoors through doctors’ “prescriptions.” This online portal for clinicians will be connected to a comprehensive database of the city’s green spaces, the first of its kind in Philadelphia. The partners, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia, will develop a new tool to connect families to Philadelphia’s wealth of green space, maximize scarce clinical time with patients and help ensure patient adherence with support from “Nature Navigators.” Nature Rx will also help ensure that the city’s most underserved communities—those with the most to gain in health outcomes—will share in Philadelphia’s rejuvenated public spaces. Barra funding will allow the Schuylkill Center and its partners to pilot Nature Rx in three communities.