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Swim Pony Performing Arts

7/6/2016 |

Swim Pony will explore the intersection of art and gaming through participatory theatre. The End will use the structures of alternate reality games and simulations to build an individualized theatrical experience for each audience member.  Participants will be engaged in a conversation about death through daily activities structured to engender reflection.  The End has the potential to develop the emerging discipline of gaming/theater hybridization—an area that is gaining interest from those in the arts, gaming, technology and civic engagement.  As people become more engaged with and through technology, the concept of using technology and related concepts to help them become a part of a narrative, create an opportunity for self-discovery, and share an experience in a new way, is an innovative way to link performance and gaming.  Funding will also support the documentation and dissemination of the model so it may be used by others.

Big Picture Philadelphia

7/6/2016 |

Big Picture Philadelphia will plan for the K-12 Community School of Sharswood (Sharswood School).  The Sharswood School will adopt and adapt the nationally recognized Big Picture Learning (BPL) model, including BPL’s Learning Through Internship (LTI) approach which places students in internships aligned with growth fields to provide pathways to living wage jobs.   The school will also include grades 13 and 14 through a collaboration with the Community College of Philadelphia, which will allow students to stay at the school while pursuing post-secondary education.  The Sharswood School will be the first K-12 school of The School District of Philadelphia and the first to provide extended learning for an additional two years. This project is part of the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s $500 million investment in the redevelopment of the Sharswood/Blumberg neighborhood.

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

7/6/2016 |

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.

Autism Village

7/6/2016 |

Autism Village, based in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, is a website and mobile application for the autism community. Autism Village’s innovative core is a Yelp-like service that helps families find resources such as dentists, restaurants and playgrounds that are welcoming and suitable for their child with autism’s particular needs. Autism Village has had strong early traction, with more than 10,000 users and a successful Kickstarter campaign backed by more than 1,200 supporters. If they have another year of successful fundraising, Autism Village will put the finishing touches on their platform including several features to attract new users and generate revenue from the business community. Autism Village plans to formally launch in early 2017.

Impact Services Corporation

7/6/2016 |

Three nonprofit organizations–Impact Services Corporation, The Common Market and Philabundance–have joined forces to launch a new social enterprise: Community Partnership Kitchen. The project is the first of its kind and leverages the distinct and complementary strengths of the three organizations. Community Partnership Kitchen will provide training and jobs to residents of North Philadelphia, value-added food products to institutional customers and new and expanded business to regional farmers. Barra’s grant will enable Impact to complete the planning phase of the project, including the development of partnership agreements.

Drexel University

4/18/2016 |

Drexel University (Drexel) will lead the efforts of the Digital On-Ramps (DOR) collaborative network of 13 agencies and employers to test digital badging in Philadelphia.  Like Girl Scout badges (but virtual), digital badges are designed to demonstrate skills and provide opportunities that follow from completing the badge. Digital badging is gaining recognition as an innovation for reimagining education; integrating formal, informal and blended learning; and recognizing industry credentials. In an era when schools are looking to broaden modes of learning and the internet provides an ever-expanding pathway to learning, traditional resumes and transcripts are no longer enough.  Badging is a practical approach to capturing a more complete picture of an individual.  It  has the potential to transform how employers and admissions officers evaluate applicants.  Drexel will work with LRNG, which is creating a digital platform that combines in-school, out-of-school, work-based and online learning opportunities in a manner that is visible and accessible to all. By partnering with LRNG, Drexel becomes part of a national network of communities implementing badging.


4/18/2016 |

Although the cultural community is eager to innovate, the biggest obstacle to breaking into the digital arena is not just funding—for many, it is not knowing where to even begin.  In April 2015 the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (Alliance) announced their TechniCulture initiative. Through TechniCulture, the Alliance seeks to: deepen relationships between the cultural and tech communities; encourage and inspire cultural organizations to think more innovatively and entrepreneurially; and celebrate the region’s bourgeoning tech resources.  To further this effort, the Alliance created the TechniCulture Innovation Residency Awards (Awards).  The recipients of the Awards–which were available to organizations with budgets of under $1 million–were Christ Church, Philadelphia Young Playwrights and Tiny Dynamite. Foundation funding will (i) enable the Awardees to move their projects from feasibility to planning for implementation and (ii) support the Alliance’s learning and dissemination process related to bridging arts and technology.

Azuka Theatre

4/18/2016 |

In 2015, ARC, Stockton Arts Centre (ARC) in Northeastern England became the first organization to implement a full season of Pay What You Decide (PWYD) performances, where tickets were not sold for the shows, only free reservations were made. Theatre-goers were given the opportunity to decide after the show what they wanted to pay for the experience.  This differs from the popular Pay What You Can model which requires audience members pay as they enter.  Initial results have shown an increase in new and returning audiences—something that is particularly difficult for companies focused on performing experimental work. Following in the footsteps of ARC, Azuka Theatre will launch a two-year PWYD pilot beginning with its 2016-2017 season–the first of its kind in the U.S.  During the pilot, Azuka will gather data on audiences to see if they are able to maintain box office earnings while encouraging attendance by new audiences who might otherwise avoid new productions due to cost or lack of familiarity with offerings.  Lessons learned will be shared with the arts community informing how similar arts organizations might use this model to support their work.

Abington Art Center

4/18/2016 |

Abington Art Center has served as a traditional community arts center in Montgomery County for over 75 years.  Building on its recent designation as a Penn State Invent Center and  increasing demand for creative engagement and makerspace-oriented arts programming, they have identified a need for significant adaptation.  The Center will rethink, retool and evolve its space and business model to meet the needs of changing audiences by forging creative partnerships and learning from peer urban organizations who are embracing technology, entrepreneurship and imaginative programming.  If the Center can successfully make this shift, they can become a richer resource for their community and serve as a model for other suburban arts centers as they consider how evolve in a changing arts and education environment.

Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia

4/18/2016 |

The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (Law Center) has an illustrious history of ensuring vulnerable populations have access to fundamental resources, particularly special education.  Like many legal services agencies, the Law Center possesses deep knowledge in a specialized area of the law that is of interest to varied constituencies (parents, educators, lawyers, social workers, etc.).  However, they do not have the resources to create a training delivery model that is self-sustaining.  To do so requires understanding marketing, event planning and curriculum development—all areas that are outside the mission of a legal services organization.  Further, the training they conduct is not like traditional legal training geared towards attorneys—it is meant to bring the range of constituencies together to build networks and understanding, making it different from other legal education providers.  The Law Center proposes creating a separate entity to further their mission of delivering specialized information to the widest audience possible.  To do this, the Center hopes to further its mission while creating a stronger business model.  As a social enterprise of this type is a new approach for a legal service agency, but one that others could emulate, the research into the viability of this model can serve to inform this sector.

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