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August 21, 2014, 8:04 am

Outreach group gets $2M grant

GreenLight Philadelphia, the locally-based wing of the national nonprofit GreenLight Fund, has received a $2 million, two-year grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund.

With matching funds from the federal government, the total value of the grant is $4 million — not bad for an office that just opened in January.

Now, Greenlight Philadelphia can continue its business of closing the achievability and opportunity gap for all affected Philadelphians.

“GreenLight is thrilled to join the outstanding community of Social Innovation Fund grantees,” said GreenLight co-founder and board chair John Simon. “Support from CNCS enables us to substantially increase our impact in the cities where we work and will further elevate the exceptional organizations we will select and support in the coming years.”

Other grant recipients are Twin City Strives/Great Twin Cities United Way collaboration, The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Capital Area United Way; SIF also extended the grants of seven other nonprofits as well.

Simon, along with current National Executive Director Margaret Hall, founded GreenLight in 2004, and has expanded to six locations in Boston, before growing beyond its municipal boarders.

“GreenLight’s approach is a locally-driven process to engage and integrate organizations from across the country that best meet community identified needs,” said Hall. “We are thrilled to partner with CNCS to deepen our commitment to Boston, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area and bring innovative, relevant new nonprofit models into these regions.”

Philadelphia and San Francisco will select and fund their nonprofits next year.

GreenLight organizers hope to replicate here the multi-pronged approach that proved to be a success in Boston. “The GreenLight Approach” consists of establishing an advisory council that identified urgent needs in the community; selecting local organizations, based on set criteria that will best gauge and act on community needs; assisting with community immersion for the new organizations GreenLight Philadelphia will sponsor, and providing four to six years of support for the newly-created community organization.

The GreenLight Fund is one of only four national nonprofits to receive the prestigious CNCS grant. With the matching funds, CNCS will fund nearly $150 million in support of the growth of these non-profits.

“The Social Innovation Fund invests in proven programs that are helping young people succeed in school, improving the health of underserved populations, and helping people find jobs and increase economic security,” said CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer. “This is a smart approach that leverages private investment to expand programs that work, and I congratulate [GreenLight] for rising to the top in a tough competition.”

SIF and the GreenLight Fund mirror each other in many respects. SIF is now in its third year, and in its relatively short history, has already funded $95 million in grants to 200 non-profits in 34 states; GreenLight’s grant-making seems to follow CNCS’s blueprint.

“The partnership with SIF enables GreenLight and our grantees to access a wealth of federal resources, including impactful funding, evaluation support, training, and sharing of practices,” said GreenLight Philadelphia Executive Director Matt Joyce. “We are excited to bring these new resources into the Philadelphia community and put them toward critical work supporting children and families in the city.”


Contact staff writer Damon C. Williams at (215) 893-5745 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .