Our 2018 Grantees
Spruce Foundation awards $5,000 grants through a rigorous application process to local, emerging non-profits working to empower at-risk youth. One partner organization is selected each year in each of our four program areas: education, arts, health and wellness, and LGBTQ. Our 2018 grantees are highlighted below.
Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music (GEGISOM) is a non-profit performing arts institution established to provide a safe, creative space where at-risk, inner city youth can experience social, cognitive and cultural development through music and the performing arts in the underserved community of North Philly.
Spruce's $5,000 grant will support the school's ability to continue to offer affordable and free music and dance lessons to youth and at local schools, provide all equipment and and instruments that students need to receive instruction, and continue to ensure that children in their neighborhoods are receiving a comprehensive and well-rounded arts education.
12+’s mission is to increase educational equity and promote positive youth development by building school cultures that inspire academic achievement and empower students to succeed in college and/or careers beyond 12th grade.
12+’s aim is to ensure that the students they serve enroll in a post-secondary program, persist, and graduate. The students face significant barriers after high school, regardless of their plans and preparation, and they need ongoing support. 12+’s ASCEND program is designed to offer that support, to help students as they transition to and navigate their post-secondary education. Spruce's $5,000 grant will support the ASCEND program.
Health & Wellness
Focused Athletics uses health and wellness programming to provide a better future for Philadelphia’s most at-risk young men. By providing free gym memberships, individual athletic training, and nutritional support, it gives program participants a safe, healthy space to spend time outside of school.
To supplement the athletic training, Focused Athletics also provides comprehensive academic support to students. Youth receive individualized academic support, including SAT/ACT preparation classes, testing fee waivers, and one-on-one tutoring as needed. To date, all Focused Athletics program alumni - 32 in total - have received full athletic scholarships, and are enrolled full-time in the schools of their choice, working towards a four-year degree. Spruce’s grant will support Focused Athletics general operations.
ArtWell supports young people and their communities through multidisciplinary arts expression, education, and creative reflection to celebrate their strengths, thrive while facing complex challenges, and awaken their dreams. ArtWell has successfully been working with Parkway West High School for years. This year, however, it heard from students and teaching artists alike that the school needed a safe space for LGBTQ students to gather, express themselves, and support one another.
Spruce’s grant will help ArtWell to foster a space with Parkway West where LGBTQ students can gather, learn from one another, create, heal, and share resources to process and build resilience with support and facilitation by LGBTQ identifying teaching-artists.
Our 2017 Grantees
Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture works to celebrate diversity and teach about Arab culture through arts programming. For fifteen years, Al-Bustan has offered diverse audiences of youth and adults exposure to the art, language, and culture of the Arab world. Their programs build peaceful and respectful paths for bridging differences, and promote cross-cultural understanding and positive social change. Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture leverages a participatory mode of learning in order to engage and include its audience members, emphasizing commonality and shared value even as it celebrates uniqueness.
Spruce’s $5,000 grant supports the Tabadul program, a series of after-school community dialogue sessions and in-school workshops led by teaching artists in photography, music, and poetry, all of which will be aimed at promoting cross-cultural exchange. (“Tabadul” means “exchange” in Arabic.) The workshops will engage students at Northeast High School, one of the most diverse high schools in the nation.
Urban Creators addresses blight, youth crime rates, and public health concerns simultaneously through community development. The organization revitalizes neglected landscapes, transforming them into safe spaces and urban gardens, and engages local youth to work the farms and to provide access to fresh local food to neighborhood families. Urban Creators is dedicated to hiring at-risk and formerly incarcerated youth as part of its work to stabilize the community and reduce recidivism; since 2008, violent crime has dropped by 40% in the area immediately surrounding their flagship Life Do Grow farm.
Spruce’s $5,000 grant supports the organization's new Youth Apprentice Program, which will provide ten North Philadelphia young people with year-round leadership training and mentorship, and will employ them in their home base, the Life Do Grow Farm. Apprentices will grow and distribute produce, and will curate a slate of dynamic public events and educational programs designed to engage fellow neighborhood youth.
Health & Wellness
Established in 1995, originally as a project of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, the Center for Grieving Children now has its own East Falls center and offers site-based programs across the city, including in-school programs at 20% of Philadelphia’s public and charter schools. The Center provides child-focused programs, which assist in safe grief processing after the loss of a loved one, and aim to strengthen support systems for children affected by grief. In addition to its counseling services oriented toward grieving children themselves, the Center also offers support to district and institutional partners in order to strengthen community response to grief and to mitigate the behavioral risks for already vulnerable youth.
Spruce’s $5,000 grant supports the organization’s school-based grief support programs, which provide free school-day group counseling sessions designed at empowering grieving children through the healing process, emphasizing resiliency and healthy emotional expression.
The Attic Youth Center is the city’s only agency exclusively serving LGBTQ youth. The Attic was started in 1993 as an 8-week pilot project to offer safe spaces to underserved LGBTQ adolescents. Now an independent, multi-service youth agency, The Attic offers mental health services, wellness screening and support, and life skills programming such as job readiness trainings and enrichment classes, as well as best practice support for agencies looking to enhance their services to LGBTQ youth. Its curriculum is designed to empower its youth participants to become community leaders, and to help direct and support programming.
Spruce’s $5,000 grant supports Inner Rhythms, a new music therapy group focused on creative expression and personal storytelling; the project will engage both a professional music therapist and The Attic's own clinical staff.
Peace Day Philly is a volunteer initiative designed to empower people to build a more peaceful and just world. The Peace Day Philly project is relatively new—started in 2011, and incorporated as a nonprofit in 2013—but has made an indelible impact on the City of Philadelphia. Each September, the organization coordinates workshops, events, and talks across the city in honor of the International Day of Peace, focusing citywide efforts on peaceable practice. So far, Peace Day Philly has collaborated or partnered with more than 150 Philadelphia-area organizations to offer programs featuring themes of social justice, bystander intervention, and compassionate interfaith and intercultural exchange.
Spruce’s $5,000 grant supports Peace Day Philly’s partnership with PeacePraxis to offer a workshop on building upstander skills to Philadelphia youth ages 12-17, and to educators and counselors working with this population of youth.