The Jump-Start Fund Awards $45K in Grants to Help Prepare Families for Virtual School Days This Fall

The Grants Provide Support For Student and Family Programs Offered by CBOs

Philadelphia, PA – The Jump-Start Philly Schools Fund announces $45,000 in grants have been distributed to nine Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to help fund their programs aimed at preparing students and families for the upcoming full-time virtual school schedule and the 2021-22 school selection process. Funded by Janine and Jeff Yass (The Susquehanna Foundation) and other Philadelphia area donors, the Jump-Start Fund was organized by the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) in April to support families in the pivot to virtual learning.

“The COVID crisis has revealed many disparities and barriers to serving all children, in every part of Philadelphia,” said Imani Hester, manager of Community Engagement & Advocacy for PSP. “The Jump-Start Fund grants are helping to close gaps in service by strengthening the organizations’ ability to provide immediate relief to families and preparing them for the new way of life in the fall.”

The Jump-Start Fund launched the grant selection process in the spring to identify CBOs whose relationships in the community positioned them to provide targeted guidance and assistance to students, parents, and/or caregivers in response to the disruptions in school-based learning. Applicants applying for consideration for the $5,000 grant were required to describe how they would use the funds to perform three essential services to students and families:

  • Offer programs for school-aged children to enrich learning or sustain academic gains in preparation for the fall;
  • Provide the technological needs of their families, including devices, training, and technical support; and,
  • Help guide families through the kindergarten and high school selection process which begins in the fall.

The nine CBOs that received grants include: African Family Health Organization, Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia (CAGP), Children’s Village, ESF Dream Camp, Mighty Writers, North10, Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey, Free Library of Philadelphia – McPherson Square Library, and Supportive Older Women’s Network (SOWN).

In response to receiving the grant, Mary Graham, the Executive Director of Children’s Village, stated: “Children’s Village is grateful to the Jump-Start Fund for this very timely support. Children returning to our child care center have had their lives significantly interrupted over the last few months. There is a wide spectrum of how these interruptions have impacted our students and this funding supports the work our Child Development Specialist and Psychologist do to help our students and families access the support and resources they need to successfully move forward into the new school year.”

Bryan Belknap from the Free Library of Philadelphia’s McPherson Square Library explained how the Jump-Start Fund grant will help expand their school choice preparation program. “Our High School Choice program is dedicated to helping students and parents/guardians find schools that fit their needs. The grant will not only allow us to address the challenges of transitioning our vital work into an effective socially-distanced program, but also allow us to bring our program to all of Philadelphia.”

Below are descriptions of each of the CBOs that received a grant.

African Family Health Organization

AFAHO provides culturally & linguistically sensitive health, human, and educational services to African and Caribbean immigrants/refugees in West and Southwest Philadelphia. AFAHO’s African Youth Empowerment Program (AYEP) is an after-school program for African and Caribbean refugee and immigrant high school students created to empower the targeted youth to improve their educational and health outcomes, while equipping them with skills to become self-sufficient, civically engaged, and healthy young adults.

Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia (CAGP)

The Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia (CAGP) serves elders, families, children and youth of the city’s Cambodian and Southeast Asian immigrant and refugee community through social services, Pre-K, K-to-5 out of school time (OST), youth development and cultural enrichment programs. The OST program includes afterschool and summer camp for up to 48 students in Kindergarten – 5th Grade. Activities are designed to contribute to the overall well-being of youth through access to services that promote their healthy physical, social, cultural, educational, and emotional development.

Children’s Village 

Children’s Village is a nationally accredited early care and education (ECE) and OST provider serving 400+ children aged 6 weeks to 13 years old. 86% are from low-income families, 76% are second language learners, and 14% of school age children have IEPs/IFSPs. At Children’s Village children learn, explore, share, discover, and create in a high-quality program that prepares them for school—and for life.Children’s Village is distinguished by teaching excellence, a comprehensive and holistic framework and its focus on inclusion and diversity.

ESF Dream Camp Foundation

Since 2002, Dream Camp has run year-round OST programming for low-income Philadelphia youth ages 6-18. The mission of the ESF Dream Camp Foundation is to transform the lives of undeserved youth through innovative year-long programs that nurture the individual, educate the mind, and inspire the spirit.

Mighty Writers

Mighty Writers (MW) teaches kids ages 3-17 to think clearly and write with clarity so they can achieve success at school, at work and in life. Last year, MW reached 3,300 students. They focus on reaching many more kids in hard-pressed neighborhoods all over the area because for them, the clock is ticking. Tomorrow is today. It’s why they focus so intently on getting kids on their road to glory now.


Since its inception, North10, Philadelphia has provided the young scholars of Hunting Park and East Tioga a sense of belonging through out-of-school-time programming housed at the Lenfest Center. North10 is proud of our deep relationships with community members. This program was developed based on direct feedback from residents and therefore reflects the needs of the students in our neighborhood. North10 learned that a program is needed to: Prepare students and their families for increased virtual learning and ensure that adequate technology is in place; Address learning gaps from the sustained time outside of the classroom; And, just as critically, reinforce a sense of community that has been absent since the the pandemic began.

Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey

In partnership with schools and at Girls Inc. centers, they focus on the development of the whole girl. She learns to value herself, take risks, and discover and develop her inherent strengths. The combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and research-based programming equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. Informed by girls and their families, they also advocate for legislation and policies to increase opportunities and rights for all girls.

Free Library of Philadelphia – McPherson Square Library

The High School Choice program (HSC) is part of the McPherson Square Library’s effort to encourage youth from the surrounding community to engage in activities, research, and discussions about how their choice of high school can impact their lives. Their goal is that every teenager in Philadelphia finds a school that meets their needs and is supported at that school.

Supportive Older Women’s Network (SOWN)

SOWN is a pioneering non-profit that supports older adults and their families. SOWN provides the support grandparent caregivers need to promote their grandchildren’s positive development, school readiness, academic success, and a bright future. Their Grand Family Resource Center (GFRC) provides a comprehensive range of services including grandparent support groups, individual counseling, a multi-generational family literacy program, healthy living workshops/activities for families, and more.

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