Grants & Initiatives
The Financial Outreach Initiative began during the 2002-2003 academic year. The project mission is to organize, implement, and sustain a multi-university project concerned with various forms of asset development for low-income communities in the Philadelphia region.
During the 2010 tax-filing season, students from Swarthmore College and Widener University, along with many community volunteers and agency staff, provided free tax services to 1845 filers who collectively received over $2.7 million in refunds, a 45% increase over 2009. The target audience for this effort is low-income filers eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This credit has been touted to be the most effective way of lifting a family above the federally defined poverty line. In order to accomplish this, we created a special working group, Delaware County Asset Development or “DelCoAD” to oversee this project as well as discuss ongoing issues with regard to asset development in the county.
Operating under the overall PHENND network, the K-16 Partnerships Network brings together higher ed faculty and staff who manage partnerships with public schools. The focus is two-fold: learn from each other about best practices and models for K-16 partnerships in general and as appropriate, work with the School District of Philadelphia to help improve and expand K-16 partnerships in Philadelphia.
The goal of GEAR UP is to help low-income students attend college by doing intensive college awareness programming beginning while students are in middle school. As part of the School District of Philadelphia’s new GEAR UP grant (2011-2016), PHENND is managing the college student tutor involvement with the AVID program for 25+ middle and high schools across the city. The School District selected the AVID program as one of its college access and success strategies; the AVID model requires that college student tutors work with small groups of students twice a week during an “AVID” class. K-16 Partnerships Coordinator Liz Shriver works with local colleges to identify, recruit, train, place, and manage 75+ college student tutors for this program.