Neighborhood nonprofits granted $200K to clean up effects of Kensington’s opioid crisis

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — City and community members are coming together to help address the ramifications of the opioid crisis on residents in Kensington.

The Kensington Community Resilience Fund — a public-private-community partnership — has granted $10,000 each to 20 neighborhood organizations to target key areas of the epidemic and implement programs to help revitalize Kensington.

Nearly 50 nonprofit organizations competed for money.

“We liked them all. Unfortunately, we could only pick 20,” said Ben Wildflower, a Kensington resident who sat on the community panel that helped select the organizations.

“This is a neighborhood that’s been divested from and kept systematically poor for a long time, and I’m really glad to see money going to things like our neighborhood gardens and people reentering from incarceration,” he said.

Residents working with the nonprofit identified six core issues as top priorities to address: public safety and gun violence, youth development, workforce development and training, neighborhood beautification, community resources, and community trauma.

The grants intend to give the nonprofits the flexibility to carry out their efforts and “work sustainably over the one-year grant period.”

The programs that were awarded funding do everything from hosting street cleanups to leading a youth soccer team, which Wildflower said are imperative to restoring the community.

“I hope to see a lot more money infused and a more just budget in the future,” he added.

In a statement, Mayor Jim Kenney said, these organizations’ work “will advance community empowerment, neighborhood investment, and economic opportunity. Their work will improve the quality of life of Kensington area residents and provide the opportunities they deserve.”

The 20 grant recipients are:

• Community Center at Visitation
• Good Host Plants, LLC
• Harrowgate Civic Association
• Hart Lane Neighborhood Farm
• Kensington Soccer Club
• Papermill Food Hub
• Photography without Borders
• Power Street Theatre
• Providence Center
• Ride Free
• Rock Ministries of Philadelphia
• Sisters of Saint Joseph Welcome Center
• Sisters Returning Home
• Taller Puertorriqueño
• Team NAS
• The Block Gives Back
• The Salvation Army
• The Simple Way
• Urban Extreme Youth Development
• Youth United for Change

Another round of grants is expected in the fall.