PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A major Philadelphia nonprofit that helps families access quality education regardless of their income is celebrating 20 years. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have given out more than 1,500 grants to families.
It's the 20th anniversary for Children's Scholarship Fund Philadelphia. Senior communications manager Lexi Ambrogi said they celebrated by helping families when they could use it most.
"Last year when the pandemic hit, the world we surveyed our families on scholarship and realized that 73% of them lost income due to the pandemic. For our scholarship families, they are already making sacrifices. We were able to open up some more funding for them," she said.
Edison Chavez is a father of five children, including a third and fifth grader.
"I always wanted to give them the best possible. Sometimes you just don't have the funds available to get certain things done," he said.
"It's very important for me to receive these funds. My children are getting educated in a school that they love, in a school that I love. They have great teachers, they’re thriving."
Chavez said when the pandemic started, he didn't know if he would be able to continue to send his kids to that school.
"The uncertainty of not knowing when it's going to be over, the not knowing part when you're a parent is really frustrating. As a parent you wanna make sure that you can keep providing," he said.
"Bills dont stop, responsibilities don't stop, life keeps coming at you. I do construction and home remodeling, I could have a big project today but tomorrow, next week, I might not have anything."
Chavez was thankful the Children's Scholarship Fund provides four-year partial scholarships to families like his, especially as the sole source of income in his household, with his wife taking care of the kids.
"Take advantage of these institutions. It’s a great help and great people," he urged. "Go to the schools and ask. Grants are out there."
Ambrogi said the fund has distributed over $1 million in emergency tuition to families that has lost income due to the pandemic.
"This emergency funding really helped to keep under-resourced Philadelphia children in stable learning environments that are conducive to their educational success," she said.