14 Philadelphia Charities to Support This Year

We asked some notable Philadelphians to recommend their favorite organizations for Philly-focused giving.

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

For many people, year-end charitable giving is as much a tradition as office Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve fireworks at Penn’s Landing. This holiday season we asked a number of Philadelphia business and thought leaders for the names of Philly-based and Philly-focused organizations and programs that they support personally — and reasons we should consider donating too.

Our panel came through with an impressive range of options — some well known, some under the radar — encompassing everything from poverty relief to health care, education, and the arts.

The Sunday Breakfast Mission

Recommended By: Rob Wonderling, president and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
Why: “This quiet but effective organization founded by John Wanamaker and the ‘commerce class’ of his day feeds and provides spiritual sustenance to thousands of needy Philadelphians annually.”
Where to Donate: www.sundaybreakfast.org

Keystone State Boychoir

Recommended By: Ajay Raju, co-chairman and CEO, Dilworth Paxson
Why: “Keystone State Boychoir, the only choir in the world to have sung in Antarctica and on all seven continents, serves 190 boys from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds ranging from ages 8 to 18. They are our region’s finest global ambassadors.”
Where to Donate: www.keystonestateboychoir.org

Clarifi / Turning Points for Children / ACHIEVEability / Therapy Center of Philadelphia

Recommended By: Ashley Tobin, principal, Work Better Consulting LLC
Why: “This year, I’m donating to four organizations I feel have a true impact because they affect the pieces of poverty that can be resolved. Clarifi is a group that works to clean up the financial messes we have. Imagine living in poverty and being totally overwhelmed by your financial obligations that you can’t meet — Clarifi works magic here. Turning Points for Children has a program called Families and Schools Together that is literally changing the school environment in Philadelphia schools. Principals and teachers love this family engagement program in 60+ schools (and more need it). ACHIEVEability offers stable housing for single parents, mostly moms, who want to get more education so they can get the jobs that will help their families thrive. The children benefit as much as the parents, maybe more. Therapy Center of Philadelphia (formerly Women’s Therapy Center) helps women carrying heavy mental health burdens that go unresolved. The more we help on this front, the more people will emerge from poverty.”
Where to Donate: clarifi.org | turningpointsforchildren.org | www.achieveability.org | www.therapycenterofphila.org

The Abramson Cancer Center

Recommended By: Richard Vague, managing partner, Gabriel Investments
Why: “My heart goes out to children with cancer, so my support goes to the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine to help fund their breakthrough work on cancer. Their revolutionary research in genetics has brought them close to finding a cure for cancer, and young children with terminal leukemia are leaving the hospital cancer-free after only a few weeks of treatment.”
Where to Donate: www.penncancer.org

The Garces Foundation

Recommended By: David Maser, Of Counsel, Chimicles & Tikellis LLP; board secretary, Garces Foundation
Why: “I love being part of an organization that works to see that Philadelphia’s growing immigrant community has access to innovative resources that highlight their talents and help make Philadelphia truly world class.”
Where to Donate: www.garcesfoundation.org

Jewish Relief Agency

Recommended By: Wayne Kimmel, managing partner, SeventySix Capital
Why: “JRA’s mission is to assist families according to their individual needs. I am so proud to be involved with this amazing volunteer-driven organization that now helps more than 3,200 families in this region each month!”
Where to Donate: jewishrelief.org

Silver Springs – Martin Luther School

Recommended By: Chip Roman, chef/owner of Blackfish and Mica and co-owner of Ela
Why: “As a father of four children, I support Silver Springs, which offers individualized education and support to children in grades K–8 who have suffered trauma.”
Where to Donate: www.silver-springs.org

The Workshop School / Coded by Kids / Tech Girlz

Recommended By: Christopher Wink, co-founder of Technical.ly
Why: “I annually donate to the Workshop School, the experimental, project-based alternative high school in University City whose board I just joined. I also just joined the board of Coded by Kids, which is developing software programming classes for underserved Philly city kids, and we often support Tech Girlz, the STEM training nonprofit for young women founded by Philly Mag ThinkFest speaker Tracey Welson-Rossman.”
Where to Donate: www.workshopschool.org | codedbykids.com | www.techgirlz.org

Kelly Writers House

Recommended By: Stephen Fried, author of Appetite for America and the upcoming Dr. Rush, and a Philadelphia magazine contributing writer
Why: “While the Free Library still does a couple of dozen great big author events each year, day in, day out the lifeblood of writing and reading Philadelphia is Kelly Writers House at Penn. Besides being the hub of the university’s increasingly ambitious writing programs, KWH has something inspiring for all writers and readers almost every weekday, and they’ve recently expanded with a recording studio that will allow even more programs available free on the internet. It is the right place to invest in the future of writing, fiction, nonfiction, poetry — everything.”
Where to Donate: writing.upenn.edu/wh