This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
At a time when public funding affecting many of the city’s youth is in jeopardy, the women of Impact100 Philadelphia have chosen to award their annual grants to two organizations serving Philadelphia children: After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) and the Village of Arts and Humanities.
The two organizations accepted awards of $100,000 each in a ceremony June 26 in the Village’s Ile Ife Park.
The grants will be used for afterschool programs, just as the Philadelphia School District is facing a major budget crisis, with City Council last week approving only $40 million of the $94 million that the District was counting on to maintain basic educational services.
ASAP plans to use the grant to expand its Philadelphia Youth Chess Challenge and Philadelphia Scholastic Debate League by 375 students. Since 2004, ASAP has organized more than 200 chess clubs and 20 high school debate teams.
ASAP executive director Justin Ennis spoke with pride of one site where ASAP has worked to develop a strong afterschool chess team – Blankenburg Elementary School.
“It started as a humble afterschool program,” he explained. “Now anywhere from 40 to 75 kids are at some point playing chess as part of the team.”
Since the chess program started at Blankenburg, the school has made strong strides in standardized math scores and seen an improvement in school climate, Ennis said.
The Village of Arts and Humanities will use the additional money to produce the next four issues of its new publication, CRED, a culture and arts magazine that gives Philadelphia’s young artists, designers, journalists, activists, and entrepreneurs opportunities to publish content and advertise their businesses and services. The Village will also provide media and journalism educational workshops.
CRED features over 200 works of art from 7- to 25-year-olds, and is edited, designed, and produced by an editorial staff of young adults ranging from 15 to 25 years old.
“There’s nothing like this anywhere else in the country,” said Village director Elizabeth Grimaldi. “Young people are already making a ton of amazing artwork, and artists need a high-quality way to feature their work.”