The Promise releases Year One report, focusing on family stability efforts, increasing access to emergency and long-term benefits and income supports.
Philadelphia — November 3, 2022 — A year after its launch, The Promise has released its Year One Report to share the progress made thus far to promote financial stability for families and households experiencing poverty in Philadelphia. Powered by United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), the City of Philadelphia, and the community, The Promise is a collective of more than 50 nonprofit community organizations pursuing a multi-year, multi-pronged plan of action to collectively lift 100,000 Philadelphians out of poverty. Its Year One focus, the Family Stability Challenge, aimed to increase access to public benefits and tax credits to put families on more stable footing and lay a foundation for moving – and staying – out of poverty.
“The Promise showcases the strength of collaboration and what can be achieved when we work together,” said Bill Golderer, President & CEO of UWGPSNJ. “In just one year, The Promise and its partners have helped tens of thousands of families in Philadelphia access the benefits and credits they are owed, putting money back into their pockets and into their homes.”
The Promise’s Family Stability Challenge represents a $5.9 million investment shared by four coalitions, composed of 30 community organizations. Designed to improve the economic position of Philadelphians experiencing poverty by ensuring they are accessing all of the benefits and income supports for which they are eligible, the Family Stability Challenge yielded the following results:
- $5.9 million was invested in The Promise’s Family Stability Coalition, helping upwards of 53,000 Philadelphia families access resources and assistance. That accounts for 13.5% of families living in poverty in the city.
- The Promise helped families access over $51.2 million in benefits and tax credits, including an estimated value of $23.2 million in tax credits; $2.5 million in free tax preparation; and $26.6 million in cash equivalent benefits.
- More than 16,000 Philadelphia households accessed emergency assistance benefits and services, shielding them from further crisis.
- 13,000 people received free assistance filing their taxes, which included supporting 4,107 families in getting access to the expanded Child Tax Credit, yielding $12M in tax credits back to Philadelphia families.
“About $100 million in tax credits are left on the table every year in Philadelphia. The Promise took a $23 million bite out of that figure,” said Michael Banks, Executive Director of The Promise. “There is still work to be done, but we’re proud to have reduced the number of dollars that traditionally go unclaimed by nearly 25% of those eligible.”
In particular, The Promise aided more than 4,000 Philadelphia households in accessing the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC). According to research from the Brookings Institution, the CTC is key to improving outcomes for the entire family, including food security, financial security, housing security, and investment in education and professional pursuits.
“More than ninety percent of Philadelphia families with children are eligible to receive the expanded Child Tax Credit – they just need to claim it,” said Alicia Atkinson, Managing Director, Financial Empowerment at UWGPSNJ. “Our partners were at the ready to ensure everyone who is eligible to claim this expanded credit got access to high quality free tax services. By ensuring access to this credit alone, we can move 75,000 people in Philadelphia out of income-based poverty. That includes more than 46,000 children.”
While the Family Stability Challenge was deployed citywide, The Promise built a coalition of trusted community-based organizations to target traditionally underserved communities. Those organizations include the Collaborative to Advance Stability, the Latino Economic Development Collective, No One Left Behind, and the South Broad Partnership. Together, the coalitions helped reach neighborhoods in Philadelphia that have particularly high rates of poverty — such as North, West, and Southwest Philadelphia — and immigrant communities. Immigrants account for 14% of Philadelphians living in poverty, yet are less likely to apply for benefits due to language barriers, mistrust, and fear of deportation.
“In this first year, The Promise worked hard to deepen relationships and collaboration across Philadelphia community organizations, helping to tap directly into underserved communities,” said Banks. “Along with our partners, we helped families navigate complex systems to access the benefits they deserve. In addition to stabilizing income and employment for the individuals served, we are planting the seeds to which will ultimately help Philadelphia have a stronger workforce, safer communities, and fewer people in crisis.”
The Promise is funded in part by the City of Philadelphia, United Way, and corporate partners such as Comcast NBCUniversal who made a $1 million investment in The Promise, and Wells Fargo, who marked the anniversary with a $500,000 investment. Partners like Comcast, NBCUniversal, Wells Fargo, and others, are investing in the impact The Promise had in Year One and will continue to have in Year Two and beyond.
“Through The Promise, we are committed to equipping families with the resources, tools, and opportunities needed to remove barriers to economic mobility,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, Board Chair of The Promise and EVP and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation. “We are proud to invest in The Promise and support efforts to build cross-sector collaboration – all to create a more equitable Philadelphia.”
“We know that creating economic mobility – especially for our most vulnerable neighbors – takes intentional, focused action from all sectors,” said Ellen Patterson, General Counsel at Wells Fargo and Board Member of UWGPSNJ. “This is why we are proud to be part of The Promise. Our grant to this bold effort is intended to keep fostering collaboration across the city to tackle deep-rooted poverty and build a more sustainable, inclusive future for all Philadelphians.”