The Promise is focused on removing barriers to secure, stabilize, and grow income.

Income is a foundational and immediate challenge for people experiencing poverty. Providing people with more access to income helps maintain stability and allows people to meet basic needs like paying rent, buying food, or accessing the healthcare system.

Income stability is a key factor in not only getting above the poverty line, but staying above it. The more we remove barriers to employment in our city, the more we’ll all thrive, with a stronger workforce, safer communities, and fewer people in crisis.

#1: Family Stability

The Problem: Each year, millions are left on the table because people do not know that they are eligible for tax credits and public benefits, or know how to access these benefits.

The Plan: Combine efforts and offer opportunities for people to enroll in multiple benefits, alongside services such as financial counseling, legal support, free tax preparation, and employment services.  By connecting individuals and families to important economic security programs and public benefits, we can lift the earning power of Philadelphia’s low-income residents.

#2: Record Sealing & Expungement

The Problem: Over the past decade, Philadelphia has had among the highest incarceration rates in the country. In fact, 400K Philadelphians have a criminal record. Given the tremendous challenge of finding employment with a past criminal history, it’s unsurprising that Philadelphia has lagged the country in labor force participation.

The Plan: Remove barriers to the workforce and drive up income and opportunity in Philadelphia’s poorest communities. Expanding employment for people with past convictions is a critical driver of regional prosperity and public safety.

The Promise is vetting and funding investments that expand access to existing public benefits and removing barriers to employment.
These efforts serve immediate and long-term needs of Philadelphians. It allows community organizations to experiment, execute, and grow together to fulfill the promise of our city.
Equitable and inclusive
Decision-makers reflect the diversity of this city, and grantees are required to plan and execute projects centered in equitable services and outcomes.
Proven and scalable
Our chosen tactics have been researched across the US. We scale what works and use data to prove and improve our impact.
Sustainable and impactful
Initiatives are judged on their long-term benefits, ability to scale to serve more people over time, and capacity to measure the impact they’re making day-to-day.

How it works

The Promise is investing in scalable solutions to increase income and remove barriers to employment. Several times a year, The Promise will open a Call for Collaborations (RFPs) for specific poverty-fighting inventions.

Grantees are then selected to collaborate with each other and do the hands-on work of helping people access benefits and opportunities. The Promise provides the funding and infrastructure to make their work possible.

Our goal is to build community awareness, raise funds, support our grantees, and collect and share data about our collective progress toward the goal of helping our neighbors rise — and stay — above the poverty line.

We’re aiming for 100,000—but we won’t stop there.

100,000 is an audacious goal, but with over 350,000 Philadelphians experiencing poverty, we can’t stop there. Our five-year plan may be to reduce poverty by 25%, but our bigger dream is to make Philly a thriving city for everyone—not just some.

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