Nutritious meals cooked with locally grown vegetables to combat food insecurity, street cleanup groups that bring neighbors together, and programs for local youth to learn about farming and other nature-based careers are among initiatives funded by Community Green Grants from Penn Medicine as part of the Deeply Rooted Collaborative, which is a joint initiative from Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and led by the Penn Urban Health Lab.
Community Green Grants support residents and leaders as they join together to care for, celebrate in, and appreciate nature in neighborhoods in West and Southwest Philadelphia. The grant awardees, decided by a panel of community partners, drive initiatives to support vacant lot cleanup, community space programing, job training, and education.
In addition to bringing fresh food to the community, the Community Green Grants are funding efforts to clean local parks through an effort launched by West Philadelphia’s Gweny (Love) Owens. Growing up in the Mantua neighborhood, Owens recalls organizing neighborhood children and bringing them to clean up local parks. After college, Owens returned to her hometown to play a similar role. Through Mantua Worldwide Community, Inc., she established “Clean, Green, and Serene,” a program that encourages neighbors to come together to clean up the streets in their respective neighborhoods. What started with Owens knocking on her neighbors’ doors and asking them to join her outside with a broom and a dustpan has expanded to eight different committees in Mantua and Powelton Village. Her grant will help the program expand to the Mill Creek neighborhood.
A key tenant of Deeply Rooted is to allow community members to determine the needs of neighborhoods, and for them to be the ones to direct funding and resources. These community partners were specifically selected to review the grant applications, as they have applied for grants themselves, and have clear insight into what projects will have the greatest impact for each specific neighborhood and community.
Read more at Penn Medicine News.