Reinvestment Fund has begun awarding grants to childcare providers, early intervention and home visiting service organizations under the Philadelphia Emergency Fund for Stabilization of Early Education (PEFSEE) program. PEFSEE is a collaboration of the William Penn Foundation, Vanguard’s Strong Start for Kids Program™ and Reinvestment Fund to support Philadelphia childcare providers who are struggling to sustain their businesses and early learning support for families through closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the month since it opened, PEFSEE has received an overwhelming response with 524 applications to date. PEFSEE has thus far awarded $3.7 million to 271 providers. Of the awardees, 87% are women-owned organizations and 71% are owned or led by people of color. The awards are expected to preserve 2,901 jobs in the sector and maintain spaces for 21,482 children in licensed early learning programs. Reinvestment Fund will announce awards on a rolling basis.
“After several unsuccessful attempts to apply through our bank and two separate fintech companies, who were also authorized SBA 7(a) lenders, I had lost hope that the Waterfront Project (WPF) would obtain funds. It was a long drawn out saga, with lots of twists and turns, but the unifying theme was a frustrating lack of communication combined with conflicting and, ultimately wrong, advice.
Reinvestment Fund was my last hope. I applied. During the application process, their staff was responsive, their website had lots of helpful information, and their webinar for applicants enabled me to properly prepare to submit WFP’s application. It was a markedly different application experience. And, the result, an approved SBA PPP loan application is a happy outcome during a stressful time for our nonprofit.”
–Rebecca Symes for The Waterfront Project, a nonprofit that provides free legal services and housing counseling for low and moderate income Hudson County residents. Its work is primarily focused on preventing evictions and foreclosures.
This is just one of the many applicants we heard from through our Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program. In its first week, Reinvestment Fund helped 76 organizations access millions in PPP funds. The average loan size was $65,000 (ranging from $1,300 to $200,000) and most had about eight employees. Over 60% were businesses owned by women and/or people of color and 1 in 4 were owned by a low-income individual. What we learned from our experience is telling of the wider, systemic inequity, which favored large banks and public companies in the first round of funding. For many smaller businesses, a fair chance at accessing the relief funds was marred by lack of capacity. Pulling together the required documentation was overwhelming to many. For some small business owners, language was a barrier. These problems coupled with the lack of timely communication and clear guidance, left many out in the first round. As we wind down our program, we are pleased to have supported these small businesses and nonprofits–our lenders personally working with many to get them across the finish line.
Philadelphia Landlord-Tenant Court processes approximately 20,000 filings each year. When Philadelphia Landlord-Tenant court reopens after the COVID-19 closure, there will undoubtedly be a backlog of cases that landlords will have been waiting to file. In this moment, when stable housing is more than ever a critical part of public health strategy and landlords need stabilized incomes to provide that housing, it is the time to make significant decisions around court processes and resources to ensure that the eviction process operates in a way that is both fair and efficient. A new Reinvestment Fund study–based on surveys and interviews with tenants, landlords, attorneys that represent both landlords and tenants, court observation and analysis of more than 2,000 Judgement by Agreements–forms the basis of a set of recommendations offered to ensure equity and transparency when the inevitable wave of filings descends on the courts.
Resource: The communities we serve feel the deep financial and social impacts of COVID-19. Here are some small businesses & nonprofits in our portfolio & ways you can help them.
News: Led by GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, Atlanta launches a stabilization grant program for childcare providers, replicating Reinvestment Fund’s Philadelphia model.
News: Advocates and officials try to prevent Philly’s coming wave of coronavirus evictions. Reinvestment Fund’s report shows that a counseling program could help courts manage evictions and stabilize tenants.
Resource: The CDC has found that Black people are disproportionately likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19. Use PolicyMap to see where cases of COVID-19 are rising the most rapidly in the new COVID-19 section of the tool’s “Health” menu.
Resource: The home-based child care sector plays a critical role during the COVID-19 crisis. Explore the Home-Based Child Care Emergency Fund toolkit, for action funders can take now to support this essential service.
Resource: Our new report the Rural Food Access Investment Area (RFAIA) analysis highlights the need for food investment in rural America – 11.7 million people could be better served with targeted investments in equitable food systems.