This Health Legacy Funder Prioritizes Special Needs Youth in the Philadelphia Area

photo: Olesia Bilkei/shutterstock

photo: Olesia Bilkei/shutterstock

While many of the funders we cover at IP have a range of interests and program areas, others have very narrow focuses in niche areas. For example, the Foundations Community Partnership is solely dedicated to special needs children in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, making it a key funder to know if you work with kids in the Philadelphia region. This is a funding area that many local and national foundations only consider from time to time. But helping special needs children is FCP’s main mission, and it has given over $4.7 million to the cause locally over the past 11 years.

This spring, FCP awarded over $180,000 to a group of 17 nonprofits in Bucks County. This funder typically gives out both innovation/improvement grants and capital grants in each cycle, and this one was no exception. The number of grants was split down the middle between the two categories to serve its mission of improving the quality of life for local kids with special needs. The innovation grants went to groups that are developing new ideas, while capital grant money is set aside for organizations that need to make structural improvements to their facilities or buy new equipment for the children they serve.

“In an era where state and federal funding is dwindling, we play a really important part in filling that void,” said Ron Bernstein, FCP’s executive director.

Examples of recent FCP grantees include a local domestic violence organization, a parks and recreation foundation, and a therapeutic horse-riding program for kids. Since this is a niche funding area and funding is restricted to just a single county, this is the type of foundation that often provides ongoing support to repeat grantees. For example, the funder recently gave a second innovation/improvement grant to a community health clinic that is trying to expand its behavioral health program to help more clients with free counseling and screening for depression.   

Behavioral health is a big part of what FCP does because after all, this is a health legacy funder that was created in 2007 from the sale of Foundations Behavioral Health. But in addition to grants, the funder also awards scholarships to local students who are nominated by a guidance counselor or other school leader for outstanding character, community service, and academic performance.

Fortunately for local grantseekers, FCP does welcome unsolicited letters of inquiry from nonprofit human services groups that serve children with special needs. Although partnership in youth services grants, capital improvement grants, and innovation and improvement grants all have their own application deadlines, emergency action grants and technical assistance grant applications are reviewed throughout the year as they are received.

Learn more about this funder by browsing its summer 2018 newsletter.

Related: What the Foundations Community Partnership Cares About Locally