What does it look like to radically reimagine how we engage communities?
Between 2021 and 2022, Praxis led the engagement process to determine the use of a $1.75 million community education fund, provided by the University of Pennsylvania, for Philadelphia’s 3rd Councilmanic District. We employed 13 community members--representing different 3rd District perspectives as parents, students, teachers, and community leaders--on a Resident Working Group (RWG) to guide the decision making process. Over the course of nine months, Praxis led the RWG in conversations about education, community priorities, and project goals, which included utilizing existing community infrastructure; supporting students, families, and community members holistically; providing safe spaces for students/young adults; and employing and support 3rd District residents.
The RWG developed a list of spending priorities for the fund and then shared these options with the wider 3rd District to receive feedback. The community ultimately decided that the fund should be used to financially support existing 3rd District organizations that serve youth through out-of-school programming. After a competitive application process, the RWG selected the following organizations to receive grants:
To help build sustainable community capacity, grants will be available to these seven organizations for two additional years, following a year one evaluation. Praxis, in partnership with ImpactED (an evaluation and training center based in the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies), is providing grant recipients with technical assistance to help them build skills around data collection and storytelling techniques, navigate the reporting/evaluation process, and deepen University-community relationships within the 3rd District.