More than $1.5 million was given out to local arts groups earlier this year. The Philadelphia Cultural Fund distributes grants yearly to help keep community organizations providing services to residents. Awards range from a couple of hundred dollars to $10,000. These funds play a fundamental role in helping keep the doors open of the Community Education Center, an integral part of Powelton Village.
Since the awards have been distributed each year, the small community-based arts incubator received a grant since the fund’s inception in the 1990s. Unfortunately for Powelton Village, even though the Philadelphia Cultural Fund expanded the list of recipients, the Community Education Center was left off the list.
“This year, because of what their definition of what a strong organization is, you need a really strong board and is active and does all the things that a board should do and all the strategic planning that you should do, all these wonderful things I’d love to do,” said Theresa Shockley. “I’m just one person, and it’s difficult just keeping this place going.”
After public backlash, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund granted $3,250, or about half of what the Community Education Center usually received. In order to make up for the loss of funding, Shockley explained the organization would be hosting two fundraisers.
One recently took place at a University of Pennsylvania museum, which donated space for the event. The next is slated to take place over the summer.
“It’s going to be successful, it has to be and will be,” Shockley said. “I’m certain of it. We cannot afford for it not to be.”