• Melinda Steffy

CASE STUDY: Philanthropy Network

SECTOR: Philanthropy, Human Services

TIMEFRAME: 2021

SERVICES: Writing & Design, Toolkit


When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia joined many funders and philanthropists looking to support communities hit hardest by the virus and the economic fall-out. They managed the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Fund, a collective action fund that invested in neighborhood-based solutions for urgent needs related to COVID-19. The Fund awarded more than $1.2 million through three rounds of grants to 133 nonprofits, small businesses, and individuals.


Philanthropy Network and their group of Community Advisors knew that crucial pandemic relief was happening through these small-scale, community-based efforts. They wanted to better share the stories of people at the front-line in their communities, to communicate the impact of the investments and to continue advocating for community-based responses.


Concentric Strategy was engaged to gather those stories. We interviewed five grantees, representing organizations across the four-county region, to learn about their work educating, vaccinating, and responding to specific needs that were frequently overlooked in broader COVID responses. Using a "Humans of New York"-approach, we used grantees' own words to tell their stories, with narratives that speak to systemic issues and localized solutions.


We then formatted the narratives as a one-page PDF profile and a corresponding carousel of images for social media. We designed templates and crafted a Storytelling Toolkit, to provide a consistent format for Philanthropy Network and the other 128 grantees to continue telling their own stories.


The stories add to a pandemic narrative that isn't just data points or guidelines -- these are the voices of human beings who have been deeply impacted and working to change what they can for the better.


Many thanks to Asian Americans United, GALAEI, Mighty Writers El Future Kennett, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, and Willow Grove CDC for sharing your stories. We learned so much from each of you.



Read all of the stories over at Philanthropy Network's website.