Imagining the Future for Philadelphia’s Infants and Toddlers

A Running Start is Shared Prosperity’s initiative to support and expand access to early learning for children ages 0-5. Shared Prosperity’s March Roundtable brought stakeholders together to solicit the best ideas on how to meet the specific needs of infants and toddlers. Twenty-seven percent of Philadelphia’s infants and toddlers are currently living in poverty, meaning that increased access to supportive resources is essential. At this meeting, we highlighted the need for cross-sector collaborations among service providers so that infants and toddlers receive the health care, family support, and child care they need.

Thomas Farley, Commissioner of Health for the City of Philadelphia, gave a great presentation on how coordinated services contribute to the well-being of infants and toddlers. His presentation highlighted resources currently being offered in the city, and emphasized that health in early childhood determines health for the rest of one’s life. Farley furthered this point by sharing a preview of the upcoming Children’s Health Agenda from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. This strategy will focus on identifying adverse health and development outcomes, the risk factors that increase them, and interventions to mitigate these.

Along with Commissioner Farley, our panelists held a thought-provoking discussion on key challenges and opportunities to keep in mind while working toward aligned services.  Panelists included Rashanda Perryman of the William Penn Foundation, JoAnne Fischer of Maternity Care Coalition, Aliya Johnson-Roberts of Pratt Street Learning Center, and Joanii Marrero of Norris Square Community Alliance. When discussing services, ensuring quality is always important. Of particular importance are teachers and staff who have been trained to work with infants and toddlers, can create developmentally appropriate resources, and understand the specific needs of their communities. Because of this, parental engagement was also highlighted as important for this population.

After the panel, participants broke into groups to brainstorm how to facilitate greater collaboration among service providers, as well as how their organizations could contribute to this effort. From this discussion, strategies were suggested including co-locating resources in services frequented by families with infants and toddlers, data sharing across agencies and sectors, implementing written agreements between agencies to guarantee active collaboration, and integrating community health and service ‘navigators’ into agencies that serve infants and toddlers.

Here’s what you said about the Roundtable:

What is one thing you will take away from this discussion to enhance your work?

  • “Reflect upon how my organization can help continue and sustain these goals. Advocacy! Advocacy! Advocacy!”
  • “The importance of elevating need for infant and toddler and family supports and services to keep on par with preschool efforts.”
  • “Reinforcement of need to collaborate and work in non-siloed approach.”

How could future discussions be improved?

  • “A sheet listing organizations that registered to be at roundtable – so we know who is who and what they do.”
  • “Simply host more discussions, and follow-up communications. Looking forward to the progress report! Side note: our table wished to remain in touch via email, to continue our collaborations.”
  • “More time for roundtable discussion.”

Thanks for your time, contributions and efforts supporting this work.

A Growing Number of Philadelphians Applying for EITC

For Immediate Release: April 03, 2017
Published By: Office of the Mayor
Contact: Mike Dunn, (215) 686-6210, mike.dunn@phila.gov
Growing Number of Philadelphians Applying for Federal Earned Income Tax Credit

PHILADELPHIA- With only about two weeks to go before the tax filing deadline, new data suggests that a growing number of Philadelphians are taking advantage of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit.

The data from the IRS shows that 8,700 additional Philadelphians received the tax credit in the Spring of 2015 compared to the previous year (note that this is the most recent IRS data available). With an average refund of $2,522, this meant an additional $22 million going into the pockets of Philadelphians.

“We’re trying to educate and empower as many eligible residents as possible to apply for the EITC. But what we are accomplishing today is rooted in the groundwork started in 2014,” said Revenue Commissioner Frank Breslin. “This success is due to leaders such as City Council President Darrell Clarke, who championed the Income Inequality Initiative and set the wheels in motion, as well as City Councilman Alan Domb, who continues to be a tireless advocate for our efforts.”

The City continues to urge eligible residents to apply for the EITC before the April 18, 2017 deadline. The Department’s 2017 “You Earned It” program includes free tax preparation services by IRS-certified preparers, available at 20 locations throughout Philadelphia for taxpayers earning less than $54,000, as well as a comprehensive educational campaign.

“There is no better mechanism than the Earned Income Tax Credit for helping to lift lower income individuals and working families out of poverty,” said Councilman Domb. “With the highest poverty rate of any major city, we must continue to promote awareness and provide tax assistance resources until every eligible Philadelphian receives the money they have earned. As we continue building upon our existing foundation of awareness, understanding and partnership, I look forward to working diligently with my colleagues on City Council, the Administration and all our non-profit partners to ensure all eligible Philadelphians apply and receive the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

To implement this vital component of the campaign, the City has partnered with the Campaign for Working Families, a non-profit organization committed to helping working families and individuals achieve economic empowerment, as well as PathwaysPA, one of the Greater Philadelphia Region’s foremost providers of residential and community-based services for women, children and families.

To qualify residents must:

Not exceed earned income and meet income limits
Be between the ages of 25-65 OR have a qualifying dependent
Have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien during the entire calendar year of 2016
Have a valid Social Security number
The average Federal EITC refund amount available in Philadelphia is $2,500, with maximum benefits range from $506 to $6,269. Eligible taxpayers can also still file or amend returns for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 EITC if they haven’t already.

In 2016, more than 17,000 tax returns were prepared for free at City-sponsored sites. This was an increase of 12,000 compared to the 5,000 returns in Tax Year 2014.

Residents can text FILE to 99000 or visit http://www.YouEarnedItPhilly.com to get more information on the EITC and a list of locations offering tax preparation services through the City’s program.

CEO is hiring an Assistant Director of Workforce Strategies

The Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity is searching for an Assistant Director of Workforce Strategies to coordinate the design, implementation and evaluation of Mayor Kenney’s City as Model Employer strategy. The Assistant Director of Workforce Strategies will be responsible for working closely with designated staff across 7 City departments as well as with external partners to cultivate employment opportunities in the non-profit and public sector that align to temporary City positions. Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, reference, and a two-page writing sample as one combined PDF document to Denise M. Carter, Human Resources Specialist at Denise.Carter@phila.gov.

More information can be found here.

CEO is hiring a Contracts Unit Manager

The Contracts Unit Manager is a key staff position to ensure that programs and contractors of the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) provide quality services in accordance with contracts, current laws, rules, policies and procedures. A central component of the contracting team, this position reports directly to the Director of Administrative Services with support from the Director of Planning & Performance Management, and the Data Manager. Key responsibilities include: supervising contracts staff; monitoring program and contractor performance; providing guidance and technical assistance; verifying delivery of services; and ensuring funding is used only for authorized purposes.

Click here for more details.

Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to Denise.Carter@phila.gov.

Increasing Participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit

The first Roundtable of the New Year highlighted the Earned Income Tax Credit, the most important federal income transfer program for low-income workers. Our featured speakers described how the Tax Credit works, who is eligible and how participation in this program could be improved. With Tax Day (April 18th this year!) right around the corner, the presentations were timely and each spoke to a slightly different aspect of the program:


John Wancheck, the Senior Advisor on EITC Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, outlined the eligibility requirements for EITC, and noted that currently only about 82% of eligible families in Pennsylvania actually claim the tax credit, leaving thousands of dollars on the table. Mr. Wancheck recommended that outreach should be proactive and targeted towards those who are newly eligible, especially workers just entering the labor force, new parents and caregivers, divorced parents, and those who recently experienced a reduction in income. Mr. Wancheck cleared the common misconception that EITC refunds are counted as income. As EITC refunds are not income, the EITC will not change someone’s ability to receive income-based benefits.

 Alan Butkovitz, the Philadelphia City Controller, focused on how the EITC could be one tool to alleviate financial hardships for seniors. Senior citizens are living longer, the cost of living is increasing, and many elders rely on fixed-income programs, leaving less money to sustain them in later years. Mr. Butkovitz’s presentation touched on the overall state of retirement security in Philadelphia and potential avenues for Philadelphians to access retirement plans through city-sponsored plans and the U.S. Treasury’s myRA while applying for their EITC.

 Graham O’Neill from the Department of Revenue stressed the importance of EITC for Philadelphia residents and gave an update on ongoing efforts in the city to increase EITC participation. The YouEarnedItPhilly website provides a wealth of information, allowing visitors to learn more about the Tax Credit, calculate their eligibility and potential rebate, and find tax preparation sites convenient to their location. The website and materials are available in at least nine different languages. Those interested in more information can download this flyer or visit www.YouEarnedItPhilly.com.

During the Roundtable discussion, break-out groups brainstormed ideas to increase participation. Many groups noted the need for outreach strategies to be vetted and led by community members, to maximize outreach and build trust. Participants also suggested that notices about EITC could be placed in maternity wards, faith-based institutions and community centers. Employers could also distribute information about the EITC alongside employee paychecks.

At each Roundtable, we ask participants to share their experience and opinions so we can improve future events. Here’s what you thought of our January Roundtable:

And in your own words:

What is one thing you will take away from this discussion to enhance your work?

  • “Personal relationships are key. All year long discussion is super important”
  • “Statistics on individuals taking advantage of EITC”
  • “Connecting with other partners to increase knowledge of available resources”

How could future Roundtables be improved?

  • “Include community residents, not just community stakeholders
  • Set up a list serve for participants to share information”
  • “Extra time for roundtable discussion”

Thanks as always for your participation and feedback!

Materials from January 2017 Roundtable:

CEO is seeking Shared Prosperity Fellows

As a Shared Prosperity Fellow, you will serve as an ambassador for CEO and work alongside stakeholders from government, philanthropic agencies, academia, business and consumer communities, all in an effort to achieve a common understanding of the dynamics of poverty in Philadelphia and be an active participant in making change around these complex issues.

Shared Prosperity Fellowships are offered in CEO’s policy and operations departments.  Fellowship positions are open for undergraduate and graduate students during the Summer 2017 (30 hours/week) and Fall 2017 (15-25 hours/week). If you attend an institution that operates on a trimester system you are encouraged to apply. Note that preference will be given to fall 2017 applicants who are available to serve for a full academic year.

A complete application with job descriptions is available here. Applications are due by April 28, 2017.

CEO is seeking a Promise Corps CCA Supervisor

The Promise Corps CCA Supervisor is responsible for program planning and implementation at two high schools in West Philadelphia.  They provide day-to-day leadership of their schools’ AmeriCorps members (CCA’s) and programs.
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CEO is seeking an Operational Services Manager

The Operational Services Manager plans, directs, and coordinates supportive services for the department. Primary responsibilities include records and information management, facility management, and contract administration.
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CEO is seeking a Contracts and Data Monitor

The Contracts and Data Monitor is a key staff position to ensure that CEO’s programs and contractors provide quality services in accordance with contracts, current laws, rules, policies and procedures. The Contracts and Data Monitor is responsible for the implementation of monitoring protocols, review and approval of invoices and monthly reports, desk reviews, performance reports and file reviews.  MORE