The Spruce Foundation is proud to announce that its 2017 Education Grant will be awarded to Urban Creators, a youth-driven organization inspiring social change through food, art, and education. The $5,000 grant supports the organization’s new Youth Apprentice Program, which will provide ten North Philadelphia young people with year-round leadership training and mentorship, and will employ them in their home base, the Life Do Grow Farm. Apprentices will grow and distribute produce, and will curate a slate of dynamic public events and educational programs designed to engage fellow neighborhood youth.
Founded in 2010, Urban Creators addresses blight, youth crime rates, and public health concerns simultaneously through community development. The organization revitalizes neglected landscapes, transforming them into safe spaces and urban gardens, and engages local youth to work the farms and to provide access to fresh local food to neighborhood families. Urban Creators is dedicated to hiring at-risk and formerly incarcerated youth as part of its work to stabilize the community and reduce recidivism; since 2008, violent crime has dropped by 40% in the area immediately surrounding their flagship Life Do Grow farm.
The board members of the Spruce Foundation are especially pleased to support Urban Creators because of its innovative approach to community development, and its hands-on, place-based learning opportunities for Philly youth.
“We were so impressed by Urban Creators’ unique approach to education and their dedication to empowering young people to become leaders in their neighborhoods,” says Eliza Erickson, president of the Spruce Foundation. “Spruce tries to support emerging organizations whenever possible, and we really felt like our grant could help allow Urban Creators to achieve the next level of impact with their important work.”
Urban Creators will collect its grant—alongside Spruce’s other 2017 awardees, in the focus areas of Arts, Health and Wellness, LGBTQ, and Peacebuilding—at the annual Spruce Gala, which is to take place on Friday, April 21 at the Center for Architecture and Design at 1218 Arch Street. Tickets are $85 and are available here.