ACHIEVEability

40 Years Strong: Rising & Thriving

aka ACHIEVEability   |   Philadelphia, PA   |  http://www.achieveability.org

Mission

ACHIEVEability breaks the generational cycle of poverty for low income, single parent, and homeless families through higher education, affordable housing, community and economic development, and accountability.

Notes from the nonprofit

Although we have made great progress towards breaking the generational cycle of poverty for Philadelphians over the last 40 years, there is still a lot to be done to ensure racial and economic justice for all. We work to create a thriving West Philadelphia for all! In FY 21,  2,577 residents received basic needs services with 72% being female; age ranging from 18-98 (average age 47); and 95% below 200% federal poverty level. Through WorkSmart West Philly, we served 237 jobseekers who were majority female (74%); African-American (98%); age range 18-68 (average age 35); and 100% below 200%federal poverty level. Our Family Self-Sufficiency Program provided affordable housing and coaching to families experiencing homelessness and domestic violence (61%). Parents were 100% female and 97%African-American. The average income of families was $19,514 with 36% unemployed and 41% employed part-time. The average age of a parent was 27 with 2 children. We work for a better future for all.

Ruling year info

1986

Executive Director

Ms. Jamila Harris-Morrison

Main address

5901 Market Street, Suite 410

Philadelphia, PA 19139 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Philadelphians Concerned About Housing

AchieveAbility

EIN

23-2215980

NTEE code info

Single Parent Agencies/Services (P42)

Economic Development (S30)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

• Philadelphia has the worst poverty rate among the 10 largest US cities at 26%, this rises to 37% for female-headed single-parent families.
• Between 2000 and 2014, the average annual family income in Haddington fell from $29,300 (adjusted for inflation) to $13,183.
• In the 19139 zip code, 37% of residents fall below the poverty line.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSSP), the flagship transformational program at the heart of our mission, focuses on moving single parent families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to self-sufficiency by offering reduced rent (in one of the more than 200 housing units we have developed) and support services, while the parents commit to work, go to school and engage in personal development. In FY15, FSSP worked with 147 participants and their 279 children. Our theory of change: stable housing as a foundation; formal education as a pathway out of poverty; and a multi-disciplinary approach utilizing our four program pillars (finance and employment, education, personal development and parenting).

One third of FSSP families come directly from a shelter or transitional housing program, while the remaining families are at-risk of homelessness. After a thorough admissions process, families move into one of ACHIEVEability's subsidized rental units. During intake, FSSP administers its Self-Sufficiency Matrix, which measures each participant on a scale from "In-Crisis" to "Thriving" in each pillar. FSSP Coaches and participants use this information to develop an individualized plan based on the participant's strengths. Through case management participants work with the Coach to implement their self-sufficiency plan. Participants are required to work and go to school while we provide a "hand up" so that participants can become self-sufficient. FSSP provides a wide range of other services to both parents and their children, including:
• Academic advising
• Connection to mainstream benefits
• Financial education: budgeting, saving, credit repair, an Individual Development Accounts program
• Drug and alcohol counseling
• Mental health counseling
• Life skills workshops (parenting; health; relationships; time management; home maintenance)

Families stay in the program for as long as they make progress in achieving their goals or up to one year after completion of a Bachelor’s degree. Self-sufficiency is defined as exiting FSSP with a post-secondary degree, living wage and at a "Safe" level or above on the Self-Sufficiency Matrix.

Population(s) Served
Families
Economically disadvantaged people

ACHIEVEabilitya's Community Services Office (CSO) serves as a central location and one-stop shop for residents of West Philadelphia, providing a comprehensive and coordinated approach to solving the range of problems facing these families. Specific services include:
• Housing - foreclosure diversion, emergency rent and mortgage assistance, IDA program
• Utilities - LIHEAP and Utility Emergency Services Fund of Philadelphia applications; serves as a Neighborhood Energy Center
• Income tax preparation
• Financial Empowerment Center - financial counseling and workshops with a Clarifi counselor, employment coaching
• Computer lab

Haddington and Cobbs Creek are two of Philadelphia's poorest and most underserved neighborhoods. In FY2015, the Community Services Office served 4,680 unduplicated individuals.

The CSO convenes the Neighborhood Advisory Council, through which residents can organize, access, plan and implement activities and utilize information that contributes to achieving a healthy, vibrant, and hopeful community. The CSO is responsible for ensuring the 60th Street Commercial Corridor and neighborhood vacant lots are cleaned.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

602 volunteers from corporate, community, and non-profit partners provided 7,000 hours of volunteer services in FY15.

Number of homebuyers/tenants with low incomes receiving housing subsidies as a result of the nonprofit's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

ACHIEVEability has the capacity to serve 130 families at a time. The average stay for program participants in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program is 5 years.

Number of low-income households who have received utilities assistance to keep the lights, heat and/or water on in their homes

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Community Services Office

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

146 residents received emergency utility assistance, totaling over $51,000 of aid. Additionally, 287 households at risk of losing their homes were served under the Foreclosure Diversion Program.

Number of program participants who receive a secondary school diploma or GED

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Parents, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Average change in income of clients served (in dollars)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

COVID hit our community hard, but we are working to improve.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

ACHIEVEability (ACHa) strives to permanently break the generational cycle of poverty for low-income and homeless families through higher education, affordable housing, supportive services, community and economic development, and accountability. We provide a continuum of services to under-served individuals and families to address the interrelated social challenges of poverty, high unemployment, and low educational attainment.

ACHIEVEability (ACHa) provides vulnerable Philadelphians with the tools and access to opportunities that foster economic mobility. With a focus on the Haddington and Cobbs Creek neighborhoods, we work to move individuals and families out of poverty by providing a continuum of services that includes affordable housing; benefits screening and connection; financial support programs; workforce development; connection to educational opportunities; digital literacy training; and community engagement and development programs. ACHa partners with other housing, human, and social service providers to advocate for the elimination of poverty in Philadelphia.

• Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSSP) - Help families become self-sufficient. Each year, we help 120 low income, single parent, and homeless families to transform their lives through affordable housing; the parents' pursuit of college degrees or equivalent vocational credentials; development of parenting, financial, home management, and other life skills; the pursuit of overall personal development; and the well-rounded development and academic achievement of children and youth.

• Community Services - Strengthen and empower community residents. Last year, we helped approximately 2,577 neighborhood residents with basic needs and stabilization, skill-building, technology, leadership development, and civic engagement.

• Economic Development - Improve the physical and economic well-being of the community. We engage in economic development in West Philadelphia, neighborhood beautification and cleanliness, and community safety improvements, especially on the 60th Street Commercial Corridor. We lead equitable and inclusive economic development activities in the Haddington and Cobbs Creek neighborhoods to create economically vibrant and thriving communities. Deepen the continuum of anti-poverty services and civic engagement opportunities for residents to meet their immediate and long-term needs and to strengthen the community.

• Job Training - Through WorkSmart West Philly (WSWP) we partner with jobseekers to remove employment barriers and increase their employability to secure living-wage jobs and break out of poverty. WSWP partners with un/underemployed jobseekers to secure employment by providing training, connecting individuals to employment resources and building relationships with employers. In 2021, we served 237 jobseekers who were majority female (74%); African-American (98%); age range 18-68 (average age 35); and 100% below 200% federal poverty level.

Mission, Vision & Values: Since 1981, ACHIEVEability has worked to permanently break the generational cycle of poverty for low-income, single parent and homeless families through higher education, affordable housing, supportive services, community and economic development and accountability.

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
ACHIEVEability provides individuals and families with a “hand up” to build a strong foundation for success. Our holistic approach addresses barriers preventing individuals and families from achieving their potential. We provide support and resources to transform their lives, provide better opportunities for their families and create positive change in their communities.

Strategic Goals
In order to achieve our mission, we are guided by the following strategic goals:
• Impact: Increase the effectiveness and reach of our programs.
• Sustainability: Ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our community long into the future.
• Economic Investment: Lead activities and investments to foster a thriving community for those who live, learn, work, shop and play here.
• Advocacy: Amplify community voices to address systemic issues that contribute to poverty.
• Community: Work alongside neighbors and use their input to guide our work.

Guiding Principles
In order to achieve the goals outlined above, our staff, board and volunteers embody the following characteristics:
• Community-Driven: We create cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships to foster a vibrant, thriving community.
• Gritty: Although small and mighty, we are nimble, resourceful and solution-oriented as we whole-heartedly embrace challenges.
• Compassionate: We approach our work with respect and gratitude, while affirming the dignity and worth of all.
• Fired Up: We are passionate and focused on serving others. We commit our best selves to ending poverty in West Philadelphia.
• Transformative: We support individuals and families as they work to realize their dreams.
• Accountable: We have high expectations for ourselves and others. Integrity and transparency are keys to our work.

History
Since our founding in 1981 by the Sisters of Mercy, business professionals and women experiencing homelessness, ACHIEVEability has continuously grown and changed to meet the needs of our community:

1980s:
• 1981: ACHIEVEability, initially known as Philadelphians Concerned About Housing (PCAH), was founded and acquired its first housing units from Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia
• 1984-1985: Developed 35 housing units
• 1985: First tenants joined the PCAH Board
• 1986-1987: Recognized as a model program by Philadelphia Health Management Corporation and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

1990s:
• 1994: PCAH became a United Way member agency
• 1999: Opened computer center
• 1999: Launched homeownership program
• 1990-1999: Developed 72 housing units for families

2000s:
• 2003: Changed name to ACHIEVEability
• 2005: Co-Led neighborhood planning process, resulting in “Haddington/Cobbs Creek 2010: A Plan for Our Future”
• 2006: Launched ACHIEVEability Connects Program
• 2007: Developed 51 housing units, totaling 158 homes developed for families
• 2008: Established Dewey Homeownership Project, including 10 homes for low and moderate-income first-time homebuyers

2010s:
• 2012: Completed $7.5 million renovation of Lawson Residences at Von Lour which was the first development that successfully utilized Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Historical Tax Credits for project financing.
• 2014: Hosted first annual Health and Wellness Summer Jam
• 2014: Formed strategic alliance with Mission First Housing Group
• 2015: Launched WorkSmart West Philly program
• 2017: Appointed Jamila Harris-Morrison as Executive Director
• 2018: Broke Ground on New Market West Community Center
• 2019: Launched ACHIEVEability Community Development Corporation and Targeted Corridor Management Program for the 60th Street Commercial Corridor

2020s:
• 2020: Expanded programs to ensure residents had the resources they needed to be successful during the COVID-19 pandemic
• 2021: ACHIEVEability moved to New Market West, a West Philadelphia community services hub
• 2021: ACHIEVEability celebrates its 40th Anniversary!

ACHIEVEability's approach combines comprehensive and integrated social support services, community engagement, community-based participatory research, organizational and neighborhood strategic planning, and community and economic development.

• Human capital development, with the pursuit of higher education as our program's foundation. Accountability is the backbone of our approach, with evidence-based practices as the core, and data management as a driver of innovation. We work with our neighbors on civic engagement and leadership development. We partner with the academic community to document, validate, and enhance our programs and to share our learning.

Driven by passion and commitment, our leadership and Board provides guidance and support to ensure that we are achieving our goals and creating impact.

KEY FY21 OUTCOMES

FSSP -
• 91% of families who transitioned out of the program moved into permanent housing.
• 9 parents earned degrees
• 50% of parents attained higher education
• 100% of school-aged children stayed in school

ACHa Connects -
• 2,577 residents received basic needs services with 72% being female; age ranging from 18-98
• 527 individuals received free tax preparation
• 216 community residents received emergency financial assistance to stay in their homes
• 467 people received financial counseling
• 177 people were connected to a public benefit

WSWP -
• 9 parents earned degrees, 74% were female, 98% were Black, 100% were 200% below the federal poverty level
• 154 completed career development plans
• 125 completed vocational assessments
• 163 developed resumes
• 54 people were connected to employment
• 56 people connected to post-secondary opportunities

We know that a thriving community is essential for the growth and development of its residents. Over the last year, we expanded the following activities to ensure that our local community and businesses continued on the road to success:
• Technical Assistance and Funding Support: We worked with 23 businesses to connect them to $200,000+ in relief funding to remain stable during COVID-19 and social unrest events.
• Community Safety Improvements: We have helped 10 businesses improve their storefront and safety through lighting, cameras, and renovations.
• Beautification Activities: Over the last year, we maintained 17 blocks and 186 vacant lots in our community to keep it clean and safe for all.

Future Plans for 60th Street Commercial Corridor -
• Support local minority businesses as they navigate new online platforms, e-commerce, and funding opportunities to remain afloat. In addition, we will continue to provide critical cleaning activities to our commercial area and the surrounding neighborhoods.
• We partner with the state and City levels to access additional resources to help businesses install additional exterior lighting and security cameras to increase safety. We are also working on improving current community lighting to state-of-the-art fixtures that will increase lighting and improve the community.
• We are starting the process of constructing a new community play space. This space will provide residents and youth with a safe, accessible outdoor area. expanding our health and wellbeing resources and workshops in this space!

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

ACHIEVEability
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

ACHIEVEability

Board of directors
as of 07/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Mary Walker

PECO


Board co-chair

Ms. Sue McMonigle

Johnson & Johnson

Joel S Lawson

Private Investor

Christiana Barile

Keller Williams Realty

Malik Brown

The Graduate! Network Board

William J. Stickney

Grant Thornton, LLP

Bruce Shook

Vesper Medical, Inc.

Mary B Walker

PECO

Lauren Dickstein

Atomic

Keith Jones

Retired Educator

Shannon Farmer

Ballard Spahr

Sue McMonigle

Johnson & Johnson

Donna Higgins

Higgins Group, Inc.

Jim Mogan III

Reed Smith LLP

Donna Liggon

Senior Organizational Change Management Consultant

Mark Merkel

AmeriHealth Administrators

Daniel Berger

RBC Capital Markets

Monica Clarke Platt

Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP

Kristin Sizelove

Slalom

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/1/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/01/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.